Norfolk under-12 teams battle hard for second spot at inter-county event in Corby

The Norfolk under-12 girls team which took part in the 12 Counties tournamnt in Corby (from left) El

The Norfolk under-12 girls team which took part in the 12 Counties tournamnt in Corby (from left) Eleanor Withers, Josephine Jarvis, captain Chris Evans, Emily Barrett and Hannah Wilson Kemsely. - Credit: Submitted

Norfolk's under-12 boys team secured second place in the 12 Counties Tournament held at Corby in Northamptonshire.

The Norfolk under-12 boys team which took part in the 12 Counties tournamnt in Corby (from left) Fre

The Norfolk under-12 boys team which took part in the 12 Counties tournamnt in Corby (from left) Fred Withers, Scott Whiting, captainj Chris Evans, Joe Henden and Ross Wilson. - Credit: Submitted

The event sees the 12 competing counties split in to three groups of four and Norfolk were drawn against Cambridgeshire, Northants and Oxfordshire.

Norfolk faced Oxfordshire first and dominated three of the games but Scott Whiting, playing at number one, had to battle hard to complete the 4-0 whitewash, winning on a tie-break.

Next were the hosts, Northants, and on paper Norfolk were clear underdogs with all opponents being at least one rating above.

Scott Whiting played first against a player three ratings above his level and it proved accurate as the Northants number one cruised to victory, despite Scott's best efforts.

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The team then responded with some great performances, Ross Wilson and Joe Henden winning comfortably against players one rating above, but the match of the tie was Fred Whithers playing at two and beating a player two ratings above 10-5 in the deciding tie break, to seal a 3-1 Norfolk win.

The final match was a decider against Cambs, who had also won both their matches.

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Scott Whiting went out to play the Cambs number one, who was five ratings above him, but Scott set the right attitude for the team by throwing himself at every point and made life difficult as he was defeated.

Fred Whithers and Ross Wilson then went on against the Cambs number two and three respectively.

Ross finished off his outstanding day with another victory, punching well above his weight in beating a player three ratings above him 4-0 4-0 to tie the match at 1-1.

Fred then played a rival that he had never beaten and pushed him all the way but narrowly lost 4-2, 5-3, leaving it to Joe Henden to salvage a draw.

Again it was a huge mismatch on paper in favour of the Cambs team but it turned into one of the matches of the day as Joe was tested to his limit in the first set, going to a tie-break and narrowly losing 8-6.

The disappointment seemed to get to him as he went 3-0 down in the second set but Joe found another gear and raced back to 3-3, and the comeback was on. A 15-minute game at 3-3 then went in favour of the Cambs number four and Joe's resistance was broken, for Cambs to win 3-1 and emerge as winners of the group.

The Norfolk U12 girls team of Emily Barrett, Josie Jarvis, Eleanor Widdows and Hannah Wilson Kemsely also competed at the event but finished in last place, despite showing lots of fighting spirit.

Emily and Josie won their games at number one and two in a 2-2 draw with Oxfordshire in the first match.

Inexperience in the squad told in the next match, which ended in a 4-0 whitewash to Northants, but there was a late rally in the final match against Cambs.

After the disappointment of the previous match Emily and Josie raised their games to get good wins at one and two, putting Norfolk 2-0 ahead, but the Cambs team had strength in depth and managed to win the remaining matches without losing a game, to finish in first place.

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