Norfolk 1 vs Leicestershire 1 Away 13 October
Norfolk county badminton first team travelled to Babingdon Community College in Leicester for their opening match of the season. With last year’s number one Daryl Jacobs returning to play for Middlesex and Toni Sturgeon taking a season off Norfolk 1st team are slightly depleted this season. To add to this both Devon Minnis and Mike Philpott were unavailable for the first fixture. It was going to be a tough day against a team who have strengthened since getting relegated from division 1 last season.
Following a two and a half hour drive in the rain Norfolk arrived ready to give it their all. The mens’ singles were both won by Leicestershire in straight sets: number one Daniel Leers losing out 9 & 15 whilst Ryan Leung (filling in for Philpott) was unlucky to lose 18 & 16. The ladies fared slightly better with number one Louise Culyer winning 18 & 10 to get the first point on the board. Number 2, Serena Verney (filling in for Minnis), played well but unfortunately lost out 14 & 15.
Leicestershire 3 – 1 Norfolk
Norfolk’s mens’ doubles pairings of captain Justin Gerrard & Jono Atmore and Chris Piff & Leers found the Leicestershire first pair too strong and were comfortably beaten. Although the 2nd pair weren’t quite as strong they were still good enough to win both games. Piff & Leers managed to get a set whilst Gerrard & Atmore lost out in straight sets.
Leicestershire 7 – 1 Norfolk
With Norfolk struggling they looked to the ladies (again!) to try and dig us out of a hole and give us a chance at the 6 games required for a point. With very close games against the Leicestershire 1st pair, the Norfolk ladies were disappointed to lose both: 1st pair Julie Pike & Culyer never really got going and despite some excellent play 2nd pair Katherine Cooper & Verney lost out 23-21 22-20. Both pairs were convincing winners against the Leicestershire 2nd pair.
Leicestershire 9 – 3 Norfolk
Needing all three Mixed doubles for the losing point Norfolk looked unlikely to make it. Sure enough the strength of the Leicestershire side followed through to the end and they took all 3 games: 1st pair Gerrard & Pike losing 15 & 16, 2nd pair Atmore & Culyer losing 21-13, 14-21, 24-22 and 3rd pair Leung & Cooper losing 21-18, 19-21, 21-17.
Final Score: Leicestershire 12-3 Norfolk.
Despite everyone trying their best it was probably the right result. Nevertheless a disappointing start to what will be a tough season. Even if the very close games had all gone our way it probably would have ended 10-5. It looks like promotion is going to be unlikely and we may have a relegation battle on our hands! Thanks to Ryan and Serena for filling in. Next match Sunday 3rd November, home against Warwickshire II, Framingham Earl High School 12:30 start. Support always welcome.