County Badminton Report
Having already qualified for the Premiership play-offs, Norfolk maintained their dominance of division 1B of the Yehlex Inter-County Championships with a 10-5 away victory over Staffordshire - their seventh consecutive win.
With Julie Pike unwell, Katherine Cooper took over the no.1 ladies singles spot but lost her match in a close three setter. Toni Sturgeon and Mike Philpott also missed out, leaving Ian Murphy to chalk up the county's only singles victory, a somewhat unusual experience for the travelling team.
But the match position quickly improved as Cooper and Sturgeon and Murphy and Justin Gerrard maintained their unbeaten run in the level doubles with four solid victories, while Helen Newstead and Louise Culyer and Philpott and Jono Atmore shared their games.
It was then "business as usual" with all three mixed doubles sealing the match for Norfolk, with Murphy and Cooper, Gerrard and Pike and Philpott and Sturgeon all taking comfortable victories to produce a final score of 10-5 and a further three points in the bag.
The team's final match before the play-offs is away to Leicestershire , the only county to take a point off them this season, so it could be close, but Norfolk will be determined to stretch their unbeaten run to all eight matches.
* Meanwhile, the second team's unbeaten run came to an end with an 8-7 defeat at the hands of Leicestershire IV, but they are still four points clear of second placed Suffolk, with three matches to go, two of which are against bottom placed Lincolnshire, so they remain favourites to be promoted to Division 3.
* Those "white-wash" specialists of Norfolk have done it again, with the Over 60s team chalking up another 12-0 victory, this time against Suffolk, Representing Norfolk were Alan Palmer, Copper, Gerald Cooke, Bob Collinson. Ann Hutchin, Linda Foster, Pam Mace and Sylvia Crane.
* Braving a horrific journey to Lincolnshire through driving snow, the county Over 40s team made it all worthwhile by returning to Norfolk with a 9-3 victory under their belts. In the level doubles, Krishna Kumar and Geoff Roff and Jo Wilson and Sarah Williams won both their games whilst Andre Minnis and Adrian Skipper and Suzanne Benton and Bev Sharman shared theirs, leaving the score at 6-2 going into the mixed.
Roff and Williams, Minnis and Wilson and Skipper and Benton then clinched the match for the intrepid travellers.
* The Shires League has now reached the play off stage and the county Under 17s team faced a tough first match, being drawn away to Essex. The team played very well with skill, enthusiasm and a great team spirit, and, although they lost 16-4, all the games were closely contested. In the next round Norfolk have another tough match, this time against Hertfordshire for third or fourth place in the competition.