The Niche Flowers event drew 20 pairs from all over the east to compete in a round robin, with the top eight going through to a knock-out competition. The semi-finals saw Susanna Cooper & Jo Gowing (Brooke) beat Kate Smith & Sarah Jane Bullock (Beccles/Diss) and Jenny Barton & Sara Worley (Wortham) beat Jane Ray & Liz Stacey (Diss/Harleston). In the final, Susanna & Jo were the victors 6-1 (good to see them win having been in so many finals.)
The VANILLA tournament saw 16 pairs compete in the initial round robin followed by the knock-out quarter finals. Sadly, rain stopped play at this point so we all had lunch preceded by a very interesting and informative fashion show presented by VANILLA owner, Anita Vadhir. The semi-finalists would have been Sara Worley & Ann Nicholls (Acle) vs Sally Arnold & Sarah Wells (Diss) and Susanna Cooper & Jo Gowing (Brooke) vs Kate Smith & Jane Ray (Beccles/Diss). The prize flowers were auctioned off adding £114 to the funds raised by the raffle.
Beautiful bouquets, provided by Niche Flowers, were presented to the winners and runners-up. A total of £714 was raised from the raffles with proceeds going to HEADWAY Norfolk & Waveney (www.headway-nw.org.uk)
The 14th annual Louise Willgrass Memorial tournament sponsored by Reality Estate Agents, Norwich, was held on a drizzly, murky day despite which our 23 pairs made no complaints and enjoyed some competitive tennis. Familiar names competed in the semis – Sarah Wells & Sarah-Jane Bullock (Diss) beat Kate Smith & Sally Lambert (Beccles/Lowestoft) and Sara Worley & Andi McCombe (Acle) beat Jane Ray & Beverley Barber (Diss). In a closely contested final, Sara & Andi beat Sarah & Sarah-Jane, 6-4.
Once again the stunning prize flowers were provided by Niche Flowers. Proceeds from the entry fees and and raffle totalling £1,000 will be sent to Cruse Bereavement Care, Norwich (www.cruse.org.uk)
Many thanks must go to EATSC for providing the venue, Sharon Watts for the delicious lunches and referee Derek Perry for orchestrating proceedings.
With due deference to the advancing years of the participants, County matches played between “seniors” have a match tie-break if any rubber should reach one set all. This proved to be an inspired rule for Norfolk men of a certain age in 2019.
In 2018 the Norfolk Mens Over 65 team finished third in Div 2, so would not have expected promotion. Somehow the gnomes of Roehampton decided they should be promoted anyway, so for 2019 new skipper Rob Ollman found himself in charge of a Division 1b team with matches against Kent, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Berkshire and Middlesex.
Things did not start well with a 5-0 home loss to a very strong Kent side, who fielded the national No1 man at Over 65. Mike Hutson secured the only set won by Norfolk in the match. With Mike away for the next match, away v Staffordshire, Philip Tye was drafted in, playing down from the Over 70’s for his one match. Unfortunately, facing a very strong Staffordshire team, the result was similar – a 5-0 loss.
Undeterred, the team travelled to Cheshire, the 2018 champions, during the heatwave of County week. Playing indoors in 30+ degrees heat and on the alien surface of carpet seemed to suit the Norfolk men and a 5-0 win was secured thanks to four of the five rubbers being won on match tiebreaks. Next up was a home match v Berkshire. This was always likely to be a tight affair, and Norfolk squeaked through thanks to two singles wins from Ollman and Hutson and a doubles win from stalwart pairing Arnold & Henderson (aka the brick wall). And yes, all three rubbers won were on match tiebreaks.
With two wins under their belts and a Div 1 place for 2020 all but secured the team headed to Queens club in London for their final match v Middlesex, to be played on clay the week after all members of the team had played Cromer Senior on grass. Not at all perturbed by this Mike Hutson won his singles in two very tight sets, and then the fun started. Arnold and Henderson edged their first doubles on a match tiebreak, after saving two match points at 7-9 down. So Norfolk required one of the final two doubles rubbers to take the match. Unfortunately the “brick wall” crumbled a bit leaving the outcome on Hutson and Palmer in their doubles. Of course this match went to a match tiebreak. Just to make things even more interesting they went 4 match points down at 5-9, but thanks to some positive play and perhaps some nerves from their opponents they won the next 6 points to take the rubber and the match.
In the three ties they won Norfolk took all nine of the match tiebreaks they contested. 2019, year of the match tiebreak!
Squad: Rob Ollman (captain), Keith Arnold, David Henderson, Mike Hutson, Richard Palmer, Philip Tye.
Congratulations to the “Dream Team” for a fantastic Tournament.
Derek Perry, Linda Wynne, Carol Wright, Heather and Howard Bottomley
Big Thanks to Jordy and Peter for the Fantastic Grass Courts – Top 5 in the Country again for 2019 !
The Centenary year brought with it some outstanding tennis from our Norfolk players:
Emily Barrett WINNER Open Womens Singles
Alex Watkinson WINNER Open Mens Singles
Annika Richardson WINNER Open Womens Singles Restricted
Emily Barrett with Max Hurtubise (Warwickshire) WINNER Open Mixed Doubles
Jack Long-Martinez and Fredick Withers WINNER Open Mens Doubles
Mary Ogden and Heather Bottomley WINNER Open Ladies Doubles Restricted
Emily Barrett WINNER U18 Girls Singles
David Youngs and Robin Chiperfield WINNER 35+ Mens Doubles
Mark Reeves WINNER 60+ Mens Singles
Mary Ogden and Jane Ling WINNER 60+ Womens Doubles
WELL DONE ! to everyone involved
In contrast to last season, we had Roger Meadows and Jim Wiseman join us from the over 70’s . So with Mike Lake and myself we had a solid team. We had some useful practice sessions , and all remained injury free. Unfortunately after relegation we found ourselves in the bottom group – 2 B , with only 3 counties to play. Our first fixture against Suffolk at Easton in June was a close hard-fought match with 2 Championship Tie-breaks. Meadows and Edelsten managed to rescue theirs from the jaws of defeat. From 4-9 down they hit on an attack of self- belief to win 11-9 !!
