Norfolk Senior Restricted

Charlie Wakefield took part in the Norfolk Senior Restricted in September 2019.

On the weekend of the 28th and 29th of September, Charlie Wakefield played in the Norfolk Senior county restricted. Saturday was singles day and Wakefield (seeded 2) came out of his group fairly comfortably with 3 straightforward wins, all in 2 games. With a bye into the semi-final, he then met his friend, training partner and long standing rival Bradley Smith from Norwich. After going up early on the game, Smith fought back to push him right to 20-21. After surviving the first set point scare, Charlie managed to clinch the first set 23-21.

In the second set once again, he took a slightly less dramatic early lead, however at around the half way point, Smith gradually began to get back into it, however he managed to hold onto his early few point margin, winning the second set 21-17, to progress to his first senior restricted final after going out in 3 sets in the semi’s the previous year to Tom Boardman.

In the final, he met the number 1 seed and last years champion, James Salter, who, after coming back down to the county from training at Nottingham university, proved his strength and class in the previous rounds. The final was close, with some hotly contested long rallies, and despite giving it everything, the sheer experience from Salter proved to come through in the latter stages of both sets, clinching some close rallies to edge out Wakefield 17-21, 17-21. However, Charlie said he was incredibly pleased to push someone he’d looked up to over the years hard in the final, and to make the final was a great experience and learning curve. He can’t wait to see if he can go one better once again next year.

Sunday was doubles and mixed day, with mixed commencing first. Charlie paired up with regular partner Caitlin Parfitt from Norwich. After a relatively comfortable first game, they came up against an experienced regular senior 1st/2nd team county pairing of Charlie Savage and Justin Gerrard. After an incredibly tight 3 set thriller, coming back from a set down, they won the third and progressed to the last 8. There they met a pair of similar calibre and reputation in Paul Savage and Katie Ruthen, however off the back of their success in the last match, they came through to win in 2 tight sets 21-17, 21-18.

In the semi they met Eric Plane and Louise Culyer, a pair of England masters internationals, with various world, European and national titles between them for over 35’s. Wakefield and Parfitt battled hard in the first, using their speed to their advantage to try and outpower the veteran pair, and won the first 22-20. Then, unfortunately after going down in the second 8-15, Charlie went over on his ankle and had to withdraw from the match and the rest of the tournament. Charlie was extremely disappointed as he felt they’d been playing the best mixed together they’d ever played, however he couldn’t walk on it and it swelled to the size of a tennis ball. Fortunately, an x-ray the same day showed that it wasn’t broken, however he will be out of action for 6 weeks following the tournament due to rupturing the ligaments in his ankle. However, he hopes for a fast recovery, and will come back stronger and is looking forward to his last season as a junior.

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