Norfolk 2 v Bedfordshire 1
Norfolk's second team faced a tricky away match against table toppers Bedfordshire last Sunday. The hosts who haven't lost a match this season, are favourites to win the league this year and have already beaten Norfolk when they visited Framlingham Earl for the home tie earlier in the season.
As with any first team, Norfolk expected Bedfordshire to have some very strong players in their team. In spite of this, Norfolk started brightly, Dan Leers and Serena Verney winning both their singles in two straight sets. The second round of singles saw Helen Newstead step in for Lucy Curran who was absent through illness. Newstead, not having played singles battled well against her strong opponent but could not convert her efforts. Alex Wyett also failed to capitalise on a strong start, losing his singles in three sets.
Norfolk's ladies doubles saw a few changes in the pairings that have been quite consistent this season. Katie Ruthen was paired with Verney and Anne Jenkins with Newstead. Newstead and Jenkins started well, winning their first game 21-15, 21-17. Unfortunately, this could not be repeated in the remaining ladies or mens games. Despite some tough games, some going to three sets, Norfolk could not advance their game tally.
Norfolk needed now needed all three remaining mixed to get a 'losing' point from the match. With a few new pairings, Norfolk started strongly with James Ruthen and Verney and Jenkins and Wyett winning their games 21-13, 21-17 and 21-17, 21-18 respectively. This left Katie Ruthen and Paul Daynes a tough battle against Beds number 1 pair. Their opponents started strongly, but the pair from SOS club stayed with them only just losing the first set, 21-19. Keeping up the momentum from a solid first set, Ruthen and Daynes pulled the second set back to level the match, a reward for some patient play, moving their opponents around the court well. This seemed to force a change of gear from the beds pair and with a decisive service run in the third set, the home team secured all three points from the match.
There was some small consolation that Norfolk did better this time than in the match at the start of the season, however the team will need to look to convert a few more three set matches if they are to secure their position in this league next season.
Next match is against Kent 3 in two weeks time.