County Badminton Report
The county second team moved closer to securing their place in Division 3b of the Inter-County Championships with a well deserved away win over the Leicestershire third team. Norfolk got the match off to a good start in the singles matches with Amber Nielsen, Lucy Curran and Alex Wyett all winning their games. Chris Piff was unlucky to lose his in three very close sets. The ladies continued their recent run of good form by winning all four of their doubles, with Helen Newstead partnering Bryony Lund and Amber Nielsen teaming up with Katie Ruthen.But the men found their games tougher with Nielsen and Piff and James Ruthen and Wyett halving their games.
With the match score standing at 9-3, Norfolk needed to win one of the three mixed doubles to take the all-important three points. James Ruthen and Amber Nielsen and Christian Nielsen and Bryony Lund both lost their matches in close sets, leaving Wyett and Katie Ruthen to win theirs to clinch the points. Testing their and the team's nerves to the limit, the Norfolk pair eventually came out on top, winning their third set 22-20 to take the match 10-5.
* The Norfolk Open Championships take place at the UEA Sportspark on Friday and Saturday, with 70 players taking part. Andrew Smith, a member of the UK squad, has entered the mixed doubles event as part of his recovery from six months out of the game with shin splints He will be partnered by Emily Hollis and they are seeded two, behind top seeds and defending champions, Norfolk's Ian Murphy and Katherine Cooper.
Murphy and Cooper recently won the Cambridgeshire Open while Smith and Hollis won the Wiltshire Open last weekend, so it could be showdown time. Daryl Jacobs, 2009 champion, is back as number 1 seed in the mens singles, but all the top Norfolk players stand a good chance of coming away with medals in what appears, on paper, to be a very open championship.
Play starts on Friday night at 6.00pm with the singles events, whilst the doubles take place throughout Saturday, starting at 10.00am. Admission to the Championships is free, although there will be the usual Sportspark admission fee.