The second round of junior age-group county championships took place in early December at Tyneside Badminton Centre. Many thanks to county treasurer Julie Brown for giving up her time to run the events.
The younger age group featured several players who were new to an event of this type – players who had come through the Northumberland Futures route or via the Super Series: it was good to see some new faces. The boys’ singles suffered two late drop-outs but was still played in two groups, which saw Ryan Cockett and Thomas Hewson move on to play each other in the final. The trophy was taken by Ryan 21-9, 21-11. The boys’ doubles was won by the Ponteland pairing of James and Luke Donnelly after a close win over the runners-up pairing of Ryan and Thomas Vicente.
Lucy Dodd, already successful on the national junior circuit, was not surprisingly the dominant player in the remaining events. Lucy won all her singles matches convincingly, with Katrina Ho as runner-up. The two of them then teamed up to take the girls’ doubles with a 21-10, 21-6 victory over Naomi Silva and Merin Cherian. The two singles winners, Lucy and Ryan, then won the mixed doubles event with a 21-6, 21-8 win over Naomi and Cameron Twynholm.
The Under 17s featured a very competitive boys’ singles event, with two groups of six players producing a number of excellent tussles. In group A, Neil Shi and Matthew Grant fought hard to score 4 and 3 wins respectively, but it was top seed Melvin Cherian who came through undefeated. Group B was particularly tight. Finlay Smith was especially unlucky, with three wins but two losses, both to 20 against Andrew Liang and Arif Alam. In the end, Finlay, Arif and Vikram Nayyar all scored three wins but the group win was taken by the undefeated Andrew. The final was a fine close match taken 21-19, 21-16 by Melvin.
Five pairs contested the boys’ doubles which went to Arif and Melvin, who were undefeated. The runners-up were Andrew and Neil. The mixed doubles produced what was probably a surprising result with Charlotte Graham and Finlay Smith scoring a 21-17, 24-22 win over Rachel Bogan and Vikram Nayyar. Rachel took the girls singles by 21-8, 21-13 over Charlotte.
Very well done to them all.