Ruthless Norfolk pick up hat-trick of wins to earn County Cup promotion

Norfolk Under-18 boys, from left, Nick Crawley, Scott Whiting, Cameron Whiting, Harry Ketteringham,

Norfolk Under-18 boys, from left, Nick Crawley, Scott Whiting, Cameron Whiting, Harry Ketteringham, Matthew Cott, Fred Withers, Matthew Samson, Finlay Rowan, Stuart Silvester. Front: Guatham Narayanan. Piocture: Norfolk LTA - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Under-18 boys have beaten teams from Cumbria, Nottinghamshire and Hereford & Worcester to win promotion into Group Three of the Aegon County Cup competition.

Playing at Hills Road, Cambridge, Norfolk were looking to build on a strong performance last year when they narrowly missed out on promotion after a final day loss to Cambridge.

This year the team introduced three new players – Fred Withers, Scott Whiting and Gautham Narayanan, who added an overall depth in performance to the older squad members, Matt Samson, Alex Watkinson, Harry Ketteringham, Cameron Whiting, Finlay Rowan and Matt Cott.

Norfolk faced Cumbria first – an even match-up in terms of the rankings. Withers and Scott Whiting showed no signs of nerves, both winning comfortably to ease the team into a 2-0 lead. Sngles wins for Watkinson and Cameron Whiting saw Norfolk take a 4-2 lead into the doubles. The team maintained their lead to close out a 6-3 match win, with the Whiting brothers claiming the decisive rubber 10-8 in the third.

Day two saw Norfolk up against Nottinghamshire, who had lost 6-3 on the opening day to Hereford & Worcestershire. Withers and Scott Whiting again played with great authority to win in straight sets. In what proved to be a pivotal match, Ketteringham came back from a set down to break Notts' resistance. Singles wins for Samson and Watkinson ensured victory, although it was good to see a clinical edge to the team with straight set wins in all three doubles, Matt Cott in particular showing his doubles experience. The resounding 8-1 win meant promotion was a possibility.

Norfolk could afford to lose the match with Hereford & Worcestershire, as long as they won four rubbers, but there no signs of complacency as they won the first five singles matches without losing a set. Despite already securing promotion, the team wanted to complete the doubles and continued their fine form with further victories, including a win for Samson and debutant Guatham Narayanan as Norfolk ran out 7-2 winners.

Co-captain Nick Crawley said: 'It's the desire they have shown, not only to win but the ruthless nature of how they went about their business which was most impressive.'

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