Volunteers finally receive their awards

Two recipients of NBA Volunteer Awards, who were unable to attend the end of season presentation evening, received their trophies during the recent Junior Presentation Event. Ian Little of Yehlex UK, who provided the trophies kindly came along to present them to NBA Junior Coordinator Richard Taylor and to Carolyn Jackson, long-standing member and administrator of Jesmond Dene BC.

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The first team entered the final weekend of the Senior County Championships proudly atop of Division 2 North but knowing they would have to play well to maintain their 3 point lead over Lanarkshire, especially as they had to play the 3rd and 4th placed teams in Cheshire 2 and Lancashire 2 respectively on the Saturday, whilst the Scots were only up against the bottom two sides Lancashire 3 and Cumbria. Second place would be good enough for promotion but sights were set on the title. With various people unavailable, Aphrodite Christodoulou was drafted in from the second team and Richie Eaton played for the first time this season.

Garrylee McMullen got on the scoreboard first, defeating ex-Newcastle University student Josh Au Yeung in two sets. Rich followed that up with his own straight sets win and Aphro did well to take her match in three sets 24-22, 17-21, 21-18. Despite both taking a set, Philip Pahatouridis and Catherine Thomas couldn’t add to the tally but they nevertheless led 3-2 going into the doubles.

The men’s were shared, with Ryan Jelley and Philip winning, to maintain the lead at 4-3 and an excellent three set win from Eleanor Laws and Catherine, 21-19 in the third, also saw the women’s shared, the lead now 5-4 with just one mixed for the match victory.

Both Ryan and Lucy Dixon, and Richie and Eleanor, took their opening sets before, in turn, being pegged back to one set all. The deciding sets were really tight but Ryan and Lucy just got over the line 21-19 whereas Richie and Eleanor just missed out by the same score.

6-5 then, the victory preserving their unbeaten run for the season and keeping Cheshire 2 behind them but Lanarkshire had meanwhile beaten Lancashire 3 9-2, to make them level on 37 points.

The afternoon started well against Lancashire 2 with both Philip and Garrylee winning in straight sets. Richie then took his singles comfortably, 21-9 in the third, and another win from Aphro in two tight sets 22-20, 21-19 meant a 4-1 lead after the singles.

Ryan and Phil won in two at top string but Garrylee and Richie lost out in 3 sets and with the top string ladies lost, Lancashire were still in it at 5-3. Ryan and Aphro had meanwhile lost their opening set but rallied strongly to take the second to 12 and, crucially, the decider 21-17. Another match win at 6-3 but both mixed vital in the race to get ahead of Lanarkshire for the title.

Ryan and Lucy took their opener but Philip and Eleanor lost theirs, only to come back and just edge their second set 21-19. Meanwhile, Ryan and Lucy maintained control to take their second set to 16 for 7-3 and 8-3 duly arrived as Philip and Eleanor held on well to take their third set 21-18. Jubilation was tempered though with the news that Lanarkshire had beaten bottom county Cumbria 10-1 to take the lead by two points. Lothian had also had a good day taking 17 points from their two fixtures to move into third place on 42, only 3 behind, so all still to play for in the final matches on Sunday morning.

This time Lanarkshire had the stiffer test against Cheshire 2, as too did Lothian against Lancashire 2, whilst North were to finish their campaign against seventh placed Lancashire 3. With Lucy and Aphro missing on Sunday, Rachel Frobisher and Lauren Young were drafted in, fresh from their exploits with the second team the previous day, having won the Division 4 North title.

Philip and Garrylee again won in straight sets in the singles and, with Catherine victorious at top string, coming from a set down to win 21-23, 21-16, 21-13, the lead stood at 3-1 with Lauren venturing onto a singles court for the first time for the county. Having been thrown in at the deep end she did the county proud winning 21-18, 21-13 to increase the lead still further.

Ryan and Philip started slowly at top string in the men’s doubles but came back strongly to take their second set 21-19 for one set all. Garrylee and Richie did a mirror image of that, winning their first and then being edged out 21-18 in the second. Both deciders were nip and tuck with all four knowing that a 6-1 lead was on the cards. It was not to be but only by the narrowest of margins, Ryan and Philip going down 23-21 to Northumberland ex-pat Andy Fowler and Joe Steele, and Garrylee and Richie also agonisingly close at 21-19.

The lead kept at 4-3 but their unbeaten record under pressure, let alone the points needed to best Lanarkshire. Rachel and Loz were competitive throughout but went down 22-20, 21-18 for 4-all that left much depending on Elle and Cat. They had taken their opener 21-18 but were just edged out when in sight of victory, 21-19 in the second. Stung by that reverse they quickly established a lead and ran out easy winners 21-10 in the third.

5-4 then and one mixed needed for an unbeaten season. Both pairs won their opening sets, Garrylee and Rachel with little to spare at 22-20 but they went on to take their second set 21-15 to clinch victory. Ryan and Eleanor had meanwhile been pegged back by Fowler and Emily Miller 21-17 in the second but Ryan was determined to get revenge for his men’s, and he and Elle rallied to take the deciding set by the same score. That made it 5 wins out of 6 for Ryan over the weekend.

The unbeaten season preserved with the final score 7-4 but the news that Lanarkshire had won by the same score meant that the title had gone north of the border. Lothian had lost to Lancashire 2 though, also by 7-4, so North finished second two points behind but 6 clear of Lothian in third. The result means promotion to Division 1 North, the highest they have been for a number of years.

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The final Saturday of the Senior County Championships saw the second team host league leaders Lancashire 4 and Durham 2 at the Tyneside Badminton Centre. With a number of players unavailable, and with Aphrodite Christodoulou playing for the first team, they were indebted to Emily Ogden and Newcastle University students Alex Berry and Lexie Howard for filling in. Being 8 points behind leaders Lancashire 4, hopes of winning Division 4 North were not high but a second-place finish would be sufficient for promotion and they were only 2 points behind second placed Cumbria.

