Second Team join Firsts in Promotion
Not to be outdone by the first team winning their league and getting to the Premiership playoffs, the county second team travelled down to arch-rivals Suffolk knowing that victory would secure promotion to Division 3 of the Regional League. All the team had been playing in the Suffolk Open the day before so there was concern that the team would have a jaded feel about them, but Alex Wyett led the way in the singles with a strong two set victory, whilst Charlotte Crosby battled hard in three sets two win her game and maintain her season long singles win. Lucy Curran also had an unbeaten run to protect but this came to an end when her strong opponent eventually muscled her way to victory.
Wyett maintained his strong performance by teaming up with Christian Nielsen to win both their doubles games, whilst Andy Piff and partner, James Ruthen, lost both of theirs in some closely fought games. Louise Culyer continued her season's unbeaten run , ably assisted by Curran in winning their womens doubles in stylish fashion, without getting out of second gear. Crosby and Katie Price comfortably won their game against the Suffolk second pair, but then narrowly missed out against the first pair in three sets.
This put the match score at 7-5 going into the three mixed games, with Norfolk requiring just one game to secure promotion . This win and the league title came by courtesy of Nielsen and Culyer who also maintained her season's unbeaten record with just two matches to play
With the match won, the other two Norfolk pairs could have relaxed , but both pairings of Wyett and Price and Ruthen and Crosby battled furiously to win their games in three closely contested sets. to produce a 10-5 victory. The team's final matches are both against Lincolnshire, with the home match at Taverham High School on April 11 (12.00).
The county first team completed the double with an 8-7 win in their last league match of the season against a strong Leicestershire side, despite having to concede two games due to an injury sustained by Helen Newstead.
Norfolk got the match off to their usual reliable start with singles victories for Ian Murphy, Julie Pike and Katherine Cooper. Next on were Cooper and Toni Sturgeon who were determined to maintain their season-long unbeaten record, which they did with two solid performances. Murphy and Justin Gerrard then picked up their two doubles putting Norfolk in the driving seat, 7-5 up going into the mixed. Then the team surprisingly came unstuck with Murphy and Cooper and Mike Philpott and Sturgeon losing their games to level the score seven all. But Gerrard and Pike continued their excellent partnership to win the match for the travellers. In so doing Gerrard maintained his season long unbeaten run and the team won all eight of their matches. They now move on to the Premiership "play-offs" to be played at the National Badminton Centre, Milton Keynes on May 1st & 2nd. So, in the meantime, there will be no let up in their strenuous training sessions in their bid to become members of badminton's elite.