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