Norfolk women’s team promoted to Summer County Cup top tier for first time in 25 years

Norfolk's women celebrate their Group Two success in the Summer County Cup at Cromer, from left, Via

Norfolk's women celebrate their Group Two success in the Summer County Cup at Cromer, from left, Vianne Palffry, Maddie Brooks, Ami Partridge, Rosie Pooley on shoulders of Lucy Brooks, Olivia Nicholls, Karen Highfield and Sam Noble. - Credit: Submitted

Norfolk's women will compete in Group One of the Summer County Cup for the first time in 25 years next summer, after sealing promotion in style.

The county team have been celebrating after their complete domination of their Group Two rivals at Cromer, where they won all five of their matches, winning 26 of the 39 rubbers available.

Lucy Brooks has been Norfolk's women's captain for seven years and will be in her 20th year as a county player when the Group One action starts next summer.

'It was a proper team effort and it was the same every day, in every match,' Brooks said. 'Our number one pairing, Amy Partridge and Olivia Nicholls, won in every match but during county week to get any rubber is brilliant, so I couldn't really pick out one person in particular for praise.

'We've been in Group Two the last two years. We played at Cromer two years ago and then last year at Havant near Portsmouth so I guess this was third time lucky.

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'We had a nice team, there was a good atmosphere and we had the best possible team out there that we could have done. We made the most of what we had and although it maybe wasn't a huge shock, it was a big deal for us.'

The week started with a hard-fought 5-4 win over Cheshire and was followed by 6-3 victories over Kent and Middlesex.

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Essex were then beaten 7-2 on Thursday and a 2-1 win over Hampshire and Isle of Wight, shortened because of rain, completed the success.

The likes of Surrey and Buckinghamshire now await in Group One next year and Brooks, 31, who works at East Anglia Tennis and Squash Club in central Norwich and at Cringleford Tennis Club, is hopeful Norfolk will be able to step up.

'The two teams we beat on Monday and Tuesday (Cheshire and Kent) were the two teams that had come down from Group One, so we're not a million miles off the pace,' she added. 'It shouldn't be a huge step up for us.'

The week was not as successful for the men's team, who were demoted from Group Two after losing three of their matches at Havant.

Losing 6-3 to Essex in the first game was followed up by a 5-4 win over Cambridgeshire but 6-3 defeats to Hampshire IOW and South Wales saw Norfolk second from bottom in the table, after everyone's final match on the Friday was washed out because of heavy rain.

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