Promotion the target in Summer Cup
Norfolk men's first team head into the Summer County Cup at Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club next week, with their sights firmly set on promotion.
After last year's survival heroics, Norfolk take up their place in a fiercely competitive Division Two alongside Lancashire, Cheshire, Warwickshire, South Wales and East of Scotland but, unlike the 2010 campaign, the entire first team squad should be available for selection.
This means that former top 100 doubles player James Auckland could make his return to Summer County Cup for the first time since 2005.
As always, question marks remain; Richard Bloomfield is in Canada and his arrival in Cromer will depend on results at the Granby Challenger where he is due to face second seed Matthias Bachinger of Germany in round one today. However, definitely available is Norfolk stalwart Nicky Crawley, who once formed a formidable 49-match winning streak with Bloomfield over three County Cup campaigns.
Crawley explained the importance of a big push for Division One.
You may also want to watch:
'We are the first Norfolk team to reach Division Two since the 70s, but we want to match the achievements of the '77 side that competed in Division One.
'The average age of our squad is 28, which must be well above a lot of the teams so, realistically, if we're going to hit that target it will have to be this year or next.'
- 1 Work started on four new homes without permission
- 2 Flight bound for Norwich turns back to Aberdeen
- 3 Woman has heart attack and dies in ambulance waiting for a hospital bed
- 4 Murder investigation launched after body of man found in Norwich flat
- 5 Mum's heartfelt tribute to daughter who died in A47 collision
- 6 Holt Hall for sale after years of uncertainty
- 7 Christmas craft, food and gift fair returning to Norfolk estate
- 8 Who can get a Covid booster jab and how can I book one?
- 9 Man who died after a medical episode in Hopton identified
- 10 Swathes of new homes for village move step closer with new planning bid
The experienced baseliner from Caister-on-Sea was one of the players who struggled with injury in 2010 and is hoping a bigger squad will reduce the wear and tear sustained during the week:
'If we are able to rotate players a little bit, we should be able to compete all week – we haven't had that luxury for a long time,' he said.
Veteran Tom Spinks is another who is likely to feature after a classy partnership with skipper Fulcher last year. After dropping their opening encounter, the vastly experienced duo moved through the gears to remain undefeated for the remainder of the week.
Wynne, Jonny Wynne, Matt Green and Tom Lamming have each been central figures in Norfolk's ascent to Division Two and are all available for duty in Cromer.
Norfolk begin their campaign on Monday against Lancashire and will take on a different team each day until Friday, July 22.
Entry is free to spectators, with play usually commencing at 11am each day.
• A youthful Norfolk Ladies squad travels to West Worthing Tennis Club in Sussex for Summer County Cup.
Successive promotions have seen Norfolk reach Division Three for the first time since the 90s, with the emergence of Amy Partridge and Olivia Nicholls as an established pairing alongside co-captains Karen Highfield and Lucy Brooks.
However, Partridge is unavailable, leaving Norfolk fairly short on reserves for their toughest campaign in recent years.
Captains Highfield and Brooks have turned to veteran Dawn Foxhall to add her experience and quality to the squad, but will also be forced to give several juniors their first taste of senior county tennis.
Pippa Horn, the 18 and under national champion, is unavailable as she will be competing for Great Britain in their Summer Cup.
Norfolk will be up against Yorkshire, Berkshire, Kent, Derbyshire and Devon.