Norfolk Championships 2011

The Norfolk County Championships took place at Easton College over the hottest October weekend for many years. Both singles events attracted a diverse entry of players, such that both age and experience, and youth and enthusiasm were on show.

The Men’s Singles event went with seeding through to the semi-final stage, matching up defending champion and nine times winner, Ian Murphy with the veteran Eric Plane who recently won the Over 50’s Men’s Doubles title at the World Championships in Vancouver which Murphy won 21-11 21-15. In the other semi-final, the top seed and recent arrival in Norfolk Daryl Jacobs beat Jonathan Cooper 21-16 21-9. The final was a very tight affair with numerous long rallies, which in a very hot sports hall must have drained the players stamina.

Neither player gave any ground, but in the end Jacobs several years younger than Murphy ran out the winner 21-12 21-14.

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Daryl Jacobs - Mens Singles Champion 2011/2012

Of the 9 entrants in the Women’s Singles, 4 were junior county players, and one of them Devon Minnis, who has recently been picked to represent England at U15 level, made it through to the semi-finals, where she beat Katherine Cooper 21-13 21-17. Whilst in the other match, defending champion Julie Pike beat Louise Culyer 21-13 21-13. Although Minnis pushed Pike all the way in the final, Pike, herself a former England junior used her
experience to retain her title 21-13 21-7.

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Julie Pike & Devon Minnis - Ladies Singles Chmpion / Runner Up 2011/2012

In the plate competitions Tim Vickers beat U17 player Nico Schilling, and U15 Kathryn Adamson beat Lucy Curran.

Sunday saw the doubles events being played, starting with the mixed doubles, where the competition was very strong from the first game through to the last Both semi-finals were close affairs, where top seeds Ian Murphy & Katherine Cooper beat Jon Atmore & Louise Culyer 16-21 21-13 21-16. In the other semi-final No 2 seeds Justin Gerrard and Julie & Pike took on Daryl Jacobs and Lucy Curran. Jacobs & Curran lost the first set 21-13 but came back to take the second set 27-25. In a pulsating third set Jacobs & Curran managed to stay just ahead of their opponents 21-19. The final followed the pattern by also being a three set match. Jacobs and Curran won the first set 21-18, but the more experienced partnership of Murphy & Cooper upped their game to take the next to sets 21-16 21-9. Both pairs in the plate final were from the SOS club, where Paul Daynes & Amber Nielsen beat James & Katie Ruthen 21-19.

The Women’s Doubles event went with seeding to set up a final between the four county first team ladies, where Cooper & Pike, beat Culyer & Toni Sturgeon 21-18 21-13. Youth won the day in the plate final where Holly Bowen & Amy Sharman beat Curran & Serena Verney.

As temperatures in the hall continued to rise to unseasonal levels, the Men’s Doubles continued to demonstrate the high levels of badminton. Both semi-finals were close affairs.

The scratch pairing of Matt Howes & Jacobs beat the second seeds Plane & Atmore 21-16 21-18, whilst reigning champions Murphy & Grahame Wells took on Jonathan Cooper & Chris Piff. Murphy & Wells took the early advantage winning the first set 21-16, but Cooper & Piff, squared the match winning the second set 21-18 and in a very tense decider, Coper & Piff squeezed home 22-20. The final continued in a very hot and tense atmosphere, as the players and spectators started to feel the heat. Howes & Jacobs took the first set 21-16, but Cooper & Piff repeated the pattern of the previous match by winning the second set 21-19.

Howes & Jacobs built an early lead in the deciding set, and whilst Cooper & Piff fought back valiantly, they couldn’t close the gap, as Howes & Jacobs took the title 21-16. Paul Savage & Craig Thomas won the plate event beating Alex Wyett & Christian Nielsen.