Suffolk Open 2009
Eighteen members from the Norfolk County Squad entered the Suffolk Satellite Open Championships, which, as always, were very well supported. Ian Murphy was the countys star performer winning the mens doubles with Justin Gerrard and the mixed with Claire Millward from Warwickshire. Another Norfolk success came in the ladies doubles when Julie Pike teamed up with Millward to retain their title, beating Norfolks Toni Sturgeon and Katherine Cooper 21-12,21-13 in the final.
Murphy and Gerrards success was even more remarkable in that they had only played together once before at county level, They had a reasonable draw through to the semi-finals where they came face to face with top seeds, Andy Penn and John Hepworth (Hants) A very tough opening set went to the Norfolk pair 24-22, who then maintained their sensational level of play to take the second 21-13 Meanwhile, the young pretenders to the crown, Daryl and Steven Jacobs (Middlesex) had battled their way to the final with a 21-17,21-17 win over White and Chandarana, setting up a match which was described as one of the best ever seen at the Suffolk Open. Urged on by an appreciative and noisy crowd, the Norfolk duo got off to a flying 11-1 start, only to be pegged back to 15-14, but then fighting back to take the first set 21-16. Both pairs were playing some brilliant badminton and the Middlesex brothers replied by winning the second set 21-18. The third set was a classic. Murphy and Gerrard got to 20-18, only to be pulled back to 20 all. After that, both sides exchanged match points, with the attacking pair mostly coming out on top after some huge rallies played in an electric atmosphere. At 23 all, the serve was with Gerrard, who bravely switched to serve low, a change of tactics which won them the final two points to take the set and the title 25-23. The "new" pairing "went crazy" as did the rest of the Norfolk squad who had noisily supported them throughout the match.
Four Norfolk players reached the semi-finals of the mixed doubles.Top seeds, Katherine Cooper and her regular partner Danny Plant (Essex) beat Toni Sturgeon and Andy Penn (Hants) 21-14,22-20 and Murphy and Millward beat Julie Pike and John Hepworth (Hants)
21-12,18-21,21-13, to set up another exciting, tactical final which Murphy and Millward won 21-19,21-19, earning the two players two well deserved titles each. It was certainly a sensational tournament to be remembered by players and spectators for some time to come.