Gold Success for Lucy Dodd

Lucy has just had a successful weekend at the u17 Milton Keynes Gold, winning the girls doubles with partner Matilda Franklin (Notts). The girls were seeded 2 and comfortably won their group, which put them in the semi finals. After a slightly nervous start which led to a 21:18 first end loss in the semi final, they turned things round winning the next two ends 21:11 21:10.

In the final they played No 1 seeds Grace Sachdeva from Yorkshire and Brooke Stalker from Scotland, both regular winners on the Junior Gold circuit. After going 10:2 down at the start of the first end, Lucy and Matilda re-grouped and steadily chipped away at their opponents’ lead, before levelling at 19 all and then closing out a 21:19 win. As was to be expected Grace and Brooke came back fighting and won a close second end 21:17. In the third end Lucy and Matilda played well to get to 11:9 at the change and then pulled away, eventually claiming the end 21:16 and their first big win together.

In the singles Lucy came runner up in her Gold Star group, losing in 3 ends to a strong Irish player (Michelle Shocan) who was eventually runner-up in the singles.

In the mixed doubles Lucy and partner Dan Kemp from Cumbria had a tough draw, losing in 3 ends to a strong Irish pair for the second tournament in a row.

Very well done, Lucy!!!

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Sri Lankan Star excels

The Northumberland Senior Gold, part of the Badminton England Senior Gold Circuit, returned to the calendar for the first time since 2019. The first Gold event of 2022 attracted a bumper entry of 76, featuring many premiership players, particularly from Middlesex and Sussex. The leading light though had to be world ranked Sri Lankan Dinuka Karunaratne who emerged a double champion and barely put a foot wrong all weekend.

The men’s singles boasted 6 A grade players and 8 ranked in the top 50 in the country with top locals seeded, Philip Pahatouridis ‘3/4’ and Garrylee McMullen 5/8. The latter made the quarter final before losing to top seed Ben Muir from Hampshire in two tight sets 21-18, 21-17. Pahatouridis went one better in beating Yorkshire’s Jamie Bonsels in the quarter final in three sets before going down to second seed Adam Dolman in the semi in three.

Karunaratne had meanwhile made serene progress to the semi final from his 5/8 seeding, this due to insufficient English tournament results to give him a higher ranking, where he duly dispatched the top seed in straight sets, some of his retrieving leaving Muir shaking his head in disbelief. That combined with an immaculate length made him a cut above the field. The final followed a similar course with Adam Dolman also going down in straight sets.

The ladies’ singles should have been the tale of two Allens, the top seed Rosemary from Essex and second seed Jessica from Leicestershire. Aimee Whiteman from Wales had different ideas though, making the semi-final by beating ‘3/4’ seed Evelyn Yu and Scottish number 3 Basia Grodynska, both in 3 sets. There she met Rosemary Allen and, despite dropping the opening set, recovered to take that in three also.

Whiteman made a storming start to the final taking the opening set to 9 before Jessica Allen gradually worked her way back into the match to level at one set all. She managed to keep her nose in front throughout the decider, taking the win 21-18.

The men’s doubles provided a further showcase for Karunaratne’s talents where, as top seed with Robert Golding from Middlesex, he made the final without losing a set. Fellow Middlesex teammates Angus Pedersen and Wai Lok Poon also made the final having taken out second seeds Alex Marritt and Nathan Rossiter from Yorkshire en route but they could make little headway either which meant the Sri Lankan did not lose a set all weekend!

Rosemary Allen made up for her disappointment in the singles by taking the doubles. Partnered by Oxford’s Natalia Mitchell she made the final without the loss of a set and the final itself was to be no different as Katherine Arksey from Yorkshire and Sophie Watson form Leicestershire got close but went down 21-18, 21-19.

The mixed provided the closest contest with Pedersen and Zoe Hallam, also of Middlesex, just shading it against Rossiter and Arksey 21-16, 17-21, 25-23! This after Rossiter and Arksey had only just got he better of locals Philip Pahatouridis and Fay Andrews in an earlier round, 28-26 in the third.

An excellent standard throughout, it is to be hoped Northumberland can stage another Gold to start 2023.

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North East Badminton Newsletter

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3 Bronzes for Lucy at U15 Nationals

Buoyed up by her recent international selection, Lucy Dodd travelled down to Milton Keynes last weekend for the Under 15 Nationals and came back home with three bronze medals.  What a great performance!

