On 8th and 9th February, our Under 14 team braved Storm Ciara and travelled down to the Midlands to play three Shires League matches in a single weekend. The team was Chalida Prapunwong, Jasmine Osborn, Reema Rajeev, Sophie Cockett, Matthew Jefferson, Oliver Heron, Ryan Cockett and Thomas Vicente.
The team was managed by Gillian Cockett and this is her report.
The first match of the weekend was played on Saturday afternoon in Mansfield against Nottinghamshire. The Northumberland team got off to a slow start, as Nottinghamshire took all four of the mixed games, but then gained their first wins in the boys’ singles. Ryan was able to overpower his opponent 21-4, 21-15, while Oliver had to work hard to win his singles 17-21, 21-9, 21-16 in an excellent game. Matthew came very close in each of his games, but lost 19-21, 18-21. Thomas also got good scores but lost 19-21, 14-21. The girls struggled against the stronger Nottinghamshire girls and didn’t manage to win any of their singles but all were competitive and got good scores. In the boys’ doubles, Ryan and Oliver easily won both their games, and Reema and Chalida secured a good win against the second Nottinghamshire pair 21-18, 21-18. In the end, Northumberland lost the match 15-5, but all of the team played well and got some very respectable scores against good standard opponents.
After a good night’s sleep, Northumberland played an extremely strong Leicestershire team on a wet and windy Sunday morning in Leicester. Across all of the team, but particularly the girls, the Leicestershire players were far more experienced than the Northumberland players, so Northumberland were going to have to play amazingly well to secure any victories. Despite this, the team never gave up and played some really high standard badminton. Oliver and Chalida had a nail-bitingly close game against the second mixed doubles pair, eventually losing 15-21, 21-23. Oliver had another close game in his singles, again losing 15-21, 21-23. Ryan and Oliver came close to taking a game off the first boys doubles pair, eventually losing 20-22, 16-21 but were victorious against the second pair 16-21, 21-13, 23-21 in an exciting game. The final score was 19-1, but the team did really well to keep on fighting for every point in what was a very tough match for them.
Whilst storm Ciara was raging outside, the Northumberland team played their third county match of the weekend against Derbyshire. Thankfully, the Northumberland team still had energy in their legs for one final match which got off to an excellent start with wins in all of the mixed doubles matches. Ryan and Reema had to work hard to beat the first pair 21-17, 18-21, 21-12; Matthew and Sophie also had a close game but managed to win 21-16, 19-21, 21-19; Oliver and Chalida had a more comfortable victory 22-20, 21-11, and Thomas and Jasmine showed their fighting spirit to beat the fourth pair, 21-8, 20-22, 21-15. All of the Northumberland boys were then able to comfortably win their singles matches. Sophie secured her first singles win of the weekend, beating her opponent with confidence, 21-12, 21-9. Jasmine fought really hard against the fourth girl, eventually losing 17-21, 16-21 in what was an exciting match. The Northumberland boys again outplayed the Derbyshire boys in the doubles, taking all four games, Matthew and Thomas showed their determination to win when beating the second boys’ doubles pair, 15-21, 21-15, 22-20. The final score was a confident 16-4 victory to Northumberland, which was an excellent finish to a long and tiring weekend of high standard badminton.
Very well done to the whole team who all scored good wins over the weekend and many thanks also to the support team of parents who travelled with them. This was the first time that we have attempted a triple-header weekend like this and the fact that they all want to do it agan soon is testament to its success.