Cor, what a late one (for Liz with Eve Dale that is!). Whilst I thought I’d drawn the short straw with a trip to Liverpool watching Tilly win a gold and a silver, it became apparent that the Bucks Senior Bronze was running a bit behind. At 10.30pm Eve and Christopher “Robert” Hall were still waiting to play their quarter final in the mixed event after tremendously getting out of their box!
The event started with a very dramatic 2-1 win against the #2 seeds with a very impressive ranking, the decider being 24-22 to Eve and Chris. The quarter final was won in 2 with the long awaited semi final being won in 3. The final took place at just before 1am and fortunately, perhaps Eve and Chris were more accustomed to late nights and won the final 21-15 21-18.
Following the customary celebratory McFlurry, Eve and Liz arrived home at 2.30am!
1st October 2017 and the Midway League got off to a really positive start for the U13 team in Sheffield. The travelling team included many faces from last season’s silver medallists with the addition of Gabriel Davey making his debut.
The team opened with a fantastic performance against Warwickshire, taking the win and setting the standard for the rest of the day. Good performances form all secured a solid win against Cheshire. Next up, Yorkshire, featuring some of last season’s Shires League winners who proved just a touch too strong across all categories seeing many players narrowly miss out on hard fought games.
The event completed with a secure win against a good Yorkshire second team leaving us in 2nd position at the end of the first leg. A great start for Leicestershire!
Team Leicestershire juniors Tom Cowperthwaite and Hritika Modi were competing in this yearly event for the 3rd time and were joined for the 2017 event on September 3rd by Issy Paterson-Watts and Hritika’s dad Vish! The Friendship Challenge was established in memory of Jonathan, who was a keen badminton player and coach who died tragically in a car accident. The tournament is now part of a programme of events to raise funds to promote badminton and encourage more young people into the sport.
This year’s event attracted a number of mixed teams from Coventry, Birmingham, Leicester and Stratford and included a variety of age groups. After a fantastic day’s competition against some very experienced players, “Team Foxes” collected the trophy as the well-deserved winners!
As the new season begins in earnest, the first U19 bronze event of the year saw several of the older Team Leics players make the trip to Cheltenham on Sunday 17th September, including Eve Dale, Tom Cowperthwaite, Marcus Kilby, Izzy Pike and Jess Rodgers.
With singles up first, Tom showed early season form by winning his box easily before overcoming the top seed in a very close fought quarter-final. In a tough semi, Tom just lost out to the #3 seed but a well-earned bronze medal nonetheless. In the ladies singles it was a similar story for Jess Rodgers who won her box without dropping a set before being knocked out in the quarters in the closest of games against the #2 seed.
With mixed doubles next, Izzy Pike with her scratch Devon partner won their box easily but were unable to overcome a solid Sussex pair in the quarter-finals losing in the 3rd set to 17. Tom and partner Maisie went one better; having won their box they progressed straight to the semi-finals where they lost the closest of matches to the Sussex pair 22-24 23-25 but another bronze medal for Tom! However, Eve Dale with regular Lancs partner Danny had no such trouble, storming their way through the draw with Eve dominating proceedings at the net and powering their way to the gold medal without dropping a set.
With just the level doubles left to play, Izzy & Jess beat the #2 seeds to comfortably win their box without dropping a set. Having dispatched their semi-final opponents in similar fashion, the final was an almost all-Leicestershire affair, facing Eve in her second final of the day, although today having to play with a new partner after her usual partner had to drop out. In a tight and very tense final, Izzy and Jess used their teamwork well to take the win and the gold medal! Team Leics players headed home having made a great start to the season with a tally of 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals.
Saturday 9th September saw most of the Shires League winning U14 squad from last season make the short trip to Derby for the first U15 Gold tournament of the year in what would likely be a tough start to the new season after the long summer break.
With mixed doubles up first, unfortunately none of the Leicestershire players were able to progress to the latter stages of the competition, although Luke & Sophie reached the 3rd round, only just losing out on a place in the semi finals.
It was a similar story in the singles with none being able to progress further but hopes were high for the level doubles to come, typically a strength for these players.
And so it was to be, with both Luke (with partner Jake) and Sophie (with partner Megan) winning comfortably through from their groups. Luke and Jake booked their places for Sunday’s order of play with a gritty win against Sam Baker and Thomas Ley in 3 close ends with Sophie & Megan going straight through as the winners of Group 3.
On Finals Sunday, Luke & Jake were unlucky to be facing the #1 seeds Butler & Jones but did fantastically well to take it to 3, eventually losing 15-21 21-15 21-12 but earning a brilliant bronze medal. Sophie and Megan went one better, beating Arksey & Shirol 21-17 22-20 to reach the final. On this occasion, the combined might of England players Lisa Curtin & Estelle van Leeuwen proved a barrier too far with the East Midlands girls losing 21-15 21-10 to take home a superb silver medal.
On the weekend of September 1st-2nd, Sophie Watson travelled to Lisburn Racket Club in Ireland for the first tournament of the year.
She reached the quarter finals in both singles and mixed but went one better in the level doubles, beating the #1 seeds in the semi final to go through to the final where she and partner Megan Brierley from Notts narrowly lost out 21-18 in the 3rd end. A great performance to achieve a silver medal again in an international event.
After their fantastic recent achievements in the Shires League, the U14’s came together one last time to round off an amazing season at the York Railway Institute for the Cerryg Davies Memorial Mixed Doubles tournament on Saturday 10th June. Team Manager for the day was Carole Spencer.
With U14 team regulars Tilly Dale and Ayush Panchal missing, the team welcomed 2 younger players into the ranks for a day which saw the 4 Leicestershire pairs of Sophie Watson & Luke Hoult, Evie Pike & Tom Platzer, Grace Sherwin & Owen King and Carly Stevenson & Lewis Whyley compete against teams from Lothian, Yorkshire (with 3 teams!), Lancashire, Warwickshire, Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and various teams fielding players from different counties. All in all, 48 mixed pairs took part with a range of ages and abilities for a fun day of mixed doubles.
Each pair played for places as an individual pair which also then earned points for the whole team with each pair striving to finish as high up the order as possible in order to earn as many points as they could for their county. After a packed schedule which saw each pair play at least 12 games of mixed doubles, the points were tallied and the players gathered round the referees desk to hear the final results. This time around, Leicestershire finished in the bronze medal place behind runners-up Lancashire and winners Warwickshire, a great result for the team. Congratulations also go to Sophie & Luke who were silver medallists in the individual competition, just missing out on the top spot to Warwickshire’s Natasha Morris & Joseph Scott.