Norfolk bounced back to form against Kent

7 days after a disappointing 10 – 5 loss against Middlesex Away, which could have put their chances of winning the division in jeopardy, Norfolk 1st team needed a big result when they played host to Kent 1st team last Sunday.  With an almost full strength squad (just one absentee) Norfolk were confident of going for the 10 wins required to get all 3 points from the tie.

With Kent number 1 Daniel Groom facing him on court, Daryl Jacobs knew he had his work cut out.  Groom won the Under 19 National Championships 2 years ago and was clearly going to test Jacobs who had only lost 1 singles game since joining Norfolk 2 years ago.  Although every rally seemed to last an age, Jacobs managed to win the first end 21-12.  The second end didn’t quite go to plan and his lead was pegged back with Groom also winning 21-12.  The marathon game continued and with two warm ups and five sets being played and finished on the next court, Jacobs finally managed overpower his opponent to win 21-19.  Norfolk number 2 Rory Kitchen had things much easier being faced with a player who was clearly a doubles specialist, Kitchen won in straight sets (the first end 21-3!).  With our ladies singles players back in the team, after missing the previous game, both matches also went Norfolk’s way with Devon Minnis easily winning 8 & 10.  Louise Culyer didn’t start quite as well, losing the first end to 14.  However, Culyer clearly wanted to win more and turned the game to win in 3 ends.

Norfolk 4 – 0 Kent

It was business as usual for Norfolk’s ladies doubles pairs (Julie Pike & Culyer and Katherine Cooper & Toni Sturgeon) both winning without dropping a set.  The only close set saw Pike & Culyer hold their nerve to win 28-26.  With their opponents demoralised the Norfolk girls easily took the second end 21-7.

Norfolk 8 – 0 Kent

The mens’ doubles was, as always, going to be difficult.  Norfolk first pair Jacobs & Matt Howes beat both Kent pairs only dropping one set in the process. Captain Justin Gerrard, with his 3rd partner in 4 matches, teamed up with second team captain Alex Wyett who was filling in for Jono Atmore whilst he was away on honeymoon.  In all honesty the 2nd pair struggled and despite taking an end off the Kent 2nd pair and a great deal of determination they were unable to get a win on the board.

Norfolk 10 – 2 Kent

With confidence high, 3 points already won and just the mixed doubles to come Norfolk wanted to win as many of the 3 remaining sets as possible to improve their game difference for the league.  The unbeaten 1st pair of Jacobs & Cooper started the ball rolling, again winning in straight sets.  Meanwhile Gerrard & Pike having won the first end were finding the Kent 2nd pair more of a challenge, unfortunately the Kent pair managed to turn the game enough to win the next 2 ends.  With 3rd pair Wyett & Culyer losing the first end it looked as though Kent may end up winning the mixed doubles, traditionally one of Norfolk’s strongest events.  Thankfully, a spirited performance, and a bit of advice from Coral Warren, saw the pair come through in 3 sets to finish the match on a high.

Final Score: Norfolk 12 – 3 Kent.

A great victory sees Norfolk put pressure back on Middlesex to win the division. Next match Herts Away.