We recently held the first of our Northumberland BE junior circuit tournaments for the new season at the Tyneside Badminton Centre. Events were held for Under 19s and Under 15s, although a very disappointing entry for the younger age group meant that there were no girls or mixed events.
The strongest performance from “home” players at the Under 15s came from Ryan Cockett and Xuehan Zhang in the boys’ doubles. They won all three of their group matches, including against Durham pair Cameron Park and Matthew Ferguson, to move into the final where they faced top-seeds Suvir Muniyal and Thomas Steel from Leeds. The Yorkshire pair took the winners medals 21-15. In the singles, both Ryan and Xuehan won three of their four group matches but this was not quite enough to make it into the semi-finals. The overall winner was Cumbria’s Charlie Kemp, who beat Muniyal 21-14.
There was significant success for Northumberland’s squad players in the various Under 19 events with Charlotte Graham, in particular, taking two winner’s gold medals, partnering Amy Ward to win the girls’ doubles and Tim Bodani to take the mixed. The girls’ doubles saw Charlotte and Amy fighting hard with all three matches going the full length in three-enders. The crucial third match had them pitted against the top seeds from Cheshire and coming through 15-12, 10-15, 15-8, for an excellent win. In the mixed doubles Charlotte and Tim justified their top-seeding, taking their first two matches in straightforward fashion before facing a very tight decider against Honey Edmondson of Yorkshire and Cumbria’s Alex Dalton. The first end was lost to 9 before Charlotte and Tim fought back taking the last two close ends, both 16-14.
Tim and Alex also faced each other in the singles final – another close encounter which went to the Cumbrian 19-17, 15-12. There were a number of other strong performances from local boys in the singles group matches with James Dodd, Neil Shi, Jack Tilbury and Finlay Smith all recording wins. The girls’ singles was taken by Cheshire’s Stephanie Rowarth, after Amy and Charlotte had both scored a win in the group. The final event on the day was the boys’ doubles with three Northumberland pairs competing hard. Perhaps surprisingly, the best of them turned out to be Matthew Grant and Vikram Nayyar who scored three good wins: Tim and James took two and Finlay partnered Sonny Ho to take one. Matthew and Vikram got very close to taking the title before succumbing to the top seeds, Alex Dalton and Lancashire’s Tyler-Lee Allen: the scoreline of 15-7, 14-16, 15-12 reflected the effort put in by the local pair.