After a hugely successful season for Leicestershire junior badminton at all ages during 2016/17, many of the players and parents attended the annual Leicestershire Schools Badminton Association presentation night to celebrate their achievements.
Held for the second year at Hugglescote Social Club, the event featured a fantastic buffet and disco as well as a raffle, compered once again by Mitch Dale – thanks to the effort of the Social Committee of Alaina, Nat and Liz – and a great night was had by all!
However the main order of business was the presentation itself. Team Managers for each of the age groups – Adam Sewell & Karen Stevenson (U12), Amie Hoult (U14), Alaina Goodenough (U16) and Laura Cowperthwaite (U18) – were invited to the stage to present certificates and county colours to all eligible players and provide the audience with an overview of each team’s successes throughout the season.
This year’s winners of the county championships were presented with their trophies, with particular congratulations reserved for Luke Hoult and Sophie Watson at U14, Jess Allen at U16 and Eve Dale at U18 for the clean sweep across all 3 events. A special presentation was also made by Amie to her victorious U14’s for coming out on top in the Shires League for 2016/17 – the first time any Leicestershire team has managed this feat!
As usual, ICT Team Manager Chris Hall took to the mic to regale the audience with tales from this year’s tournament which saw the Leicestershire team fight hard to finish a creditable 15th place. Chris also presented the two ICT awards, the Forest Cup for Outstanding Player of the event which was won by Jai Chandarana and the Players’ Player trophy which was awarded this year to Izzy Pike.
This year’s winners of the Cooper Cup and Ray Liggins Trophy, Carly Stevenson and Tom Platzer, were also presented with their trophies.
Last but not least, 3 special trophies presented annually by the LSBA committee. The Hutchinson Trophy is awarded to a player who has contributed commitment to the sport and this year’s winner was Issy Paterson-Watts. The Appleton Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player of the season which was awarded for this year to Jai Chandarana.
Finally, the Colin Kent award is presented to someone who the committee decides has given outstanding service to Leicestershire Schools’ Badminton and this year’s winner was Terry Talbot. Terry has been coaching for the LSBA on Saturdays for over 15 years as well as running weekly sessions at both Measham and Hood Park Leisure Centres, encouraging grass roots players into the sport. He also helps to run the non-county tournaments and has been an LSBA committee member for many years, sharing his knowledge and experience with others.
With the presentation wrapped up it was time for the players and parents to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening – what a great way to celebrate an amazing season for Leicestershire junior badminton!
National Schools Championships Finals
Having won through from the Regional round a few weeks previously, Saturday 6th May 2017 was Finals Day for the Ashby School boys, Harry Clare, Kieran Evans, Joe Goodenough and Marcus Kilby with the event being held at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes.
First match up was Gosforth Academy:
Both Harry and Joe worked hard in their singles; both were close matches but Harry won through 21-20 and Joe followed suit 21-19. This was followed up by 3 straight wins in the doubles 21-16, 21-18 and 21-17
Ashby School 5 Gosforth 0
Next up was Tapton School and the boys knew that they would have a tough match against last year’s overall winners. They all played fantastically well; Harry losing a tough singles against a C grade player 13-21 and Joe losing to a very tough Yorkshire player 12-21. Kieran and Marcus won the only game Ashby could manage 21-13 with the other boys’ doubles going to Tapton School:
Ashby School 1 Tapton School 4
Having come 2nd in the initial round Ashby moved on to play for positions 4 – 6 in a tough box with St Olave’s and Birkdale School. Both rubbers were very close with both the opposing teams fielding D grade players. Unfortunately the Ashby boys lost both rubbers 2-3; so close and with a 20-21 loss in one of the boys’ doubles against Birkdale it could so easily have been a win!
The final position for Ashby School: 6th place out of the 9 schools contesting the finals but considering over 4600 schools entered, it was an amazing achievement. A great day for the boys was rounded off by winning the ‘Best Selfie of the Day’ award!!
Ashby School PE teacher, Heather Scullion said: “I was massively proud of how the boys conducted themselves throughout the whole competition. They displayed superb sportsmanship and were true ambassadors of our school”
At the end of another Schools League season, the following schools were crowned Leicestershire county champions:
KS3 Girls: Loughborough High School
KS3 Boys: Newbridge High School
KS4 Girls: King Edward VII
KS4 Boys: Ashby School
This earned them the right to represent their county at the Regional Finals in Loughborough, playing against the winners of all the other county rounds in the East Midlands region.
After a great day’s competition, the Loughborough High girls ended the day 5th, the Newbridge boys 4th and the King Ed girls, 3rd. However, the Ashby boys went further, managing a fantastic overall 1st place and a place at Finals day – the National round! Congratulations to Harry Clare, Kieran Evans, Joe Goodenough and Marcus Kilby on a great achievement!
Thurnby Lodge Primary School’s rise to fame
When special needs coordinator, Nicola Stait, bought a handful of badminton rackets for Thurnby Lodge Primary in 2013, little did she know that they would be County champions by 2016.
A year on from the school’s first experience of badminton, both Nicola and PE coordinator Stef Tattersall accepted an invitation from the Leicester City Community Badminton Network to undertake an initial six weeks coaching for their year 4 students. This proved so popular that coaching for the group continued into year 5. With lunch time badminton sessions being introduced in the school, it was therefore no surprise when the team won the first round of the City Primary School competition in 2014/15. As Nicola pointed out at the time – “It is lovely to see so many children enjoying badminton. I hope many more primary schools will introduce the sport – the ‘take up’ at our school has been so great that I am unable to offer the experience to all those who want to have a go.” At the City Finals in June 2015 the team romped to victory.
