The Under 20 round of our Anglo-Scottish Team Tournaments (for 2000 births and later) was played last weekend at the Tyneside Badminton Centre. The team managed by Karen Davison was: Anna Railton; Sarah Bambrick; Lexie Howard; Abby Grogan; Charlotte Graham; Ellen Davison; Jamie Tinnion; George Moran; Melvin Cherian; Alex Jay; Arif Alam; Jack Thorpe; and Neil Shi.
The number of teams entering this year was a littke disappointing: nevertheless Lothian, Lanarkshire and Cumbria provided really good competition. Northumberland were short of girls for this age group so Charlotte and Ellen, both still 13 years old, kindly stepped in to play with teammates some of whom were 5 years their senior!
The first match of the day was against a very strong and experienced Lothian, with some of their team being high up in the Scottish rankings. Partnerships of Melvin/Sarah; George/Charlotte & Jack/Ellen played well with some well-constructed mixed rallies. George/Charlotte managed to win their exciting match 21-19, 21-20. Going into the girls’ singles of Anna, Lexie & Abby, all scoring high with Lexie pushing her match to a 3rd end losing to 12. The boys’ singles provided the spectators with a fantastic, very tight match with Jamie playing Lothian’s highly-ranked number one Michael Farnood and pushing him to a 3rd end before narrowly losing out 15-14 in the tie-break third end. This match was a personal best for Jamie as on previous encounters he had never managed to take an end off Michael. Neil scored a fine win in his singles. In the girls’ doubles, our partnerships of Anna/Sarah, Lexi/Abby & Ellen/Charlotte all scored high teens but were unable to take an end from this experienced side. The boys’ doubles partnerships of Jamie/George, Melvin/Arif & Jack/Alex again all scored high teens against their strong opponents but were unable to find the win.
Final score Northumberland 2 – Lothian 13 (but this result certainly didn’t reflect the standard of all the games played)
The second match was against Lanarkshire and saw the tables turn completely. The team was mostly the same as the previous match with only a couple of changes to accommodate the 7 boys. Northumberland took all 3 mixed matches and all 3 girls’ singles matches with some ease. In the boys’ singles Jamie won his match, Jack and Neil were unable to find the win even though Jack’s match was a very close 3 ender. Our girls dominated the doubles winning all games, with no end going above 12. Our boys’ doubles were strong and won all matches in 2 ends.
Final score – Northumberland 13 – Lanarkshire 2
The last match of the day was against Cumbria. The team was changed slightly giving some of girls who had only played singles so far a chance to play mixed. The mixed partnerships were George/Lexie; Melvin/Sarah (gaining practice for forthcoming ICT) and Jack/Anna. All partnerships were successful in gaining the maximum 3 points. The girls singles had Abby, Charlotte and Ellen playing. Abby was unable to beat their strong number 1 seed and most unfortunately Charlotte went over on her ankle in the second end and had to withdraw from the match. Ellen played a very close and tactical game, coming through triumphantly to win the 3rd end to 11. In the boys’ singles, Jamie won his close and very competitive match 21-20 & 21-19. Alex managed to push his to a 3rd end but was very unlucky not to find the win and Neil fought for the 3rd end but lost to 20 in the 2nd. Girls doubles – with Charlotte having to withdraw, Northumberland conceded this game to Cumbria, but Anna/Sarah made light work of their doubles match and Lexie/Ellen won theirs in 2 ends. Jamie/George were pushed to a 3rd end in their level doubles, but managed to win to 11; Melvin/Arif won theirs in 2 ends. Cumbria had only brought 5 boys, so the 3rd boys’ doubles match was conceded to Northumberland.
Final Score was Northumberland 10 – Cumbria 5 and this put us into 2nd plave overall behind Lothian.
This had been a fantastic team performance, with lots of tight, competitive games. Our younger players coped incredibly well against their older, more experienced opponents, so special mention should go to Charlotte & Ellen for playing this higher age group. All of the team play and represent senior clubs in the leagues with Riverside, St Gabriels, Elmfield and Bewicke benefitting from our talented juniors. Well done to the team!