Three in a row for Norfolk

The Norfolk men's team extended their streak to three successive promotions as they topped Winter County Group 3A in Sunderland to gain promotion to Group 2.

The Norfolk men's team extended their streak to three successive promotions as they topped Winter County Group 3A in Sunderland to gain promotion to Group 2.

Norfolk began their promotion campaign against West of Scotland and quickly found themselves behind as Matthew Green fell at fifth singles. The scores were levelled soon after as Jonny Wynne came through a tough match to win at No 6.

Tom Lamming gave Norfolk a 2-1 lead with an impressive win at the No 4 spot, but Dan Wynne fell in three sets and the tie was level once again.

Norfolk were ahead once more as Nicky Crawley cruised to victory and Richard Bloomfield fought back after losing the opening set to give Norfolk a 4-2 advantage.

Lamming and Jonny Wynne were undone at third doubles but Crawley and Green put in a solid performance to hand Norfolk an unassailable 5-3 lead. The victory was rounded off by Bloomfield and Dan Wynne, who recovered from a set down to win at first pair.

Day two was a stern test of character against a battling Berkshire team.

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The first round of matches was filled with drama as Jonny Wynne and Green dropped their opening sets. Green saved match points before claiming the second set as Wynne levelled his match on the neighbouring court. Norfolk were ahead when Green completed his incredible comeback but Wynne was forced to save match points on his own serve. A third set tie-break was necessary and Wynne held his nerve to convert his fourth match point as the Norfolk balcony erupted.

Berkshire gained a rubber as Lamming was unable to capitalise on a promising start, but Dan Wynne restored Norfolk's advantage with a comfortable win at third singles.

Bloomfield looked impressive as he strolled to victory but Crawley fell at second singles to give Berkshire hope.

The drama was far from over as Berkshire continued their fightback, claiming the second and third doubles rubbers to tie up the match at 4-4. All eyes were on Bloomfield and Dan Wynne, who took to the court for the deciding doubles but any nerves were eased as they claimed the opening set 6-4. A crucial break at 5-5 in the second left Wynne to serve out the match and hand Norfolk a 5-4 victory.

A win against Durham and Cleveland on Sunday would guarantee promotion but Crawley failed a late fitness test and was unavailable to play.

Norfolk got off to an ideal start as Jonny Wynne won his third singles of the weekend in straight sets. Green once again put the Norfolk support through the mill as he faced match points at 0-40 on his own serve in the third set. A nerve-shredding conclusion saw Green fight back yet again to eventually triumph 7-5 and hand Norfolk a 2-0 advantage.

Lamming put on a show as he stormed to victory and when Dan Wynne added a fourth rubber Norfolk needed just one win to seal promotion. Captain Chris Parker, struggling with illness, filled in for the injured Crawley and was beaten at second singles.

Inevitably, British No 5 Bloomfield stepped up and won in straight sets to give Norfolk a 5-1 lead and guarantee promotion. Durham and Cleveland, condemned to relegation, restored some pride with victories at second and third doubles but it did little to dampen Norfolk spirits.

Norfolk hero Green said: "Even when I was down in my matches I felt like I could win and I think that rubbed off on Jonny who did incredibly well to fight back in his second match."

Norfolk will compete in Group 2 next year and Green was adamant that another promotion was possible.

"We were missing James Auckland and Barry Fulcher and with them in the line-up we're a pretty formidable team that can compete with the best counties around," he added.