Cambs Open Report

A good number of Norfolk players entered the Cambridgeshire Open, a tournament in the Badminton England Satellite Circuit, but it was only the countys top two, Ian Murphy and Katherine Cooper, who reached the final stages of the competition.

Murphy battled his way to the final of the mens singles, beating second seed Carl Jennings (Leics) in the semis 21-13, 11-21, 23-21 and saving 3 match points. In the final he came face to face with his long time adversary, Danny Plant (Essex), who had previously beaten him twice in this event. Murphy was hoping for revenge, but Plant notched up yet another victory, 21-15,16-21,21-11 to win the title for a seventh successive year.

But there was sympathy all round for Katherine Cooper who was seeded to win three titles, but came home empty handed, losing in the finals of all three.. In the ladies singles she was beaten in two close sets by the unseeded Jenny Crump (Bucks) 21-14,22-20. She then teamed up with her regular partner, Toni Sturgeon (Suffolk),only to lose the doubles to Rachel Ellis and Alison Pulford (Notts) in three sets, 15-21,21-15,21-11.

Katherine and Danny Plant then reached the final of the mixed doubles, after winning two tough three setters en-route.. But, waiting at the other end of the draw were Ian Murphy and his new partner, Rachel Ellis, who had also had a tough passage into the final. The final was a thriller, full of long rallies and pressure points, tight serving and some hard hitting attacking play from all four players. But it was Murphy and Ellis who eventually took the title 17-21,21-18,21-17 - great for Murphy but really, really tough for Cooper.

The Norfolk Open takes place at the UEA Sportspark on February 15th & 16th. The singles events start on the Friday evening at 6.00pm and the doubles and all finals will take place on the Saturday from 10.00am onwards. The tournament will feature most of the top badminton talent in the Eastern Region and spectators are most welcome. Entry to the tournament is free of charge, but the usual Sportspark entry fee will apply.

* Norfolks juniors brought home several medals from the Badminton England Bronze Challenger Tournament played in Ipswich. Our most successful player was Lucas Lefevre who won the gold medal in the Under 17s boys singles, beating Harry Hacking (Sussex) in the final.Lucas then teamed up with his younger brother, Kurtis, to reach the final of the doubles but,this time, Hacking and his partner came out on top , leaving the Norfolk pair with silver. Lee Robinson was also a double medal winner, picking up a bronze by reaching the semi-finals of the singles and then another bronze when he partnered his 14 year old brother, Mark, to the semi-finals of the doubles.Another 14 year old, Holly Bowen, played well to reach the semi-finals of the girls doubles, with a scratch partner, to notch up another bronze for the county.

Cromers Andrew Carrier won through to the final of the Under 15s boys singles but, after leading for most of the way, just missed out on a winners gold and had to content himself with a well-earned silver medal. Sophie Piper and Serena Verney made it a good day for Norfolk by winning their group of the girls doubles, reaching the semi-finals and bringing home yet two more bronze medals.