This season’s Under 19 Anglo Scottish team event took place over the new-year weekend at the Tyneside Badminton Centre. There were three teams from north of the border (Lothian, Lanarkshire and West of Scotland), together with Cheshire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and ourselves. At the end of the two days’ play, Yorkshire emerged triumphant to take the trophy with Northumberland finishing sixth.
With several of our older and more experienced players unavailable over this holiday weekend, Northumberland had to bring in a number of younger players, some of whom only played on one of the days. The team was:
Anna Railton, Emily Harrison, Rebecca Oakley, Robyn Luckley, Sarah Bambrick, Sarah Wilson
Ashraf Alam, Anuj Gupta, Alex Jay, Matthew Jerdan, David Murray, Philip Pahatouridis, Jamie Tinnion, Daniel Wight
The first match was against Lanark and proved to be very close. In fact, there were 8 three-enders of which Northumberland won 6. Unfortunately, only Emily managed to win one of the two-enders with her 15-14, 15-7 singles win, so the overall match was lost 7-8. But this had been an encouraging start to the tournament. Of the younger players, SarahB made a big impact, partnering Anna to victory in girls doubles and Jamie in the mixed. There was a good singles win from Daniel.
Having come so close against Lanark, the next match with Cumbria appeared to be eminently winnable but the Cumbrians had surprising strength in depth, with 4 of their 5 third singles or doubles yielding wins for them. We got off to a bad start, losing all three mixed in two ends. SarahW, Emily and Ashraf got us back on track with good singles wins but Philip was off colour and lost his match somewhat surprisingly. We now needed to win 5 of the 6 level doubles – a pretty tall order. SarahB and Anna had another great three-end win, holding their nerve to take the decider 7-6: and then Philip and Ash did exactly the same. SarahW and Emily also took their game in three but the other doubles were lost in straightforward fashion. Cumbria took the match 9-6.
Next up for the last match on Saturday was the strong Yorkshire team. We did not get a lot of change here and the match was lost 2-13. There were only two three-enders, both of which were taken by Northumberland – SarahW and Ashraf at mixed and Anna at singles with another 7-6 in the third end.
Unfortunately, Jamie had aggravated a back problem in the last match and had to withdraw and with Anuj unavailable on the Sunday, a series of late-night calls were answered with the ever-reliable Matthew Jerdan stepping in for the last three matches. He brought a change of fortune with him as the match against West of Scotland yielded a 9-6 victory. Emily and Philip took their mixed and this was backed up with five singles wins from SarahW, Robyn, Anna, Ashraf and David. The level doubles were shared, giving Northumberland the overall victory.
Lothian was up next and they are always strong opponents. Although the match was lost 5-10, we competed well and the scoreline was perhaps a touch unfair. There was a good win for Emily and Philip at mixed and a strong performance from Ashraf at top singles, followed by two very closely-contested doubles wins from Emily & Anna and Ashraf & David. Anna at singles and Philip & Daniel just lost out in close three-enders. Over the course of the weekend Anna featured in seven three-enders, winning five of them: she will need a relaxing week!
The final game was against Cheshire who were fighting for a place among the medallists. Philip looked more like his usual self in scoring an excellent win in the top singles to follow up earlier wins by Emily in singles and Robyn & David in mixed. There were two good girls doubles wins from the SarahW & Robyn and Emily & Anna pairings but, although SarahB & Rebecca got close, the other level doubles could not turn the match around and Cheshire took it 5-10.
Despite the fact that we only scored the one win, County Coach Rob Wetherell was generally pleased with the overall performances, commenting in particular that it was good to see some of the younger ones getting some really good experience.