Bottom spot means relegation for Norfolk

Having lost four and drawn two of their opening six matches in Premiership B of the Inter County Championships, Norfolk knew they were facing an uphill struggle to avoid relegation in their final three matches played at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, and so it turned out to be. The opening match of the weekend was against Leinster which they lost 8-2, although five of the 10 games went to five sets.

Daryl Jacobs won his singles in three, whilst Louise Culyer and Devon Minnis came close also in three, with the 14-year-old narrowly losing 13-21, 21-19, 20-22. Norfolk's other victory came from Culyer and Julie Pike 21-15,21-15.

Norfolk's fortunes changed in their second match against Leicestershire which they won 6-4. Jacobs picked up his second victory of the day with a hard fought three-set game 17-21, 21-17, 21-18, whilst Minnis and Pike both won in two straight sets. Luke Cox played well, making his county first team and premiership debut.

The county then won three of the four level doubles, with a three set win for Jacobs and Jonny Cooper and straight set victories for Culyer and Pike and Katherine Cooper and Toni Sturgeon. Justin Gerrard and Jono Atmore just missed out in three sets and Gerrard and Cooper narrowly lost their mixed 21-23 in the third. Overall it was a well deserved match victory for the Norfolk side. The final match of the weekend was against Buckinghamshire, which Norfolk lost 7-3. Jonny Cooper won his singles and then, partnered by Jacobs, won his doubles whilst Katherine Cooper and Gerrard took the third game when their opponents had to retire through injury.

So, over the three weekends, Norfolk lost six matches, won one, with two drawn, which left the team in bottom place. Facing a return to Division One of the Regional Championships, followed by Lanarkshire The team played well, with determination and enthusiasm but the squad had several key players missing throughout the campaign and needs greater strength in depth if they want to achieve regular premiership status.

The Premiership B champions are Lancashire, followed by Yorkshire.

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