County Restricted Report
The annual Norfolk Restricted Badminton Championships were held at Framingham Earl Sports Centre. Saturday saw the singles events played, with both the men’s and women’s competitions attracting good entries with a mix of both young and old county players.
The Women’s Singles event followed seeding with former 3 time champion Katherine Cooper beating Lisa Vickers to reach the final, whilst Serena Verney, beat Lucy Curran to reach her first final. Cooper took the early advantage in the final and maintained this throughout to win 21-11, 21-13.
The Men’s Singles also went with seeding to produce two very interesting semi-finals. Firstly reigning champion Daryl Jacobs beat Rory Kitchen, a recent arrival to the Norfolk scene, 21-17, 21-13. The other semi-final saw a battle of left handers with long time Norfolk servant Ian Murphy facing Daniel Leers returning to Norfolk after an absence at university. Although Leers took the first set, Murphy used his vast experience to win the next two sets to set up a rematch of last year’s final. The final was a tense affair, but Jacobs held off Murphy’s challenge to retain his crown 21-12, 21-15.
Sunday’s play commenced with 16 pairs contesting the mixed doubles event, and none of the first round matches proved easy for any of the winning pairs. Top seeds and reigning champions Murphy
& Cooper progressed to the semi-final s where they heat Jon Atmore & Louise Culyer, whilst in the other semi-final 2nd seeds Justin Gerrard & Julie Pike, beat Jacobs & Curran. In the final Murphy & Cooper kept the lead throughout to win their fourth final in five years 21-11, 21-14.
The Women’s Doubles produced the anticipated final of Culyer & Toni Sturgeon against Amber Nielsen & Katie Ruthen. Culyer & Sturgeon took the first set comfortably 21-7, but were made to work very hard in the second set, and were pushed all the way but eventually won 24-22 to win their third title in the last four years.
The Men’s Doubles proved to be a compelling competition. With a place in the final at stake, both semi-finals were tight, tense affairs. In the first reigning champions Jacobs & Matt Howes beat Murphy & Luke Cox, 21-19, 21-17, whilst the other match saw Atmore & Matt Hammond, beat Gerrard & Paul Daynes 21-18, 21-18. The final was just as close. Jacobs & Howes pinched the first set 22-20, and just stayed ahead in the second set, winning 21-16 to retain their title.