Tough weekend for the County Teams
With Ian Murphy pulling out of the side after his exertions at the Cambridgeshire Open the previous day and all four men carrying injuries of one sort or another, it was never going to be a good day for the county first team as they faced up to a strong Warwickshire second string in Coventry and there were very few positives to be taken from the resultant 13-2 defeat. Katherine Cooper maintained her recent run of good form, easily winning her singles and teaming up with Alex Wyett to comfortably take her mixed All eight level doubles went to the home side, although Wyett and Christian Nielsen, making his first team debut, came close in their game against the Warwick first pair. Nielsen and Amber Lillingstone also had a close mixed, but had no reward to show for their efforts. Eric Plane, Tim Hudson-Church, Gillian Cox and Ann Jenkins also returned home empty handed.
Promotion favourites, Cambridgeshire, completed the double over the county second team with a comfortable 11-4 victory. Norfolks successes came from Jonathan Cooper who won his singles and then teamed up with Katie Scotter to take his mixed and Linda Sawyer and Tanya Harrison and Scotter and Michelle Lewin, each pair winning a level doubles game. Justin Gerrard, James Ruthen and James Plunkett all fought hard, but had nothing to show for their efforts.
* Although Norfolk had players in all five events at a well supported Cambridgeshire Open, only Ian Murphy and Katherine Cooper came close to capturing a winners trophy. In the mens singles, Murphy had a fairly easy ride up to the semi-finals, but then took 70 minutes to beat Tony Gibson, 16-17, 15-13, 15-11, to reach the final against his doubles partner, Daniel Plant from Essex. Unfortunately, Murphy was unable to reproduce his earlier form and Plant comfortably retained his title. Daniel Evans, playing in his first Open, played well to progress to the second round.
The large entry meant that the mens doubles was always going to finish late on the Saturday night. In an attempt to hurry things along, Murphy and Plant played three rounds in succession, without a break, to avoid seizing up - a tactic which was to ultimately prove costly. After winning a three setter in the semi-finals, they had no energy left to face Chris Roe and Tony Armstrong in the final, which finished at 12.30am, thus prompting Murphys decision not to travel with the first team to Coventry a few hours later.
Katherine Cooper and James White and Murphy and Toni Sturgeon reached the semi-finals of the mixed, whilst the entry for the womens events was exceptionally strong, including Englands future star, Michelle Cheung, current international, Rebecca Panteney and ex-Norfolk player, Charity Barnes, currently ranked 8 nationally.