The area qualifying event for the Gibb Memorial Quaich once again took place at Portlethen Academy. Almost 70 children from six schools in the area took part. Teams from Arduthie, Dunnottar, Mill O’ Forest, Kintore, Milltimber and Peterculter came together to compete for a place at the national finals in Wishaw on 26th February.
This event is always well supported by both children and spectators and this year was no exception. Teams of between 8 and 10 players competed in all three disciplines, singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
Arduthie 2, Kintore, Mill O’Forest 1 and Peterculter played in one group while Arduthie 1, Dunnottar, Milltimber and Mill O’Forest 2 competed in the other. In both groups there were some very close games Peterculter edged victory over Arduthie 2 with a narrow 15–12 win in the final game, mixed doubles.
Similarly Mill O’Forest 2 clinched victory 3- 2 over Dunnottar, again the mixed doubles match deciding the victory.
Arduthie 1 against Mill O’Forest 2 kept the spectators on the edge of their seats where the match was won and lost on the very last point, Arduthie taking victory 15-14 in the final match.
Dunnottar versus Milltimber was also a very close call again the match won 3–2 by Milltimber once again decided in the last match, this time Milltimber taking the honours 15-14.
Newcomers this year were Kintore who, though inexperienced, played very well and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They came close to victory in their match against Arduthie 2 where remarkably once again the match score was 3-2 in favour of Arduthie 2.
The final 3-2 victory of the morning went to Milltimber when they beat Mill O’Forest 2, again the match decided in the final game.
The only team not to be involved in a 3-2 match was Mill O’Forest 1 who progressed to the semi-final stage without losing a game.
After the morning stage the top 2 in each group crossed over to play in the semi-finals while the bottom 2 in each group played off for places 5–8. Peterculter faced Milltimber in one semi-final which proved to be quite a contest. Peterculter won the boys singles, then Milltimber went on to take the girls singles and boys doubles to go 2-1 up. Peterculter then fought back, taking the girls doubles and levelling the match at 2 all. Yet again the mixed doubles would decide the result and on this occasion the spoils went to Milltimber.
The other semi-final was an all Stonehaven affair, Arduthie 1 against Mill O’Forest 1. Mill O’Forest started strong winning both singles matches and the boy’s doubles. Though the match was already lost Arduthie must be complimented on their great spirit, they played well and matched Mill O’Forest in many good long rallies.
The girls doubles was an end to end match full of skill, determination and not forgetting a bit of luck too. Arduthie emerged victorious winning the game 15-14. Mill O’Forest won the mixed to take the match 4-1 and secure a place in the final against regular rivals, Milltimber.
In the 5–8 place play offs there was also great tension between Arduthie 2 and Dunnottar where remarkably the match once again was won on the last point, Dunnottar winning 15-14.
Mill O’ Forest 2 played Kintore where the more experienced Mill O’Forest team won the match 4-1, losing only the girls doubles.
The final between Milltimber and Mill O’Forest 1 certainly provided great entertainment for all. The boys’ singles went to Mill O’Forest then the girls’ singles saw Milltimber take a good lead to 11 points. At this point the girls changed ends and Milltimber retained a good lead.
Never deterred however Mill O’ Forest held on, never giving up and provided some spectacular play to win the game 21-20, a fantastic turn around.
Mill O’ Forest also won the boys doubles to secure the victory though Milltimber played well to take the girls doubles, 21-14, the mixed however was never in doubt, Mill O’Forest winning that game 21-4, and the match 4-1 to take the title. Hopefully Milltimber will also be invited to the national finals as runners up.
Arduthie 1 beat Peterculter 3-2 to decide 3rd and 4th place, Mill O’Forest 2 beat Dunnottar 3-2, to decide 5th and 6th place and finally Arduthie 2 beat Kintore 5-0 to decide 7th and 8th place.
Joan Prieur, badminton development officer was most impressed by these results and said “It’s great to see so many players involved and the closeness of many of these games shows there is a lot of similar abilities spread across the NE area. Praise must go not only to the players but the many coaches, parents and volunteers who take the time to support the children and the sport of badminton.”