Pupils from Mackie Academy travelled to a world badminton competition and were led by their Stonehaven-based lady.
The ISF Badminton event for 2016 was hosted by Malta and attracted entries from 20 countries worldwide: Brazil, Belgium Flanders , Bulgaria, China, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and hosts Malta.
Scotland was able to send a girls’ and a boys’ team, both from Mackie Academy. The girls’ team members were Maria Leith, Katy Townsend, Colleen Duncan and Anna Macleod.
The boys were represented by Sam Muir, Josh McKay, James Hinchcliffe and Andrew McGilivray.
The Scottish delegation was led by Annette Leith, of Stonehaven, and supported by Tom Lambert and Donald Leith as coaches and Jonathan Cranstoun as Scottish umpire.
The matches were recorded by camera crews and broadcast live on Malta TV.
The girls competed in the group stage with strong competition from Turkey, Slovakia and Portugal. Unable to secure any overall wins, this set up a nervy tie against Spain that the girls unfortunately lost 3-2. They then came in to better luck against Brazil, winning 3-2.
The girls’ last match was against Italy, who won 4-1, leaving the Scottish girls in 14th place.
The boys faced similarly challenging opposition in the group stage, facing Malta, Chinese Taipei and Portugal.
They were unable to secure an outright win at this point, but did compete very well against Portugal, narrowly losing 3-2.
This set up a match against Slovakia which proved to be a nail-biter with the game poised at 2-2 going into the final match, Scotland battled hard but it ended with victory to Slovakia by 3-2.
But the boys then went from strength-to-strength, recording a 5-0 victory over Croatia and converting a 4-1 defeat to Malta in the group stage to a 4-1 win in the play offs to secure 13th place.
Scotland fielded a very young team who were often competing against opponents four years their senior. However, Mackie Academy competed with maturity and will still have five of the eight players eligible to play at the next event in Pune, India, should they be selected in 2018.
Off court, Andrew McGilivray was selected as one of two ambassadors to promote the ISF Badminton event for two years leading up to the next event.
The trip was possible thanks to fund raising events and local businesses Raeburn Christie, Clark & Wallace, Macphie’s of Glenbervie and the Belverdere Hotel.
Annette Leith said: “We are also grateful to the many small businesses who offered raffle prizes, making this possible.”