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Norfolk U18 teams fight bravely but can’t avoid County Cup relegations

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 March 2019

Norfolk's U18 boys team which competed in the LTA County Cup in March 2019. Back row, from left: Fred Withers, Scott Whiting,Regan Bessey, Cameron Whiting, Harry Ketteringham. Front, from left: Will Stoppani, Ethan Terry, Joe Henden Picture: Norfolk LTA

Norfolk's U18 boys team which competed in the LTA County Cup in March 2019. Back row, from left: Fred Withers, Scott Whiting,Regan Bessey, Cameron Whiting, Harry Ketteringham. Front, from left: Will Stoppani, Ethan Terry, Joe Henden Picture: Norfolk LTA

Norfolk LTA

Norfolk’s under-18 boys and girls teams have both been relegated to Division Four of the LTA County Cup.

Maintaining the momentum of last year’s success was always going to be a big challenge for a young boys team in Group 3A at Easton & Otley College.

On day one the team lost 0-9 to a solid Hampshire & Isle of Wight team. The only real resistance being put up by Joe Henden in the No.5 singles match which he eventually lost 2-6, 7-5, 4-6.

A great performance by Cameron Whiting and Ethan Terry was also not quite enough to secure a win in the doubles, losng 3-6, 6-4, (6-10).

On Day two Norfolk lost 8-1 to Leicestershire, winning a single set in the singles, with No.1 Fred Withers unable to close out after winning the first set, eventually losing 6-4, 4-6, 3-6. The team faired better in the doubles, with Will Stoppani and Withers going on to win a deciding tie-break in the No.2 match.

The boys would go into the final day needing to beat Dorset 9-0 to avoid relegation. There was a change to the line-up with Ethan Terry coming in, making his singles debut at this age group. Playing in his last county cup, Harry Ketteringham competed hard to win the No.4 singles match, coming back from losing the first set to win the next two, 6-2, 7-6. But again this was the sole consolation with defeats in the other singles matches.

Co-captain, Nicky Crawley, said: “The boys could not have worked harder, sometimes you just have to except that on the day the opposition were better than us.

“That said we are a young team who will only get stronger at this level. I must also mention the efforts of Cameron and Harry who have played some great tennis for the county over the years and were superb in mentoring the debutants throughout the doubles matches in particularly.

“We wish them well at University and hope they continue to support the county in Mens tennis.”

The girls were also missing a couple of older players and had to contend with injury during their Group 3A weekend in Shrewsbury.

It was a tough first day, losing 0-9 to Somerset. Despite the scoreline there were many encouraging performances. Sian Stoppani and Hannah Wilson-Kemsly were playing there first U18 county cup. Eleanor Widdows also had a close singles match.

On day two the girls competed well against a strong Cambridgeshire team. Singles wins for Vianne Palffy, Emily Barrett and Hannah meant it was 3-3 going into the doubles. All three doubles matches went into a deciding set but on this occasion it was Cambs who won 6-3.

Only a final day win against Staffordshire would secure another season playing at the same level. Vianne and Emily both managed to win in the top two matches but without further wins the team went down 2-5.

Captain, Derek Perry, said: “There are many positives to take from the weekend. Three of the girls were making there debut in the competition. The experiences they will have gained will help develop their tennis.

“A special mention to Eleanor who tweaked her ankle on the first day and supported the team in all their matches despite the disappointment of not being able to play. We will rebuild and plan for next year.”

U18 girls: Alix Jermey, Millie Brooks, Emily Barrett, Vianne Palffy, Hannah Mann, Hannah Wilson Kemsly, Eleanor Widdows, Sian Stoppani.

U18 boys: Fred Withers, Scott Whiting, Regan Bessey, Cameron Whiting, Harry Ketteringham, Will Stoppani, Ethan Terry, Joe Henden.

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