Norfolk make the most of Wimbledon day out
The Norfolk men's team travelled to Wimbledon on Saturday for an invitational match with The All-England Lawn Tennis Club and put in a strong performance to win 6-3 overall.
With Richard Bloomfield and recently retired professional James Auckland back in the side, Norfolk were in control throughout as they won each round of matches 2-1.
Bloomfield reformed his successful partnership with Nick Crawley at first pair while Auckland and captain Barry Fulcher teamed up at number two. Brothers Dan and Jonny Wynne completed the line-up with only Tom Spinks missing from one of the strongest sides fielded by Norfolk in recent years.
Crawley and Bloomfield were quick to put Norfolk ahead, recapturing some of the form that saw them go undefeated as a pair for three years at County week.
The Wynnes lost to the opposing third pair but Auckland and Fulcher put Norfolk 2-1 up at lunch.
It was a similar story in the second round as the top two pairs won in straight sets to leave Norfolk in need of just one rubber from the final round of matches for victory.
That rubber nearly came from the Wynne brothers whose luck was truly out on the day as they led by a set and a break before squandering a succession of chances to see off their opponents and eventually falling in a championship tie-break.
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Bloomfield and Crawley sealed the win as they recovered from an uncharacteristic second set wobble to clinch the match in the decisive tie-break.
Skipper Fulcher stepped out of the line-up with an injury to his side and the experienced Matt Green partnered Auckland for a final round victory to leave the final score at 6-3.
Players and guests were treated to afternoon tea in the summer tea room and drinks in the members bar after play. Norfolk were extremely privileged to use the number one dressing room, reserved for members and seeded players during the Wimbledon Championships.
Captain Fulcher said afterwards: 'We really enjoyed the day and it was good to get almost the full contingent together at this stage of the season. The signs are promising for County week at Cromer in July, and we will try to get the team together for some structured practices in May and June.'
Nicky Crawley expressed the team's gratitude to the All-England Club, adding: 'It is not often you get the chance to play at the most famous venue in tennis and for this we are truly grateful to the AELTC committee for their invitation and hospitality.'
With squad members embarking on National Club League campaigns for the coming 12 weeks, the next Norfolk fixture is likely to come in June before County week 2011 at Cromer Tennis Club.