The latest North Tyneside Social Badminton Tournament, held in the 8 court sports hall at John Spence Community High School in North Shields, attracted yet another record entry, with 87 players entering. There were one or two last minute injuries, but over 80 players turned up on the day to take part in what was another highly successful and enjoyable tournament. There was a huge range of ages – from 15 to 75!! Players came from all over the region to take part, and one player even travelled from Scotland to partner his girlfriend! It was really good to see more new faces as well as several familiar ones. There were some family pairings too. The atmosphere was once again really friendly, and social, yet competitive, and quite a few spectators turned up to watch and support, including the injured Jo Donaldson (Jo normally wins a trophy or two!!) who thoroughly enjoyed watching many excellent games. The overall standard for the tournament was very good, considering these tournaments are for players who do not play on League or County teams, and who generally play for fun socially.
All matches were initially played in round robin groups, so that everybody got plenty of matches. The 4 group winners in the Men’s and Mixed Doubles progressed to knockout semi-finals with the winners playing each other in the Finals. The 2 group winners and 2 runners-up in the Ladies Doubles competed in cross-over semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the Final.
Joyce Buchan, at the age of 75, showed that she can teach the younger players a thing or two!! Together with regular partner Mark Henderson, who played very well indeed, Joyce won the Mixed Doubles event, comfortably winning the semi-final 15-4 then the final against Zac Lai and Min Yan 15-7. The Men’s Doubles produced the highest standard of play, with many excellent group matches. Regular competitors (and regular winners) Derek Gilhespie and Simon Entwistle narrowly lost their semi-final to the eventual winners Jason Kwok and William Moinin 15-13. The final was even tighter, with Jason and William just winning 15-14 against Mark Holland and Mark Heron. It was discovered after the event that the pair who won the Ladies Doubles final had one ineligible player – so the runners-up in the final, Sue Quick and Heather Ferris from Morpeth, who were victorious in the October Over 50s Social Tournament, were promoted to winners.
A large number of volunteers from Bewicke Badminton Club, which plays in the John Spence sports hall on Tuesday evenings, plus other volunteers from the North Tyneside Badminton Partnership, ensured that the tournament ran smoothly. Regular competitor Mike Turton sent a lovely email on behalf of his group of players: “We all had a great time and enjoyed our games, even the ones we were well beaten in! It was lovely to see so many new faces there, young and old, and to see how everybody entered into the friendly spirit in which these events are always played.”
At the meeting of the North Tyneside Badminton Tournament a few days after the tournament, a special award was presented to Viv Harmer the tournament secretary, from Bewicke BC, in recognition of her tremendous work as tournament secretary – something she never imagined she would be doing a few years ago!!!