Mixed fortunes for Norfolk

The Victor Sports Inter County Championships got off to a somewhat gloomy start for the two county teams, with the first team losing 10-5 to the Hertfordshire second string and the second team going under 9-6 to Herts IV. In the opening first team singles matches, Ian Murphy had a comfortable two sets victory, whilst team captain, Katherine Cooper, was unlucky to lose out in three. Grahame Wells and Michelle Lewin also lost their games. Herts proved too strong for our men in the doubles, with Murphy and Wells winning one match and Justin Gerrard and Alex Wyett just missing out against the Herts second pair. Cooper and Lewin played very well to chalk up two wins in the ladies doubles, with both matches going to three close sets. Regular first teamer, Gillian Cox, was unavailable, so Lucy Curran made her first team debut, partnering Helen Newstead. Although they lost both of their matches, they gained much needed experience of playing at that level.

With the score standing at 8-4 to Herts , Norfolk needed to win two of their mixed doubles to secure a losing point. Murphy and Cooper won in two sets, but Wyett and Lewin and Gerrard and Newstead both lost in three, leaving the team feeling very unlucky not to get a point from the match.

* The county veterans had mixed fortunes in their opening home league matches of the season, with the Over 40s losing 8-4 to Leicestershire and the Over 45s beating Lincolnshire 7-5.

The Over 40s won three of the eight level doubles, with Eric Plane and Krishna Kumar taking one match and Liz Cubitt and Ann Jenkins winning both. Steve Thacker and Geoff Roff and Jenny Longmore and Sarah Sharp enjoyed very close games but were unable to add to Norfolks match tally. Plane and Jenkins convincingly won their mixed doubles but, regretfully, the remaining three matches went to the visitors.

In the Over 45s match against Lincolnshire, the men shared their doubles matches with Tim Hudson-Church and David Guy winning both, but Julian Sharman and Mark Bennett losing both. The ladies did better, with Norma Bowen and Sally Bridgestock winning both and Jeannine Whiffen and Suzanne Benton picking up one. Going into the mixed doubles 5-3 up, Norfolk lost their first two matches. levelling the score at five all, but then Guy and Whiffen won theirs, leaving the match in the hands of Bennett and Bowen. They lost the first set 16-21, but then fought back to win the match for Norfolk, taking the next two 21-16,21-18

* The county juniors had contrasting fortunes in their Shires League matches against Suffolk. The Under 15s continued their impressive start to the season with a successive 20-0 whitewash, which catapulted them to the top of their league, althougher tougher opponents are yet to come. The Under 13s played well and to the best of their ability but lost to their local rivals 7-13.

Teams: Under 13s, Ellen Bugg, Emma Piper, Lucy Eyers, Devon Minnis, Tom Hinks, Sam Clarke, Sam Dismore and Jacob Marshall-Grint

Under 15s, Mark Robinson, Luke Cox, Ashley Robb, Andy Carrier, Holly Bowen, Rebecca Chapmen, Serena Verney and Louise Thacker.