Cream of Norfolk talent star in Guernsey
As the curtain fell on yet another busy season for the county squad, several Norfolk players enjoyed a weekend playing in the Guernsey Open. Katherine Cooper and Ian Murphy were the top performers in the singles event, reaching the quarter-finals before going under to Catherine Grant (Warks) 21-17, 23-21 and Paul Le Tocq (Guernsey) 21-17, 21-19.
As the curtain fell on yet another busy season for the county squad, several Norfolk players enjoyed a weekend playing in the Guernsey Open.
Katherine Cooper and Ian Murphy were the top performers in the singles event, reaching the quarter-finals before going under to Catherine Grant (Warks) 21-17, 23-21 and Paul Le Tocq (Guernsey) 21-17, 21-19.
In the women's doubles, Cooper teamed up with Suffolk's Toni Sturgeon and played very well to reach the final, which proved to be the most compelling match of the tournament. They were up against Jo Dix (Hampshire) and Claire Millward (Warwickshire) and, in a match full of entertaining and long rallies, they edged the first game 23-21. They just missed out on the second and then fell a few points behind in the third, from which they were unable to recover.
Both players could be very proud of the way they had played.
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Murphy and Grahame Wells, the county's top men's team, produced their best performance of the season by reaching the semi-finals of the doubles, before losing out to second seeds, Tom Armstrong (Leics) and Martin Ventham (Hants) 21-14, 21-15.
There was an entry of 64 pairs for the mixed doubles and Murphy and Cooper battled their way into the final, with a relatively comfortable semi-final victory over top seeds Chris Evans and Sarah Burgess (Hants) 21-11, 10-21, 21-8. There they met Armstrong and Grant, a top-12 pair in the national rankings.
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They played well in the first game, matching their opponents point for point, before losing out 21-17. But in the second the national pair were untouchable, combining huge jump smashes with lightning net play to take the title 21-6. But to finish second out of 64 was a commendable display from the Norfolk pair.