Norfolk’s men stay up but women get sinking feeling in Aegon Summer County Cup
- Credit: Submitted
Norfolk's men and women suffered very differing fortunes at this year's Aegon Summer County Cup week.
The men managed to preserve their Division Three status but unfortunately the women were relegated to Division Two.
The men were playing at Frinton in a group consisting of Cambridgeshire, Berkshire, Cheshire, North Scotland and Lincolnshire.
Captain Nicky Crawley was looking ahead to a successful week despite being without heavyweight ex-pros – Barry Fulcher, Tom Spinks, and James Auckland.
However, it was an opportunity for some junior players to take centre stage.
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After a day one 6-3 victory over Lincolnshire the team was set up for a promotion push. Wins for all three pairs also showed there was strength in depth.
The same line-up of Richard Bloomfield & Will Davies, Crawley & Harry Weeds and Dan Wynne & Thomas Fisher faced Berkshire on day two. Despite the Bloomfield/Davies partnership again winning all three matches, the result was a 4-5 defeat.
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Next up was Cheshire and Bloomfield/Davies were again unbeaten, but it was Crawley/Weeds who won the deciding rubber, with Crawley serving a 120mph ace at 5-4, 40-15.
On day four the injuries started to take there toll, with captain Crawley forced to sub out with a calf injury. In an epic deciding rubber, with the match tied at 4-4 Wynne & Kristopher Jenkins eventually lost out 6-7 in the final set.
So two wins and two defeats meant that Norfolk could still achieve promotion if they were to defeat Cambs on the final day whilst defeat could mean relegation.
Unfortunately Weeds was unable to play due to a stomach strain and Davies missed the last round as he had a flight to Portugal to catch for another event. So Kumar Bhaskar came in to make his debut alongside Bloomfield.
After round two Norfolk had managed to go from 2-1 up to 2-4 down and relegation was looking more likely. One rubber was needed to remain in the division and this was secured by Weeds/Fisher before the overall match was eventually lost.
Men's skipper Crawley said: 'The team should be proud. This bunch showed exactly what it is all about representing Norfolk at County Cup.
'Well done to all and roll on Winter County Cup in Group Two in Redbridge this November.'
The Ladies team were back in the top division for the first time in 25 years, playing at Eastbourne.
Unfortunately the team were without Maddie Brooks (in the USA) and an injured Olivia Nicholls. This enabled the junior trio of Talitha Rowan, Vianne Palffy, Frances Evans to make debuts, and a return to first team action for the first time in over two decades for Anna Linton.
It was always going to be difficult against strong counties like Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire, Lancashire, Kent.
Despite several three set matches the team failed to win a tie, the closest match a 3-6 defeat against Lancashire.
The highlight in this match was a storming comeback by Partridge/Linton who recovered from 1-5 to win the final set on a tie-break.
Women's captain Lucy Brooks said: 'it was a great experience for us, and the juniors tried there very best and look promising for the future.
'Hopefully next year we will be back to full strength and push for promotion again, we didn't feel out of our depth despite our day to day results.'