Promotion to badminton’s Premiership B proving a tough challenge for Norfolk

Promotion from the Regional Championships to Premiership B was always going to be a tough challenge for Norfolk to tackle, moving, as it does, into a league where there is very little margin between victory and defeat.

And so it proved, in the second round of matches played at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes, where Norfolk lost two matches against high-flying Hampshire 6-4 and Yorkshire 7-3 and drew 5-5 with Lanarkshire.

While there were some very good individual performances, Norfolk were unable to produce the consistency needed over two gruelling days of badminton against some top class opposition.

But there was, nevertheless, some heartening action from the Norfolk team. Daryl Jacobs won all three of his singles matches, while 14-year-old Devon Minnis won two. Ian Murphy and Katherine Cooper won all their mixed doubles in straight sets, while in the women's doubles Louise Culyer and Julie Pike won two games and Cooper and Toni Sturgeon picked up one. Unfortunately, the men lost all six of their level doubles.

With one more weekend to go, Hampshire are calling the shots with 41 points, with the red rose of Lancashire just one point behind.

They are followed by four mid-table counties, while Lanarkshire and Norfolk are propping up the other end of the table with 21 and 23 points respectively, followed by Derbyshire and Surrey with 27 points each.

The struggle for promotion to Premier 1 or relegation to the Regional Championships goes to the wire, with Norfolk facing three of the current mid-table counties.

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Norfolk squad: Daryl Jacobs, Ian Murphy, Justin Gerrard, Jonny Cooper, Jono Atmore, Katherine Cooper, Julie Pike, Louise Culyer, Toni Sturgeon and Devon Minnis.

• Down at the other end of the scale, Norfolk were playing in a Shires League match against Hertfordshire, who are one of the best teams in the league.

Norfolk fought hard, but Herts were too good and produced a convincing 19-1 victory – Emma Piper won her singles game.

Representing Norfolk were Sam Dismore, Tom Hinks, Andrew Kitchen, Ben Tozer, Olivier Widdowson, Kathryn Adamson, Georgia Moyes, Emma Piper, Lisa Vickers and Katie Witting.

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