Anglo-Scottish Under 14 Tournament

The former Anglo-Scottish Team Tournament, played at Under 14 level, has just been reconstituted as part of the Anglo-Scottish League series and took place at the Tyneside Badminton Centre over the weekend of 3rd/4th January.  Organised by Foong Tham but run over the two days by Richard Taylor, the tournament featured teams from Lanarkshire, Lothian, Borders, Cumbria, Yorkshire (with A and B teams) and joint teams from Cheshire/Derbyshire and Northumberland/Durham.  The local team was managed by Elizabeth Alam and comprised the following players:

Abby Grogan, Anna Ralton, Emma Shears, Madeleine Atkinson, Rachel Bogan and Sarah Bambrick
Andrew Howard, Andrew Liang, Arif Alam, Gabriel Rodda, George Moran, Jack Thorpe, Josh Dixon, Melvin Cherian, Neil Shi and Sam Burdis

Against a number of much bigger, stronger and more experienced players, our team fought really hard and pulled together as a group to win 3 of their 7 matches, coming 5th overall.  The following are Elizabeth’s highlights from a really enjoyable weekend’s play.

A tough start (14:1 loss) against a combined Cheshire/Derbyshire team, but a gutsy win from George in 3 sets and four other matches which went to third set tiebreaks.  Anyway, nerves settled and on we went.
The rumour flew round the hall.  Yorkshire A had only drawn with Cumbria!!  What did this mean?  A surprisingly poor Yorkshire or stunningly good Cumbria??
It turned out both Yorkshire teams were short of players and had to concede games.  But Yorkshire players are always going to make you work for your games, and they did!  But with some very fine performances, including a win for Anna against their no. 1 girl, we went to a 9:6 victory.  Not many North East teams can say they beat Yorkshire!
With confidence boosted, we moved on to play Cumbria.  We had a slightly rocky start – 4:2 down after the mixed and girls’ singles – but the whole team excelled from that point on, winning every single game to take us to an 11:4 win.  Bravo!
Last match of a long first day – Borders, who had some very strong girls, and some pretty strong boys too!  We got off to a strong start in mixed, but knew the going would be tougher from there.  This one ended an 11:4 win for Borders, but well done to Andrew Liang and Sam for a convincing level doubles win at the end.
So we said goodbye to Sam, Andrew L and Neil and regrouped on Sunday morning with Gabriel, Jack and Josh joining the team.  First up, Lanarkshire.  The 10:5 win recorded for Lanarkshire doesn’t reflect how close this match actually was.  There were five tie-breaks, all of which we lost.  Three of those tie-breaks were lost 5:7.  But well done to Lanarkshire for holding their nerve and form at those critical moments.
Next, Lothian, who were already heading for a very clear overall win of the tournament.  And they must have porridge for breakfast every day, as the whole team were giants!!  What we wanted to see here was our team “having a go”.  And they did.  Anna even took a set off their no 1 girl, and Gabriel, Anna/Sarah and Madeleine/Emma also put in strong performances.
And finally, Yorkshire B.  Great to go out on a high, with an 11:4 victory, including first wins for our “new boys” Jack and Josh, who had been gaining in confidence as the day progressed.
Net, fifth overall, with good wins from every member of the team.  Great attitudes, lots of team spirit – it was a real pleasure to be with them over the weekend.
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