Next weekend, The Parks Leisure Centre in North Shields is the venue for one of the major junior badminton tournaments in the UK. The Northumberland Under 19 Open Tournament, which has many present and past senior international players as past winners, has attracted around 70 top players from England, Scotland and Sweden. Play actually begins on Friday 2nd November at around 10. 30 am with 4 teams representing England, Scotland, and two Swedish Badminton Academies from Malmo and Stockholm doing battle to see who can win the International Team Event trophy. Play should last until around 4.30 pm with a lunch break around noon. Scotland will be out to repeat their victory of last year.
The Individual Tournament will start at 9.30 am on Saturday 3rd November with the Boys Singles which has a very good entry. This will be followed by the Girls Singles, Boys and Girls Doubles and Mixed Doubles, with play continuing until the early evening. The Semi-finals will start at 9.30 on Sunday morning, with the Finals expected to start around noon and to finish by about 3 pm. Councillor Frank Lott, Chair of North Tyneside Council, and Councillor George Westwater, will be presenting the trophies to the winners.
Local interest centres on Finn Connor-Watson from Durham and Ira Banerjee, who until last September lived in Newcastle and represented Northumberland. Ira and her Girls Doubles partner Jessica Pugh from Shropshire, are one of the top Girls Doubles pairs in Europe for their age group: despite being only 15 and playing against older opposition, they should perform very well at The Parks and have a good chance of winning. There is no charge for spectators who will be very welcome on all 3 days.
This is a rare opportunity to see some of the badminton stars of the future playing in North Shields!!