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Norfolk fade after bright start against defending champions in opening match of County Finals

PUBLISHED: 19:30 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 19:30 16 September 2019

Norfolk youngster Eve Neild pictured after her excellent performance in the English Girls Under-16 Amateur Championship at Fulford Picture: FAMILY

Norfolk youngster Eve Neild pictured after her excellent performance in the English Girls Under-16 Amateur Championship at Fulford Picture: FAMILY

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Norfolk Ladies were unable to build on a dream start to County Finals Week at Delamere Forest on Monday as they lost their opening match against Gloucestershire 6-3.

Sue Heeles' team led the defending champions 2-1 after the morning foursomes, with sisters Hope and Eve Neild marking their full debuts with a win and Karen Young and Jo Herd also coming out on top.

But it was a different story after lunch as a strong Gloucestershire team turned the tables by winning five of the six singles matches, with Abigail O'Riordan preventing a clean sweep.

Norfolk will be looking to bounce back on Tuesday when they take on Yorkshire in their second game of the week in what will be another tough encounter against a side who romped to a 8-1 win over Buckinghamshire in their opener.

"I am so proud of the team today even though they ended up losing the match," said captain Sue Heeles.

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"They played really well in the morning to win the foursomes, that was an amazing achievement.

"In the afternoon the match got away from us but it was always going to be a tall order against the defending champions.

"They had several plus handicappers in their side while we had three, four and five handicappers in ours so it was certainly no disgrace to lose 6-3. The singles results look a bit one-sided but everyone played well and it was an odd putt here and there that made the difference.

"I think Gloucestershire will go on and win it and we have given them a very good game. Now we just have to focus on Yorkshire which will be another big test."

The Neild sisters from Royal Norwich took their foursomes match 4&3 and Young and Herd won their final two holes to edge home 1up after Imogen Leeder and O'Riordan had been well beaten 7&6.

In the afternoon Gloucestershire showed why they are many people's favourites to win the title for a third year running as they dominated the singles.

There were defeats for Young (6&5), Herd (3&2), Hope Neild (5&4), Leeder (3&2) and Chloe Gibbs (6&5) while O'Riordan bounced back from a heavy defeat in the morning to win her game 1up.

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