Rex Lee soon had North on the scoreboard winning in two sets at top string and Dome Nganpairoj backed that up, just doing enough to win 22-20, 21-19. Jamie Tinnion soon made it 3-0 and that set the tone for the remainder of the match. Lancashire 4 were weakened by their higher teams having to call on some of their players, so much so that they were a lady down which gifted two points to North.

Rex and Yap Yi Xuan just edged their opening set and then took the second comfortably before Ian McGough and Kyle Smith also won in two sets. A straight set win from Rachel Frobisher and Lauren Young clinched the match and overhauling Lancashire was becoming a real possibility.

8-1 up going into the mixed and both needed to bridge the gap! Both pairs duly obliged with Kyle and Rachel, and Ian and Lauren, comfortable winners in two sets. Cumbria 2 meanwhile had also won against Durham 2, but only 8-3 and therefore it was neck and neck for the title with both on 30 points.

The afternoon started well with all 3 men victorious in the singles and, although Holly Robson got Durham on the scoreboard, Emily Ogden’s court coverage proved superior at second string and she triumphed 21-12, 21-19 to make the match lead 4-1. Cumbria meanwhile were 3-2 up against Lancashire after the singles so they were also ahead in the tile race, if only by one!

Ian and Kyle took their men’s in two and, after being pegged back to a set all, Rex and Yap re-established control to take their decider 21-12 to take the lead to 6-1. Cumbria having shared their men’s doubles, were ahead 4-3, the lead in the title race now two!

Alex and Lexie took their ladies in some comfort and meanwhile the top string ladies was proving to be the game of the day. Rachel and Loz took the opening set against Holly and Jessica Moore only to lose the second. The decider was close all the way with neither pair gaining control but, after many changes of lead, it was Durham who led crucially at the end to take it 21-19. The lead now 7-2 but Cumbria had meanwhile shared their ladies’ doubles to lead 5-4 so just one mixed was needed to guarantee the title.

Ian and Loz started well at second mixed taking their opening set 21-13 but Kyle and Rachel were just edged out 22-20. Back they came to take their second set easily to 10 to set up a decider. Ian and Loz had meanwhile put the issue beyond doubt, taking their second set, again by 21-13, which just left the cake to be iced which Kyle and Rachel duly did taking their deciding set 21-18 for a final score of 9-2. Cumbria had meanwhile taken both their mixed to win 7-4 but all to no avail leaving the second team champions of Division 4 North on 39 points and Cumbria 2 second on 37.

So what had seemed unlikely at the start of the day due to the 8 point deficit ended in promotion to Division 3 North. It will be a step up, the last time we made it we came straight back down, so the challenge is clear for next season.

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Junior Presentations

The County Junior Squads held their annual presentation “do” yesterday at TBC.  This was preceded by 90 minutes of fun games of badminton, table tennis and the new sport (to most of them) pickleball.  It was good to see many parents joining in too.

After two special volunteer presentations (reported elsewhere), Martin Fagan presented a number of certificates to players who had successfully completed the Junior Leaders course that he had ran recently.  Well done to those involved! 

County Chairman Dennis Gray, together with Richard Taylor, then presented certificates to players who had represented the county in matches through the season – there were some 60 in total, although they could not all be present.  This was followed by the presentation of the engraved cups and shields for the various junior restricted tournaments that were held early in the season.

Junior county colours were then presented as follows:-

Half Colours to Amy Ward, Charlotte Graham, Dominic Wilson-Baker, Ellen Davison, Finlay Smith, James Dodd, Lucy Dodd, Mark Walker, Matthew Short, Natalie Ho, and Tim Bodani.

Full Colours to Arif Alam, Melvin Cherian and Vikram Nayyar.

To round off the afternoon, Dennis presented the Bob Forster Salver for the “Most Promising Boy” to Melvin Cherian.  Unfortunately, it had been decided not to make an award for the girls for the season.

Very well done to them all!

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Well Done to the Under 13s at Largs

At the end of May, Northumberland’s Under 13 badminton team travelled to the Sportscotland National Sports Training Centre Inverclyde at Largs, on the Ayrshire coast, to compete in the annual Anglo-Scottish Tournament. This brings together eight teams from northern England and all over Scotland in an exciting weekend of badminton. Continue reading

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Local Success Stories

Two local players, Lucy Dodd and Will Smith, have achieved excellent personal successes in the last month in their respective tournaments.

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Northumberland Badminton Association Volunteer Awards 2019

The 2019 Northumberland Badminton Association Presentation Evening took place on Saturday 18th May at The Northumberland Club with over 100 attendees from various clubs across the county.

As usual, the NBA Volunteer Awards (donated by Ian Little from Yehlex) were awarded, with three nominees receiving these awards for their dedication and commitment to their respective clubs or the County Association over a number of years as well as the first recipient of the new Walter Arkley award being presented.

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Recently, 3 school teams from Gosforth, Ponteland and Cramlington competed in Milton Keynes in the National Finals of the National Schools Badminton Championships.  Here is how they fared:

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Bronze for Lucy Dodd at the Under 13 Nationals

Northumberland’s promising junior Lucy Dodd from Ponteland made her second trip to the English National Badminton Championships recently – and came back with a bronze medal. Continue reading

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The Under 18 ICT – Full Report

Easter is approaching and it must soon be time for the ICT, that annual pilgrimage to Nottingham University in search of the elusive trophy that our area has only won once, back in 1987.  We had no realistic hopes of such success again this year but the team headed down there to build on all the work done at the Performance Centre – and to have a good end-of-season experience. Continue reading

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