U15s final round robin shires match!

Leicestershire – V – Derbyshire U15 Badminton Match

You know what, it was so funny listening to Laura speaking to Jon, Jess’s dad, reminiscing when my Tom and her and Alan’s Tom played their first tournament in an U11 event, and they were affectionately known as Team Satnav! My how the time’s past and to an extent a lot has changed! What hasn’t changed is the nucleus of the team, except perhaps the addition of Hritika from Yorkshire, and Jess, the newly adopted baby of the team.

As the match progressed I looked along the bench on the fringes of the courts and the usual suspects were there supporting their fantastically well-round young adults; I can’t think of a better way to describe them. I watched with pride the graceful elegance of Jasmin, and the way Craig and Deb have brought up a sometimes quiet young lady, with an undercurrent of a wicked sense of humour, and the great partnership Jasmin’s built up with Tom C on court. Mind you, I think an eye should be kept on Jasmin’s malicious side as the first two points from their mixed doubles match was won with her smashing the shuttlecock in to her opponent’s bodies; the girl’s head and boy’s stomach!

Martin’s singles game was epic! I was watching Mark on courtside, and like all parents, it was as if he was playing every point with his son. I remember from days of old that Martin looked around at the parents for encouragement when points were lost, but now, oh boy, could he teach some a thing or two about self-motivation! His never give up attitude shown during this challenging game reaped its reward in the decisive third game where Martin came out with an emphatic 21-5 victory!

As always, Marcus was wearing his heart on his sleeve and played with all the passion and commitment we have been accustomed to! Chris and Sue proudly watched from the side-lines, with Marcus’ deft touches around the net and smart thinking, it saw the tough 22-20 first game victory quickly followed with a comfortable 21-8 win.

Dan’s spirited singles match was another that went to 3 games. With the conclusion of the three other games around him, it felt like Dan was on centre court in a championship. With Dan’s rock-star hair style, long limbs, and powerful smash, his opponent was not having an easy ride. Stuart, Dan’s dad, must ensure Dan’s hair is not cut before any play-off match as we would hate his Goliath strength and power to diminish, which saw Dan conclude with a singles win and therefore Leicestershire 12-0 up and the match sewn up. However, level doubles were still to follow.

As always, Eve’s demure size camouflages her heart! With exceptional play on court, she never gives up and after efficiently seeing off her opponents I wasn’t surprised to see Eve immediately throw her racket on to her kit bag and walk without haste to the other courts to encourage her compatriots in the remaining games. I’ll forgive Mitch for dropping me in it to writing this match report due to the fact he has brought such a natural leader in to the mix of this team.

Another diminutive player is Jess, and what she lacks in size she compensates for in bucket loads of tenacity and smart thinking! There are very few girls I’ve seen willing to dive across the court, but this demonstration of commitment and fight saw Jess successful in all disciplines, mixed and level doubles and singles.

I can’t not mention Hritika! Fantastic play, whether flying solo, or with a team member. No one scored more than 13 when Hritika was on court and the powerful smash, cross court drop shots and athleticism saw frustrated opponents struggling to deal her variety in the games. I also appreciated the offer of a sweet between games, thank you!

And then there’s Tom C! Another heart on sleeve player, and very accomplished. A tough start in the singles was rewarded with a win as Tom drew on all his resources in combat against a worthy opponent. The variety of shots and power was too hot to handle, in this game, and those to follow.

I suppose, before I finish, I should mention my Tom! So very often he’ll return from court, like today, and be hyper critical of his game. Another memory from years ago, Laura mentioned that I should try and control my emotions when court-side as it could affect Tom’s game if he sees me wince at a missed shot here, or smash in to the net there. Truth be told, the last shot is normally what Tom remembers, whether a winning or losing shot, but what Tom forgets is the multitude of fantastic shots to get to that final shot, whether good or bad.I have also missed a treat in praising him too, trying to control these emotions, and there were some ridiculously fantastic smashes, stretches and subtle shots around the net that he should remember too. Well played buddy, the boy donegood!!!

I recently read a football manager’s comments about the success of Leicester City Football Club, and an analogy was made that Leicester City is like the good lad in class, liked by all, and if their respective clubs don’t succeed in winning the Premiership, then they want Leicester to win. Well I’d like to think rather than being ‘liked’, which conjures up a luke warm nicety, Leicestershire U15 badminton team is RESPECTED by all who play them and the sense of team spirit, which has evolved and continued to develop, is the envy of all who play us!

I am proud to say that my son is a member of an amazing team, and county! We should all be proud!

Final result, Leicestershire 19, Derbyshire 1

Report written by Gary Lund

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