In the girls’ singles, Lucy outperformed her 5/8 seeding level by winning her group and two more knockout games to reach the semi-final, where she lost 19 and 12 to the second seed, Grace Sachdeva, from Yorkshire.  With a relatively new partner in the level doubles, she was seeded at 3/4 but again made it to the semis, where she lost 12 and 15 to the eventual winners.  The mixed doubles event was played as a straight knockout.  Partnering Daniel Kemp from Cumbria, Lucy was again seeded to reach the semis and that was what she and Dan achieved, losing to the second seeds.

There had been a lot of matches to pack into the weekend, probably too many.  But what excellent results!  And on top of that, Lucy has been selected to go with the England team to the 8 Nations Team tournament at Nantes in France in mid-December.  The very best of luck!

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Local Success at Masters

After the hiatus caused by Covid last year, the Tyneside Badminton Centre hosted the 21st annual Northumberland Masters Tournament last weekend. Players came from counties as far afield as Somerset, Dorset, Avon, Kent and Essex and also from Scotland and Northern Ireland. Most Masters tournaments have been suffering withdrawals due to injury as players resume post the covid break and Northumberland’s was to be no exception with an original entry of some 112 players being whittled down to 92 in the end.

Alison Thompson and Daniel Mulholland won the Over50/Over55 mixed doubles but not without some battles along the way, notably in the semi-final against Alison’s brother Kevin Maughn now of Hertfordshire and Linda Riley of Yorkshire, when they just edged it 19-21, 21-14, 21-19. In the final they took on Ian Young from Northern Ireland and Cathie Warrener of Yorkshire and managed to keep their noses in front, virtually throughout, emerging victorious 21-18, 21-19.

Other local success came for Grahame Moscrop who, partnered by Val O’Neill from Avon, came runner-up in the Over70 mixed, losing out in the fina to top seeds Jim Garrett (Kent) and Angela Brown (Lancs). Support from the tournament ‘regulars’ was as good as ever, at least from those that were fit(!), however the worrying trend of the lack of younger entries continues with less than 10 under the over50 mark.

More to follow…

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Muriel champions the Masters

Congratulations to Muriel Burgess who was presented with the Walter Arkley award for her exceptional, long-standing contribution to Masters badminton in Northumberland, at the Northumberland Masters tournament last weekend. The award is presented in memory of Walter Arkley, a long-standing volunteer of NBA and presented in line with his passion for the sport, Masters, or Veteran’s badminton as it was previously known, being one of his passions.

The award was presented by Steve Abbott, Chairman of the Northumberland Competitive Play Board and tournament referee for the event.

Muriel has been running the Northumberland Masters tournament since the inaugural event at Stanley in 2000, where 80 players took part in over 40s to over 60s events. This year was therefore the 21st event and Muriel still runs it with the same enthusiasm as in the early days, encouraging players to enter and play. Age groups have now expanded to include all age groups from over 35s to over 75s. and this year’s tournament saw some 112 players enter from far and wide, including Northern Ireland, Scotland, Avon, Dorset, Essex, Kent and all points north!

Many people don’t realise how much effort and organisation it takes behind the scenes before an event to make these tournaments happen and this year was certainly no exception. The impact of Covid, with many players only recently returning to play getting injured, resulted in more withdrawals than usual and much re-planning of events, partnerships and orders of play ensued.

It was planned to present the award at the 2020 Northumberland Badminton Association presentation evening but like everything else in 2020 that never happened so it was thought fitting to present this to Muriel at the weekend when her masters friends from around the country would be playing in this year’s event.

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Garrylee & Philip at the double

The annual “Restricted” tournament, restricted in the sense that only those people qualified for Northumberland can enter, formed the ‘A’ grade of the opening graded tournament following lockdown and attracted some 65 entries in total across all the grades. It was expected to be a battle royal across the three disciplines between the county’s two leading men, Garrylee McMullen and Philip Pahatouridis, but that was thwarted as they chose to play together in the men’s doubles!

The singles produced the expected group winners with Philip, Garrylee and the fast-improving Jamie Tinnion all getting through without the loss of a set. James Dodd was to get through as the best runner-up, his reward being a semi-final against Garrylee which the defending champion duly got in straight sets. James should be proud of his efforts though with two wins in his group where his fighting spirit was much in evidence, especially in overcoming Matthew Grant 21-17, 26-24.

