Four hard days for rising stars

Malcolm LovattThe Under-17s Inter-Counties Tournament, held every year at Nottingham University, is arguably the most prestigious event in the junior calendar. It is eagerly anticipated by players and officials alike and never loses its magic.Malcolm Lovatt

The Under-17s Inter-Counties Tournament, held every year at Nottingham University, is arguably the most prestigious event in the junior calendar.

It is eagerly anticipated by players and officials alike and never loses its magic.

This year was no exception and, with 39 counties taking part, the standard of play throughout the four days was outstanding.

The counties were initially divided into ten groups with Norfolk in a tough section against tournament favourites. Yorkshire and Sussex.The team had nothing to lose and went on court with a positive attitude, determined to win as many points as possible.


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They lost 9-1 to Yorkshire, but all the games were closely contested, with Serena Verney picking up Norfolk's only success in a thrilling three setter. Much to the team's surprise and delight the match against Sussex finished in a 5-5 draw, but, unfortunately,was lost by just three rubbers.

In the second round Norfolk were playing for places 21-39 and came top of their group, beating Shropshire 7-3, Somerset 6-4 and Gloucestershire 6-4. This left the county fighting for places 21-25 in the final round. The team were full of hope and confidence and started well by beating Worcestershire 7-3, followed by a nail-biting 5-5 draw against Leicestershire, but winning by just one rubber. The next match against Lincolnshire was slightly more comfortable, bringing a 6-4 victory.

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This left the final match against Middlesex, which was another nail-biter, ending in a 5-5 draw, level both on games and rubbers, but eventually awarded to Norfolk by 15 points. The team played superbly throughout the four days, showing enthusiasm and determination in their nine matches and thoroughly deserved their final position of 21st.

Norfolk squad: Andy Carrier, Luke Cox, Mark Robinson, Ashley Robb, Holly Bowen, Emma Piper, Amy Sharman, Louise Thacker and Serena Verney.

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