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Norfolk captain Sammy Martin proud of her team after tough week at County Finals

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 September 2018

Norfolk Ladies line up for a team picture at Royal North Devon. Back row (left to right): Jo Ashmore, Jasmine Campbell, Megan Mann, Chloe Gibbs, Jo Herd, Abigail O'Riordan, Chloe Rowswell, Immy Leeder, Tiffany Mills. Front:  Sue Heeles (vice-captain), Heather Keeble (county president), Sammy Martin (captain) Picture: NCLGA

Norfolk Ladies line up for a team picture at Royal North Devon. Back row (left to right): Jo Ashmore, Jasmine Campbell, Megan Mann, Chloe Gibbs, Jo Herd, Abigail O'Riordan, Chloe Rowswell, Immy Leeder, Tiffany Mills. Front: Sue Heeles (vice-captain), Heather Keeble (county president), Sammy Martin (captain) Picture: NCLGA

Archant

Norfolk Ladies stood up to all the weather could throw at them to turn in a respectable showing in the finals of the England Women’s County Championship at Royal North Devon last week.

Sammy Martin’s team kept battling away despite coming out on the wrong side of a series of tight matches and finally got the win they deserved on the final day when they saw off Yorkshire 4-2.

The victory was enough to lift them off the foot of the table at the end of a difficult week that had seen strong winds play havoc with the competition, with four of the five rounds having to be played over a shorter format.

“It was an extremely challenging week mentally, physically and emotionally and Royal North Devon proved a monster when the wind and rain made an appearance,” said the captain.

“My team fought valiantly and played with a composure, passion and desire to win for Norfolk in an unbelievably challenging environment. I am very proud of them, with every player contributing and committing fully to the task.

“I thank my vice-captain Sue (Heeles), county president Heather (Keeble), caddies, supporters and all who visited us in Devon as we are the sum of all parts.”

With two of their top players, Amelia Williamson and Amy Taylor, away studying in the United States and the experienced Tracey Williamson playing in the Ladies’ Senior Open in Scotland, it was always going to be a tough task for Norfolk against England’s top counties, most of whom have many more players to select from.

The campaign began with a 5-4 defeat to Staffordshire in the only match to go the full distance before the weather turned nasty. Martin’s team then battled through a mixture of wind and rain to lose 3½-1½ to Buckinghamshire, 3½-2½ to Surrey and 3-2 to eventual champions Gloucestershire before their final flourish. There were halves for Chloe Gibbs and Imogen Leeder and wins from Tiffany Mills (2&1) and the foursomes pairings of Jo Herd and Jasmine Campbell (5&4) and Chloe Rowswell and Abigail O’Riordan (4&3).

“On reflection I confess I feel a little cheated by the occasion as my team was armed with a capability that I would have been able to fully employ had we played a traditional match format,” added Martin. “But we always remained true to our ambition and believed in our ability to the very end and I am delighted that Norfolk is competing at the highest county level.”

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