Lake and Wiseman also won a Championship Tie-break against the same pair, and defeated their 2nd pair 6-4, 7-5 to clinch a victory by 4 rubbers to 0.
In July we traveled to Luton to play Beds indoors on a fast surface with almost continuous noise of aircraft taking off right overhead. We won a rather one=sided match , losing only 12 games in total ,so again 4 rubbers to 0. Their Beefeater hospitality was excellent .
Our final match in August was at home versus Dorset . Fortuitously they had postponed the original fixture date on the hottest day of the year (30+ degrees) , as one player’s smart wrist watch had his resting heart rate at 125 and his blood pressure raised. As with Beds , we had an enjoyable match with some good tennis , but we were better and more mobile , winning again by 4 rubbers to 0 . The second pairs had a good match 6-3,7-5 to Lake and Wiseman. We treated them to a leisurely meal at the Premier Inn , as they only had to get to Ipswich for their Suffolk match the next day.
We are therefore top of the Division, and hope for promotion to Division 1 and some more challenging opponents.
Tony Edelsten (Capt.)
2nd – 4th August – Eastbourne
Team – Katie Brooks, Andrea McCombe, Karen Highfield, Annika Richardson, Kerri-Ann Gibbons, Jeannette Baxter
This year the event went back to its original format which means we took 2 extra players than the previous years. This was the 1st time playing in the 35’s team for Andi and the 1st time in about 17yrs for Kerri representing the county.
Day 1 v Kent
Jeannette and Karen played the singles finishing 1-1 before the 1st doubles pair went on. For round 1 Annika and Katie played together managing to come from a set down to win in a match tie break. This meant after the 1st round we were 2-1 up. For round 2 the doubles pairs were Katie and Andi, Karen and Kerri. It all came down to a match tiebreak which unfortunately we were unable to win, eventually losing 3-2 overall.
Day 2 v Herefordshire & Worcestershire
After going 2-0 down in the singles it was up to Annika and Jeannette to keep us in the match. Once again it came to a match tiebreak which they won 10-6.
We needed to win both doubles in round 2 to win, Kerri and Karen won their match to level the tie but the opposing teams pair were too strong in the last match. 3-2 loss.
Day 3 v Wiltshire
Both teams were playing to stay in division 4. Jeannette went on 1st for her singles and had a great match eventually winning 10-6 in the match tiebreak. Karen then won her singles to take us to 2-0 up only 1 more match needed for the win! Kerri and Annika almost had it in the doubles going down 7-10 in the match tiebreak. It then all fell to Karen and Andi to win the final rubber of the day. After winning the 1st set they found themselves 6-2 down in the 2nd set tiebreak but made a comeback to take it 10-8!
A great weekend of tennis with a great team and supporters who came to enjoy the tennis/ Eastbourne sun! Thank you for the team for all their hard work and support, well played!!
Norfolk’s O35 Men clinched promotion from Division 6B at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne over the August bank holiday weekend.
Comfortable wins over Northamptonshire and Avon left the team needing just a single rubber on the final day against the Channel Islands, which they duly claimed to top the group and seal promotion.
The campaign started with a 4-1 win over Northamptonshire; Nick Stocker’s narrow singles defeat put Norfolk behind until Barry Fulcher won in straight sets to level the scores.
Back-to-back doubles wins for Nicky Crawley and captain Dan Wynne secured the team victory, before Chris Stocker replaced Fulcher for the doubles, partnering brother Nick for a fourth Norfolk win.
A fine start, with every squad member on the board.
Day two’s opponents Avon had a win over the Channel Islands under their belts, but Norfolk were in the groove early and went 2-0 ahead with comfortable singles performances from Crawley and Fulcher.
The result was in the bag when Wynne and Nick Stocker won a doubles in straight sets, but Norfolk were feeling ruthless and Fulcher and Chris Stocker made it four with a hard-fought victory.
The 5-0 whitewash was completed by Wynne and Nick Stocker, leaving Norfolk on the brink of promotion and needing just one rubber on the final day to claim top spot.
On Sunday, it was the captain who stepped on court first against the Channel Islands hoping to finish the job for his team, but the fairytale ending was not to be as the previously undefeated Wynne produced a woeful performance to give Norfolk’s opponents a glimmer of hope.
Next to try and get the party started was Crawley, so often the hero for his county over the last 20 years.
Unlike his team mate, the man from Caister rose to the occasion and produced another commanding singles performance to win in straight sets and confirm Norfolk as group champions.
Even an ill-tempered outing for the Stocker brothers did little to dampen the weekend’s success as Norfolk collected their medals in the brilliant Sussex sunshine.
Dan Wynne was pleased that his all-star squad delivered :
“We came here with big expectations; we have two former international players in Crawley and Fulcher, and a young squad with nearly 350 caps for Norfolk’s first team between us. Anything less than promotion would have been hugely disappointing.
“That said, we faced good opposition who made it a great weekend of competition, so we are pleased to have achieved our objective.”