At the start of this season a new team of years 4/5 undertook coaching and entered the competition which had been extended to the County Boroughs schools. Again the team started their campaign by winning Round 1 and progressed to the City Final. By now a number of children were playing in junior clubs and others had joined Team Leicestershire’s coaching program at Babington College. In April Thurnby Lodge won the Judgemeadow annual badminton competition, beating previous winners, Medway, on route. In the City Borough Finals, the team were up against previous winners Fosse and perennial finalists Forest Lodge along with Overdale and Woodstock. Once again the Thurnby team triumphed.
The County Final was held on 1 July at Babington College involving Thurnby Lodge (City), Fleckney (Blaby/Harborough); Wigston Academy (Oadby/Wigston), Hugglescote (North West) and Burton on the Wolds (Charnwood). Seeded one, Thurnby Lodge succeeded in getting 3 pairs through to the quarter finals and edged in front in the team competition. When their top two pairs progressed to the semi finals the team competition was won. To round off a great day for the school Thurnby Lodge’s number ones beat their counterparts from Wigston Academy. Final placings: 1st Thurnby Lodge; 2nd Wigston Academy; 3rd Fleckney; 4th Hugglescote; 5th Burton on the Wolds. Prizes for the winners included a supply of new rackets for the school from Badminton England, an invitation to a Sky Sports National Badminton League match at Loughborough University and a day out at the 2017 All England.
Team Leicestershire Developments Officers Carole Spencer and Greg Howes paid tribute to the schools magnificent efforts in providing their students with the opportunity to participate in such an exciting sport. As Nicola concluded, “The children were thrilled to win another tournament (County Final). I am so pleased that all the practice paid off. They have all improved their skills and the tournaments are so motivating. The impact is probably greater than we realise”.
Sir Jonathan North Community College has recently staged Round 4 of the City’s Primary Schools Badminton Challenge, with teams from Dovelands, Overdale and Wolsey House competing in both a pairs and a team event.
At the end of the Group stage all five pairs from Overdale managed to progress to the quarter finals along with three pairs from Dovelands, giving the former a 5 point team advantage. Wolsey fought hard but found it difficult to cope with the more experienced teams.
In the first semi-final, Overdale’s Jack Kelly and Jake Sutton overcame Dovelands Sancha Riches and Ben Carnoth 15-9. Dovelands prevented an all Overdale final when Hugo Inman and Harlan Brown defeated Ethan Singh Halet and Edie Witcombe 15-7.
In the final, both pairs remained neck and neck throughout with the lead constantly changing. At 19 all Inman and Brown’s more attacking style paid off for a 21-19 victory for the Dovelands pair.
The team event was won by Overdale whose quarter-final advantage proved decisive and they go through to the City Final in June.
Team placings: 1st Overdale; 2nd Dovelands; 3rd Wolsey House
Report by Greg Howes
Leicester City Badminton Coaching & Development Officer
Primary school competition is being piloted this season in 5 areas in the county, run by Greg Howes and myself. Before the competition could take place we needed to work with the schools to introduce the young players to the sport, so we came up with an offer which incorporated coaching in the schools. We do 6 weeks coaching in Curr-Time and at an after school club, then at the end of the training sessions a competition is arranged.
The schools in North West Leicestershire who agreed to work with us are Hugglescote, St Johns the Baptist, Belvoirdale and New Swannington. Each school selected 10 players to compete in the competition which was held at Newbridge High School, and with the help of some willing volunteers it was a success.
Well done to the doubles winners James and Jack (Hugglescote) and the runners up Miles and Rory (New Swannington) Congratulations to the winning school Hugglescote who will now go through to the County round at Babington College on July 1st, representing NWL where they will play against schools from 4 other areas. The winners of this round will then be crowned County Primary School Champions!
Report by Carole Spencer
In the finals of the Under 18 Leicestershire Schools League both Leicester High School and Loughborough Grammar School retained their titles.
In the first girls semi final Leicester High A team had a fairly easy and predictable win against their B team, whilst in the second semi final Loughborough High had a much tougher task in overcoming the strength of Beauchamp College’s Michelle Luo. Although Luo was unbeaten in both singles and doubles Loughborough had a little more overall strength in depth, winning the tie 5-3.
In the girls final, Leicester High A showed their class at singles taking a 4-0 lead in to the doubles. Although Loughborough’s Katie Frost and Aradhana Topiwala won both doubles, this was not enough to prevent Leicester High from retaining their Under 18 crown.
In the first of the boys semi finals Beauchamp showed their superiority at singles beating Groby Community College 6-2. The second semi final was a different affair with the tie going to the last rubber; Loughborough’s Deon Chung and Hamza Ali beating Bosworth’s Cam Collins and Stefan Grubisic 21-16 to earn the team a 5-3 win.
In the boys final Loughborough Grammar faced the same task against Beauchamp College as they did against Bosworth Academy. Trailing 4-1 after the singles and the first of the doubles, Beauchamp rallied to take the next two rubbers. With their match score once again at 4-3 Chung and Ali had to beat Beauchamp’s Ethan Sheard and Billy Stevely to avoid a 4-4 result and a count-back on points scored. After an even start to the match Chung and Ali slowly moved ahead and ran out 21-14 winners, Loughborough thereby retaining their title.
Girls: 1st Leicester High A; 2nd Loughborough High; 3rd Beauchamp College; 4th Leicester High B
Boys: 1st Loughborough Grammar; 2nd Beauchamp College; 3rd Bosworth Academy; 4th Groby Community College
Report by Greg Howes
LSBA U/18 Match Secretary
25 March 2016