Norfolk girls book promotion return at Welsh National Tennis Centre

The Norfolk 18u girls won promotion from Group 4A of the AEGON County Cup at the Welsh National Tennis Centre in Cardiff.

Fine wins over Gloucestershire, Northumberland and promotion rivals Berkshire saw the young squad return to the third tier of the competition, two years after a painful final day relegation at Easton College.

A 6-3 victory over Gloucestershire was the ideal start with Norfolk's doubles skill proving crucial. Bronte Farrage, at No 6 singles, lost the opening set but found her feet and didn't drop another game for the remainder of the match before Maddie Brooks gave Norfolk a 2-0 advantage with a 7-5, 6-2 win. Klara Moolman and Megan Wright were both beaten in straight sets to bring the tie level with two singles remaining.

Norfolk had their noses in front again when Olivia Nicholls cruised to victory at number two, but Amy Partridge found the going tough against her opposite number and once more the tie was even.

Farrage and Brooks teamed up to add a doubles win to their earlier singles victories and Moolman and Wright made the result safe with a straight sets win at number two.

Partridge and Nicholls, a regular pair in the Norfolk Ladies' side, provided a potential bonus by emerging victorious from a third set tiebreak to complete a 6-3 score line.

Northumberland were dismissed in style as Norfolk had the tie wrapped up after the singles. Farrage and Brooks again gave Norfolk a 2-0 lead before Moolman made it three in straight sets. The only loss from the singles came as Wright was beaten but another comfortable win for Nicholls made it 4-1 before Partridge won the deciding set 4-6 6-1 6-0.

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A re-shuffled doubles line-up saw wins come for Moolman and Wright and Nicholls and Brooks to round off a commanding 7-2 victory.

The scene was set for a promotion showdown with Berkshire, who had beaten Gloucestershire and Northumberland.

There was a bright start with Farrage winning 6-0 6-0, but they were quickly pegged back when Brooks fell in three sets.

Norfolk found themselves behind for the first time all weekend when Wright and Moolman were beaten, leaving the senior members of the team to steady the ship.

Nicholls and Partridge each dropped just one game en route to victory to make it all-square once again at 3-3.

A doubles win for Farrage and Wright came after a second set tie break but Moolman and Brooks were beaten and again Norfolk's fate was left in the hands of Nicholls and Partridge, who won a second set tie break to seal the result and cement Norfolk's place at the top of the group with a 5-4 win.

Captain Derek Perry said: 'It was great team performance but special mentions must go to Olivia and Bronte with six and five wins respectively.'

• A difficult weekend for the 18u Norfolk boys' team left them in a relegation battle with South of Scotland on the final day of AEGON County Cup in Group 5B at Sheffield.

After a heavy loss to Northamptonshire and a 5-4 defeat to Staffordshire, Norfolk needed to find something special on the last day to survive. And they responded with a 6-2 win.

Norfolk were off the mark quickly with wins for Tom Fisher and Tom Hunter at five and six singles respectively before Johnnie Carmichael-Plester added a third rubber with a straight sets win.

A powerful performance from Jack-Long Martinez brought an excellent win over the opposing number three but the celebrations were put on hold by a defeat for Steve Harlow.

Fortunately Norfolk's number one Harry Weeds kept his head to win in straight sets and make the tie, and his team's Group 5B status, safe for another year. Fisher and Hunter sealed a doubles rubber to put the icing on the cake.