Friday 1st July saw the great and the good of Leicestershire’s junior badminton talent gather with their families to celebrate another fantastic season. This year saw a change of venue with the event being held at Hugglescote Social Club.
As well as the Team Managers’ speeches informing how their teams had fared in the year gone by, players were presented with certificates and county colours. The presentation evening also sees the annual awarding of a number of special trophies including:-
The Appleton Trophy which is presented by the Appleton family in the name of their son Garrick who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident a number of years ago and it is to be awarded to “The Most Outstanding Player of the Season” as decided by the committee. This year the award was given to Zoe King.
The Colin Kent Trophy is to be presented to someone who the committee had decided had given “Outstanding Service to Leicestershire Schools Badminton”. This year the trophy was awarded to Neil Cooper who is stepping down from the coaching team after many years’ service to Leicestershire’s young badminton players.
With the serious business completed, it was time for the players to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. The newly formed social committee of Natalie, Liz and Alaina had organised a fantastic spread and raffle, which was ably compered by Mitch Dale. But the highlight of the evening was the live band, featuring our very own Ben Pullen and Dan Youngs both of whom swapped their badminton rackets for guitars for the evening. As their Team Manager Laura commented “I understand now why Dan has his hair long, I’m always tempted to take him a hair band to matches!!!”
A great evening was enjoyed by all and it was a fitting end to another successful year for Leicestershire’s junior badminton.
Despite a 2 hour journey on a beautiful sunny day, 5 Leicestershire juniors made the trip down to Hertfordshire for this U16 event: Isobel Pike, Jess Rodgers, Sophie Watson, Eve Durrance and Evie Pike joining big sister Izzy for the first time in the same draw!
As has come to be expected from a tournament in one of the southern counties, the players were of a high standard with both Leics pairs only managing to come 2nd in their respective boxes in the Girls Doubles. A highlight was Sophie and Eve managing to defeat their old foes the Lee sisters, thereby denying Hertfordshire a home victory.
In the Girls Singles, Jess Rodgers won through from her box , losing to the eventual winner in the semis to bring home a bronze medal.
The new Badminton England age group changes may have been different but one thing remained the same: our Team Leics young players entering tournaments and achieving great things!
At the Summer Milton Keynes U15 Bronze event on Saturday 9th July, Danny Beynon and Tom Paterson-Watts won silver in the boys doubles; this was mirrored in the girls doubles by Eve Durrance and Sophie Watson who lost a tight final to also bring home a silver medal.
Tom & Danny
Eve & Sophie
On the very next day, Danny and Eve were back in action again at the Worcester U15 Bronze event, and were joined by Tilly Dale, Evie Pike, Grace Sherwin and honorary Leics lad, George Railton!
Danny earned his second medal of the weekend with a bronze in the boys’ doubles with George. Evie and Grace came away with their first medal in the main draw girls’ doubles with a well-earned bronze and Grace then topped off a super day’s play with a bronze in the mixed with her Worcestershire partner!
Evie & Grace
Danny & George
Danny & Tilly
Finally, on the same day back in Milton Keynes, one of our youngest players, Carly Stevenson, continued the successful start she has made to her national tournament career with an excellent silver medal in the girls’ doubles in this U12 Bronze event.
Well played all!