The second round in the North Midway Under 14 took place in Sheffield on Sunday 8th February.  Christine Railton very kindly “volunteered” to look after the team and her report is set out below.  The team finished 8th on the day, of the 10 teams competing and the overall result based on the two rounds saw us in 8th place. North Midway Under 14 – Sheffield

Boys: George Moran, Gabriel Rodda , Melvin Cherian and Andrew Liang
Girls: Anna Railton, Sarah Bambrick, Rachel Bogan and Abby Grogan
Richard Taylor organised the event and Christine Railton managed the team for the second leg of this Under 14 competition.
It was again a challenging day with some excellent badminton being played by our team in the face of some very tough teams and the overall scores do not adequately reflect how close many of the games were and their outcomes. All the players dug deep and played very competitively and as always were a credit to Northumberland for their sporting behaviour.
There were 10 County Teams: York’s 1 and 2, Warwickshire, Leicestershire 1 and 2, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Cheshire and Northumberland.
We were drawn in Group B which was also made up of Yorkshire 1, Lancashire, Leicestershire 2 and Warwickshire.
Each game was one end to 21.

Northumberland V Lancashire: Lost 3-7
Lancashire got off to the better start winning the first two games of mixed. Anna gave a strong performance winning her singles 21-9. George and Melvin played a very tight game and served for the game but unfortunately just lost 20-21. Rachel and Abby’s score of 15-21 doesn’t reflect how well they played and they made Lancashire play for every point. Andrew and Gabriel played very well together to bring us another game of 21-15. Anna and Sarah also played well and secured a third game winning 21-16.

Northumberland V Yorkshire 1: Lost 2-8
Yorkshire 1 was always going to be a very difficult match but Northumberland showed true determination and the scorelines were very respectable. George played a difficult singles game that included several very long rallies but eventually lost 10-21. Sarah played a challenging singles game against a strong Jessica Robinson from Yorkshire 1 but lost with a very respectable scoreline of 15-21. We had a fantastic performance from Andrew and Rachel who came back from 13 down to WIN the game 21-20! Boys doubles were so close with George and Melvin having a tough game and a couple of brilliant drop shots from Melvin secured another win 21-19. Unfortunately Andrew and Gabriel fought valiantly with some great shots but eventually lost 20-21. Rachel showed her determination after being hit in the eye with a shuttle during girls doubles: she carried on to the end of the game with Abby but went down 15-21.

Northumberland V Warwickshire: WON 5-5 (points 183-174)
Warwickshire were one of the favourites and it could have gone either way as some of the scores were very close. Northumberland girls doubles pairs played very strong games, Anna and Sarah winning 21-16 and Rachel and Abby winning well with a score of 21-12 with Abby playing some lovely shots. Rachel played an extremely difficult singles game against a very strong player and played some fantastic shots but lost 8-21 which does not reflect the level of play from Rachel (a fact commented on by the Warwicks coach!). Gabriel played an exceptional game of singles digging deep but just lost out 20-21 before coming back strongly in the doubles with Andrew , winning 21-13 after some great shots from Andrew. The mixed doubles pairings were successful with Sarah and Melvin delivering a great victory 21-13 with George and Anna completing the success with a win 21-15.

Northumberland V Leicestershire 2 Lost 4-6
Northumberland were fired up after their win against Warwicks. Andrew and Abby played well together and were unlucky to lose the game 19-21. Anna continued with a fine win in singles 21-12. Sarah fought hard in her singles game and played some excellent shots but lost 13-21. Sarah came back with Anna playing well together again for a great doubles victory 21-10. In boys singles George played a fantastic game to win 21-12. George and Melvin played very competitive doubles with Melvin playing some great shots and were unlucky to lose to 19. Andrew and Gabriel demonstrated good teamwork and delivered a strong victory of 21-16.

My mantra of ‘points make prizes’ paid off when, even though we had lost to Leicestershire 2, we pipped them to 4th place in the group! Go Northumberland!!
This meant that in the second section of crossover matches between the two groups, we took on Staffordshire in our final match of the day.

Northumberland v Staffordshire: Lost 4-6
This was a very disjointed match with Staffs forfeiting a girls singles and girls doubles game part way through the match due to illness. Unfortunately this meant that Sarah was unable to play in the match, which she accepted in true sporting fashion. (Thank you Sarah!). All the remaining games were hard fought but unfortunately we just couldn’t get the win. Andrew and Gabriel giving the strongest performance of the match winning 21-9. Melvin and Rachel were extremely unlucky after fighting hard they just lost 20-21. On the other hand Andrew and Abby continued to play well as a pair and delivered another victory 21-16.

The whole team are a credit to Northumberland showing grit and determination, never giving up and going for every point!
Well done to all and thanks for all your efforts and to Richard for making sure I didn’t break any rules when managing the team.

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