Philip took the early advantage in the final leading 11-5 at the first set interval and extending that to 16-11 and then 19-14. Back game Garrylee though to level at 19 all before an excellent cross-court winner helped Philip across the line at 21-19.

Garrylee had looked a bit out of sorts in the first set, not least because of Philip’s capacity to get around the head in his backhand corner and still maintain a good length but the second was a totally different story with Garrylee romping to a 7-0 lead which had become 11-2 by the interval. Now he was finding his length better and he dropped into his normal methodical, relatively fault free rhythm. Another run of points and the set was over quickly at 21-3. Was that loss partly strategic to let Philip gather himself for the third? If it was, the third did not start much better for him with Garrylee rapidly reaching an 8-2 lead before Philip pegged him back to a degree to trail 11-6 at the change of ends. That lead immediately stretched to 14-6 and there was no way back for Philip and Garrylee retained his title.

The mixed doubles final saw Garrylee paired with Lauren Young and Philip with Rachel Frobisher in a repeat of the last mixed final played in 2019. With all four players knowing each other’s games so well it was always going to be close but Philip and Rachel it was who managed to keep their noses ahead in both sets to gain revenge for their defat from that year.

The ladies’ doubles featured some of the matches of the day with all four pairs in the A/B group producing some really competitive play but it was to produce new champions in Lauren Young and Robyn Luckley. The highlight of the earlier games was Rachel Frobisher and Kate McGill, former champions both, although not together, emerging victorious over the county’s top two juniors in Ellen Davison and Lucy Dodd, the latter fresh from her England debut at U15 level. Kate and Rachel just edged the first 21-19 only for the youngsters to rally and take the second to 15. A close decider was forecast and it did not disappoint with Kate and Rachel holding on at the death to clinch it 22-20. That set up a great deciding match against Robyn and Loz but they, in turn, held on well to clinch it 21-18 in the third.

The group games of the men’s doubles produced three undefeated winners, all of whom did not lose a set. Ryan Jelley and Eddie Burgess as defending champions and number 1 seeds had the bye in the semi-finals which left the other semi-final between Philip and Garrylee and three times former winners Malcom Lightbown and Steve Swan, the first of those wins being as long ago as 2003! Youth was to overcome experience on this occasion with Philip and Garrylee taking it in two sets, despite a scare in the first which they only got 21-19.

The final was to see more of the same and try as they might, Ryan and Eddie could not make any serious headway although they were much closer in the second before being edged out 21-19.

Two wins each then for the big two and doubtless more battles to come in the future.

Full Results: –

Men’s Singles: – Garrylee McMullen beat Philip Pahatouridis 19-21, 21-3, 21-9

Men’s Doubles: – Garrylee McMullen & Philip Pahatouridis beat Eddie Burgess & Ryan Jelley

21-14, 21-19;

Ladies Doubles: – Robyn Luckley & Lauren Young beat Rachel Frobisher & Kate McGill

21-16, 19-21, 21-18; 

Mixed Doubles: – Philip Pahatouridis & Rachel Frobisher beat Garrylee McMullen & Lauren Young 21-18, 21-16.

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Unsung Heroes Award for Karen Davison

Sport Newcastle held its 2021 Awards Evening at the Eagles Basketball Arena this week and our own Karen Davison was one of the guests of honour to receive an Unsung Heroes award.

Karen was very embarrassed as the host, broadcaster Roger Tames, read out a list of her achievements – many years as the organiser for senior and junior badminton in the Morpeth and Ashington areas; £25k raised for local charities through her annual badminton marathons; organiser of No Strings sessions for social and older players; constant support provided for her players throughout the pandemic; team manager for our junior age-group teams; and Assistant Head Coach of our Performance Centre..

Karen with her well-earned trophy and supported by Richard Taylor, who had received the same award in 2012.

As well as Richard, Karen was joined at the evening by her husband Andy and our promising junior, her daughter Ellen, and they were all delighted to finish the evening talking sport with Ian Payne, one of Tyne Tees TV’s main sports reporters.

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At the weekend we saw the return of the Junior County Restricted Tournament after Covid restrictions meant that we had been unable to hold any competitive play for our Juniors over the last 18 months.  “Restricted” means that only players eligible to represent Northumberland can enter.  The Tournament was held at the Tyneside Badminton Centre.

On the Saturday, the U13 and U17 events were held and the U15 and U19 events took place on the Sunday.  Players were able to enter Singles/Doubles & Mixed in any of the age groups for which they were eligible.

