Northumberland’s Under 15 Junior County team were involved in the Anglo-Scottish Tournament over the weekend at the Tyneside Badminton Centre. The event, supported as usual by Yehlex, brings together teams from north and south of the border each year to play off for the trophy. For some of the team it was the first time they had represented their County and the team were all proudly wearing their new Northumberland team tops.
The team, under the experienced management of Karen Davison and Joel Dodd was –
Amy Ward, Charlotte Graham, Ellen Davison, Eve Beechinor-Collins, Lucy Dodd, Merin Cherian, Dominic Wilson-Baker, Jack Tilbury, James Dodd, Kaleb Cannon, Matthew Short and Mark Walker. Most unfortunately, we had lost our top boy, Tim Bodani, due to illness shortly before the weekend: this will definitely have affected our overall results.
This is Karen’s report on the weekend’s play.
The first match was with Lanarkshire, against whom we almost always have a close one – and so it proved. We began well, winning all 3 mixed matches with the pairings of Charlotte/James, Ellen/Matthew & Lucy/Jack. Both the girls and boys singles did not go so well and unfortunately we were unable to pick up a win. Kaleb got closest, losing 7-3 in the 3rd end of his singles. Northumberland then bounced back, winning 4 of the 6 games at level doubles. Ellen/Lucy had a very close game, coming through with a win in the 3rd end 7-3. Matthew/Dominic won 7-6 in the 3rd end of their match and Mark/Kaleb secured their first win for their county 15-13, 15-6. But it was not quite enough and Northumberland narrowly missed out on the match, losing to Lanarkshire 7-8.
Next match was against a very strong and experienced Yorkshire. Eve & Lucy managed to take their singles games to a 3rd end but were unable to secure wins. With no other wins recorded, apart from a conceded game from Yorkshire as they had only brought 5 boys, Northumberland had battled hard but lost 1-14.
The last match on Saturday was against Cumbria and, as with Lanark, this looked like being close. Northumberland again made a good start, securing wins in the mixed games from Amy/James, Merin/Matthew & Eve/Dominic. Charlotte, Lucy and Ellen all won their singles but Cumbria had stronger boys at singles. Northumberland picked up games in girls doubles, with wins from Charlotte/Amy and Ellen/Lucy. Eve/Merin were unlucky not to win their match, losing 13-15 & 10-15. In the boys doubles, there was a close game for James/Matthew who lost 13-15, 12-15, and special mention must go to Mark/Dominic who narrowly lost out 5-7 in the 3rd end of their match. However, Jack/Kaleb won their first match together 15-11, 15-14, to make the final score a very satisfying 9-6 win for Northumberland.
Sunday was always going to be a tough day for the team with Lothian and Cheshire always bringing strong teams.
The first match was against Lothian and saw some very close games with exciting rallies, but we were unable to secure a win until Ellen/Lucy played their doubles match. This was a very close, tense match with our girls coming through victorious 7-4 in the 3rd end. Lucy, who is still an under 12, had fought hard in her singles match, taking it into a tie-break decider, which she lost 3-7. Matthew/James got even closer in their doubles and were unlucky to lose 6-7 in the 3rd. The end result of 1-14 certainly did not reflect the standard of the games played.
The last match of the weekend was against a strong Cheshire, but this didn’t dampen our team’s spirits and they continued to play some good competitive games. The only win came from Ellen/Lucy in girls doubles, winning 15-13, 15-14, with all the team cheering them on. Unfortunately we lost a team member due to illness, so had to concede a game and the final score was 13.5 to 1.5 to Cheshire.
So that was the end of a very enjoyable weekend of badminton for the team, with some of them playing in disciplines that they weren’t familiar with, but they all played with lots of enthusiasm and supported each other throughout some very difficult games.
My thanks not only go to the team, but their parents for supporting them and also to Michael Walker, Anna Railton and Ellie Roberts who supported Joel and I, giving coaching advice and encouragement to the team. Very well done to them all!