On Sunday 15th December, the Northumberland Under 14 team travelled down to Pontefract to play against the Under 14 Yorkshire second team. The Northumberland team were: Jasmine Osborn, Naomi Silva, Reema Rajeev, Sophie Cockett, Mathew Jefferson, Oliver Heron, Ryan Cockett and Thomas Vicente.
This is team manager Gillian Cockett’s report on the day.
The mixed doubles were the first matches to be played, and Ryan and Naomi were able to use their strength and experience to secure a comfortable win 21-14, 21-12. All other Northumberland pairs struggled against stronger Yorkshire pairings, although Thomas and Jasmine narrowly lost out 14-21, 26-24, 19-21 in a super-exciting match which could easily have gone the other way. The game was an excellent introduction to county badminton for Jasmine who was playing in her first competitive match: she didn’t show her nerves at all and was well supported by Thomas.
The next rounds of games were the boys’ singles and once again Ryan was able to win comfortably 21-15, 21-16. Oliver, at only 10 years old, was very competitive throughout his match against a boy two years older than him, losing to 10 and 17. Matthew also got good scores and played well but lost to a stronger opponent, 12-21, 16-21. Thomas‘s determination to win paid off as he managed to secure an important victory in a very close game, 21-18, 11-21, 21-7, which left Northumberland trailing Yorkshire 5-3.
The girls’ singles were tough for the Northumberland girls. Naomi, Reema and Sophie all battled hard but lost in straight sets with the only victory coming from the newcomer to the team, Jasmine who was able to beat her opponent 21-16, 21-18 in an exciting game.
In the boys’ doubles, Yorkshire separated their two strongest boys so that each pair had one stronger and one weaker boy. Northumberland’s first pair, Ryan and Oliver, was able to take advantage of this and beat both boys’ doubles pairs, although they had to work hard to win the second end of one of the games 22-20. Both of Matthew and Thomas’ boys’ doubles games were close, and they did well against the top pair, losing both ends to 18.
Going into the girls doubles matches, Yorkshire were winning 10-6 and Northumberland would have to win all four games to draw the match. Unfortunately, the Yorkshire girls were too strong for us and only Naomi and Reema were able to come close to winning against the weaker of the two Yorkshire pairs: they worked well together, but lost a nail- bitingly close game 16-21, 21-15, 22-24 to give an overall match score of 14-6 to Yorkshire.
This Northumberland team contained several younger or less experienced players, some as young as 10 years old, but they are all gaining valuable experience playing against strong opposition and show great promise for the future of Northumberland badminton.