Northants County 1st |Team Division 1 Report 

Northants Seniors played in the first weekend of County Championship  matches at Batts (Harlow) on Saturday 29th Oct  

Northants 7  Middlesex 2nds 3 

First up were newly promoted Middlesex 2nds and Northants were off to a good start with John Fuller too strong and crafty for youngster Mo Owadally in a 10, 4 and 4 win. On the next table Captain Andy Trott was struggling however at  2-0 down to Middlesex No1 Lucas Papantoniou but clawed back 2-2 before just holding on at 7 in the fifth.  Nicole Bird dropped the third game to  4 but was generally too strong for Gosia Muda in a 3-1 win and Chris Doran made it 4-0 with a 3, 5 and 4 win over Karim Khassal.   Bhavika Mistry on debut found the formidable Sarah Horsnell too strong as Middlesex registered their  first win 10, 7 and 7, but Trott made it 5-1 with a 3, 6 and 6 win over Owadally.   Doran was perhaps too casual in losing the first to Papantoniou before coming through 7 in the 4th and Bhavika let slip a 2-1 lead to lose 7 in the fifth to Muda.  Nicole played well to dispose of Horsnell 8, 7 and 4, but Fuller then found Karim too strong in a 3-1 loss as the match ended 7-3 to Northants.   

Essex 6 Northants 4

Trott made way for  Shandor Czuczor in the 2nd match but Essex were out of the blocks quickly as Tony Halling was too consistent for a misfiring Shandor 11-2 in the fifth and Josh Dye played very well to overcome John Fuller 11-7 in the 4th.  Parity was restored as Doran lobbed  and frustrated Jamal Dennison 3 in the 4th and Nicole Bird was too strong for the England over 50 Veteran Debbie Auvache (9,6 and 7).   Things got worse for Northants as Bhavika was beaten 3-0 by both no1 Barbara Izyk and also  Auvache and with Sahndor still off form in a loss to Dye (deuce in the 4th ) Northants were 5-2 down.   Doran was too strong for Halling in a 6,7 and12 win to reduce it to 5-3, but the match was all over as Bird was remarkably out of sorts against an in form Izyk  5,3 and 0.  Despite being 6-3 down in the match John Fuller never gave up despite going 2-0 down to Dennison, he took the third a close 9, the 4th 4 and just held on on in the 5th11-9 to make the match score 6-4 to Essex. 

Northants 5 Norfolk 5 

The team was unchanged for the last match and were given a 2-0 boost as Norfolk could only field 1 woman , the bad news being it was former England No5 Lauren Charles who predictably won both  her singles 3-0. Bhavika gave her best performance of the day in the 10, 5 and 8 loss to Charles and Bird succumbed predictably 6, 4 and 7.  Doran cruised to his two singles wins over top 50 and top 70 players Neil Charles and Jake Collins and John Fuller was unflappable in a 3-1 win over Andy Hawes . 5-2 to Northants then with Fuller to take on Collins and  Shandor  to play Neil Charles and Andy Hawes.   Shandor/Hawes  was key and after blasting everything off in the first end Shandor was more controlled as he took legs 2 and 3 (8 and 6), the 4th end Shandor blasted to no avail again and the momentum was with Hawes in the 5thas he came through 11-7.    Shandor /Neil Charles was also close, Charles took the first but Shandor led in the 2nd before losing it at deuce. Shandor took the third 9 and the 4th end was tight all the way with Charles sneaking it 11-9 with an edge on the last point.    Fuller/Collins was even closer  , Collins led 2-1 but Fuller levelled at 2-2 before taking a 6-3 lead in the fifth.  Collins was a little disrespectful on a few points and John fought till the end before going down 13-11 in the fifth to a higher ranked opponent.   5-5 then but could easily have been a win . 

Thanks to all involved including Richie Elliott and Steve Silk who volunteered to play if required 

All to play for in the 2nd weekend 

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