Northumberland held a big weekend of junior badminton recently with tournaments on the Badminton England circuit across four age groups. The Under 15 Silver was the best attended and most competitive of the events, with entrants from Scotland, Wales, the whole of the North of England and as far south as Leicestershire. The host county was very well represented with 15 players, most of whom are members of the Northumberland Performance Centre: they produced some encouraging results but only came away with bronze medals from the doubles.
Two of these went to the mixed pairing of Anna Railton and George Moran, who scored two good wins to take their group. There was a particularly good victory over Scottish junior pair of Erin Waddell and Calum Flockhart, 10-15, 16-14, 15-7. This took them into a semi-final against Yorkshire’s Jasmine Lidster and Harry Walker: another close match just went 15-8, 14-16, 15-10 to the Tykes and it was they who went on to win the final against the Cheshire/Lincolnshire pairing of Annabelle Bellis and Ryan Curtis.
Lidster also took the girls singles after a close final match against top seed Bellis. There were good showings by several Northumberland girls in the group rounds. Sarah Bambrick had two good wins but went down to Bellis. Anna was particularly unlucky, having had two wins in her group, to lose out on points after a three-way tie. The Cheshire pair of Bellis and Katelyn Harrington took the girls doubles final after a straight-sets win over Lidster and Katherine Arksey of Yorkshire.
There was a strong Scottish presence in the boys Under 15 events, where local players found the going tough. Andrew Hogg, Melvin Cherian and George Moran all won two of their three group matches. Andrew got very close to winning his group but just lost the crucial match to Calum Flockhart from Glasgow 13-15, 15-13, 13-15. George’s group produced another three-way tie but he too just lost out on points. The gold medal went to Scotland’s Alex McGarrie after a fine 15-11, 15-12 win over Nathan Hale from Yorkshire. Hale got some revenge later when he partnered Leicester’s Martin Beynon to victory in the boys’ doubles and it was in this event that Northumberland’s other bronze medal came for Andrew Liang. Playing as a scratch pairing with Cumbria’s Finlay Meek, they had taken their group comfortably without losing an end but then lost their semi-final 15-8, 15-6 to the eventual winners.
The Under 11 event brought players from all over the country but suffered from several late withdrawals and only ended up with 17 players. There was only limited success for the two local girls who were playing. Amy Ward scored two wins in her group to go forward into the top-half knockout competition, where she lost 11-7, 11-8 to second seed Megan Tweed of Warwickshire. Charlotte Graham went into the Consolation knockout but here she scored a good 13-11, 11-9 win over another Warwickshire girl before losing that final 11-6, 11-9 to Yorkshire’s Lucy Walker. But the medal won here will prove a great encouragement to Charlotte, who is now determined to achieve more. The gold medal in the main girls’ singles went to Stephanie Rowarth of Cheshire and the boys’ singles went to the very impressive Fred Robertson from Yorkshire.
The whole tournament weekend was organised by Richard Taylor, who was very capably assisted on the day by Jim Smith and Geoff Bedford. Thanks also to the various volunteers who helped out with scores, raffles etc – Lizzie and Mark Jerdan, Alison Sharp, Jane Oxnard-Jay, Ellie Roberts and Daniel Robinson.