U13 event – 11 players entered this age group, unfortunately there were no girls doubles event.  There were a few players for which this was their first outing in a competitive environment.  Full list of Winners and Runners-up is below:

U13 Girls Singles –   W – Sophie Cockett;   R/UP – Tanida Prapunwong

U13 Boys Singles – W – Aryan Kalluri; R/UP – Aniruddh Kalluri

U13 Boys Doubles – W – Aniruddh Kalluri/Aryan Kalluri; R/UP – Jack Atkinson/Dylan Jenkins

U13 Mixed Doubles – W – Tanida Prapunwong/Daniel Proctor; R/UP – Sophie Cockett/Dylan Jenkins

U17 Event – 17 players entered this age group, with a couple of players playing an age group up from their actual age.  Full list of Winners and Runners-up below:

U17 Girls Singles – W – Ellen Davison:  R/UP – Charlotte Graham

U17 Boys Singles – W – Xuehan Zhang; R/UP – Ben King

U17 Girls Doubles – W – Ellen Davison/Katrina Ho; R/UP – Charlotte Graham/Amy Ward

U17 Boys Doubles –  W – Jamie Grant/Jack Tilbury; R/UP – Ryan Cockett/Xuehan Zhang

U17 Mixed Doubles – W – Ellen Davison/Xuehan Zhang; R/UP – Charlotte Graham/Jack Tilbury

On the Sunday, it was the U15 and U19 events

U15 Event – 14 players entered this age group

Full list of Winners and Runners-up below:

U15 Girls Singles – W – Naomi Silva; R/UP – Chalida Prapunwong

U15 Boys Singles – W – Ryan Cockett; R/UP – Matthew Jefferson

U15 Girls Doubles – W – Sophie Cockett/Chalida Prapunwong; R/UP – Naomi Silva/Jasmine Osborne

U15 Boys Doubles – W – Ryan Cockett/Matthew Jefferson; R/UP – Jude Wisby/Aryan Kalluri

U15 Mixed Doubles – W – Ryan Cockett/Naomi Silva; R/UP – Sophie Cockett/Matthew Jefferson

U19 Event – 14 players entered this age group

Full list of Winners and Runners-up below:

U19 Girls Singles – W – Charlotte Graham; R/UP – Ellen Davison

U19 Boys Singles – W – Tim Bodani; R/UP – James Dodd

U19 Girls Doubles – W – Ellen Davison/Katrina Ho; R/UP – Charlotte Graham/Amy Ward

U19 Boys Doubles – W -Tim Bodani/James Dodd; R/UP – Matthew Short/Jack Tilbury

U19 Mixed Doubles – W – Tim Bodani/Charlotte Graham; R/UP – Ellen Davison/Tom Hunt

Well done to all players who competed over the weekend: it was great to see you all back on court after such an uncertain time for us all. 

Special mention must go to the 3 Northumberland players who won triple titles in their respective age groups; Tim Bodani at U19; Ellen Davison at U17; and Ryan Cockett at U15.  Fantastic achievement – they are all pictured below.

Thank you to Steve Abbott and Martin Fagan for running this Tournament and thanks also to Karen Davison and Daniel Tinnion for their supporting roles. 

We are now working towards Shires Matches and this weekend was great preparation for this. 

Well done everyone!!


Junior Successes

Several of our PC players were competing last weekend.  Congratulations to them all.

Lucy Dodd  made her England debut in the U15 Quadrangular in Scotland where England won the team event then Lucy also won the Girls’ Doubles (with partner Lucy Brierley from Derbyshire) and the Mixed Doubles (with partner Dan Kemp from Cumbria) in the individual events (see the earlier post for more details).

Ryan Cockett and Oliver Heron won silver medals in the boys doubles at the U15 BE Silver Tournament held at Tyneside Badminton Centre.

Ellen Davison, won 2 bronze medals in the girls singles and girls doubles (with her partner Molly Whittaker from Yorkshire) at the U17 BE Silver Tournament held in Warwickshire.

Xuehan Zhang and Jack Tilbury were runner up and winner respectively in the C graded event at the Senior Restricted Singles at Tyneside Badminton Centre.  Also competing in the Singles Tournament were Tim Bodani, James Dodd, Matthew Grant, Kaleb Cannon, and Jamie Grant. 

Very well done to them all – and to several others who played in these events but without winning trophies!!

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