This year we faced five strong counties, namely Yorkshire, Lancashire, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire who had just been been promoted. The results are as follows:
Saturday 28th April Hertfordshire bt Norfolk 3 -2
Sunday 9th June Bucks bt Norfolk 3-2
Saturday 18th May Norfolk bt Surrey 3-2
Saturday 15th June Norfolk bt Lancashire 3-2
Sunday 21st July Yorkshire bt Norfolk 3-2
These results just show how close the competition was with a couple of these matches losing in the third set tie break! Below demonstrates even more how close it was between Yorkshire, Lancashire and us. We had to wait until the very end of the season to see our fate, but I’m confident we will bounce back next year!
Thank you so much to my committed squad of ladies who all played brilliantly throughout: Judy Horn, Lesley Cooper, Susie Hill, Ann Nicholls, Sara Worley and to Tish Peal and Mary Ogden for their much appreciated guest appearances!
The Norfolk Ladies O60’s headed up to the David Lloyd Dudley this weekend to play the intercounty final against Essex, and came home as champions.
It was a good match with the result being decided on the last match.
Tish Peal and Caroline Blincoe played the singles matches against Essex with Tish narrowly losing on a third set championship tiebreak and Caroline claiming a good win. Sue Rich and Jane Ray then played the doubles round and won comfortably . Hence Norfolk were 2-1 ahead after round 1.
Next the Norfolk singles players teamed up to play doubles against the Essex doubles pair with Sue and Jane played doubles against the Essex singles players.
Jane and Sue just lost, again in a third set championship tiebreak but luckily Tish and Caroline clinched their game in 2 sets.
Hence Norfolk won 3-2.
Left to right: Sue Rich, Jane Ray, Tish Peal, Caroline Blincoe
On weekend Nov 22-24th, Norfolk Mens team were competing at Liverpool in Div 2a of Winter County Cup.
The team was full of youth supported by some experience and Mr Norfolk, Captain Nicky Crawley. The full squad included: Alex Mcnaughton, Fred Withers, Alex Watkinson, Mike Digby, Dan Wynne, Matt Samson, Nicky Crawley, James Aukland, Kris Jenkins.
On Day 1 the team faced Lancashire, but with each singles player losing their opening service game it would prove to be an uphill task. Straight set defeats in all the singles and only a consolation doubles win for Crawley/Jenkins. A 1-7 defeat was not part of the plan.
Saturday welcomed the introduction of James Aukland, an outstanding performer for the county with a wealth of experience. Facing a strong Cheshire team, this change alone would not be enough. A 2-7 defeat meant that the final day would be a straight shoot out with Derbyshire to avoid relegation.
After the singles the match was tied 3-3, so two rubbers were needed to secure safety. The match score was soon 4-4, both teams each winning a doubles rubber. It would all go down to the final rubber. Norfolk were represented by the Mcnaughton/Samson partnership, who despite being relatively new to senior tennis, had played together throughout juniors. After 2 sets it was still all square, so a final set tiebreak would decide relegation. Unfortunately despite a determined fight back, Norfolk would lose 8-10 and face relegation to Div 3 of Winter County Cup.
Captain Crawley said: “We had our chances and need to protect our own service games better. The younger players are still developing and we need to keep pushing them to ensure they play their best tennis. Defeat is never easy to take but we will learn from this and play better in the future”.
Over the weekend, 22-24th November the Ladies were competing in Taunton at the Div 3b Winter County Cup event.
A young team, including Maria Andrews, Maddie Brooks, Frances Evans, Sam Noble (Capt), Emily Barrett, Eleanor Widdows, Elissa Wood, Hannah Wilson-Kemsley, Millie Brooks were captained by Sam Noble and Caroline Blincoe. They faced strong competition against Dorset, Avon and Nottinghamshire and ultimately came up one rubber short!
An opening day 3-6 defeat to Dorset could have been so different. Three of the rubbers ending up as final set defeats. On Saturday the team played Nottinghamshire. Wins for Maddie and Frances in the No.3 and No.4 singles would not be enough and the team would go on to lose 2-7.
Going into the final day against Avon, the team knew that a win would ensure safety and guarantee they remained in Div 3b. After going 3-0 up, optimism was high but the singles finished with the teams level at 3-3. Maddie and Maria then won the opening doubles, but defeat for Emily/Millie and Sam/Frances meant Norfolk lost 4-5 and were relegated to Div 4.
Sam Noble (Captain) said “This is the second time in successive county cups that we have been relegated by a single rubber. It is tough to take but the girls will only improve as they are so young. We will bounce back next year”.
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.