Three promising youngsters recently made the trip south to Larkhall to compete in the Lanarkshire Junior U11 badminton championship. Eilidh Mitchell (U11), Dunnottar and Maria Leith and Josh McKay both U10 and pupils of Mill O’Forest represented Stonehaven in both singles and doubles events.
In the singles event Eilidh and Josh both progressed comfortably to the main event knockout stage while Maria, despite two very close matches, continued her progress in the consolation event which she ultimately won without very much challenge.
Both Eilidh and Josh played very well in the main event. Josh seeded 7 on the day was desperately unlucky to lose out in the quarter finals to regular rival Harry Davidson seeded 5. Josh always looked in control of the match however Harry never gave up and eventually clawed his way back into contention.
Josh played some fine badminton but with the score poised at 20 all, luck seemed to be favouring Harry and he went on to take the victory 23–21. Harry then lost out to eventual winner, Jack Riddell, in the semi final.
Eilidh progressed one stage further in the girls event with a comfortable 21-6 win over Erin Chase, Moray, but was then up against Glasgow’s Eileen Gordon. A great match followed with Eileen taking an early lead. Eilidh wasn’t deterred and was always chasing the win however Eileen managed to hold on to her advantage and take the tie 21-16. Eileen then lost to top seed, Sarah Sidebottom, in the final 21-14.
In the doubles events Josh teamed up with regular partner, Adam Pringle, Glasgow, and Eilidh and Maria paired up. With only 5 pairs in the boys event and 6 in the girls both were played in a round robin format. Josh and Adam continued to work well as a partnership and produced some very mature play and fantastic teamwork. With two comfortable wins and one much closer victory, 21–19, over Edinburgh’s Ewan Laing and Jordan Cunningham, the title would be decided between Josh and Adam, seeded 2, and Jack Riddell, Ayrshire, and Lloyd Holland, Glasgow, top seeds on the day.
As always the match was full of entertainment both pairs justifying their seeding but on the day it was Jack and Lloyd who claimed victory 21–14, making Jack the only double winner at the event.
The girls started the event seeded 2 and like the boys justified this winning their first four games, though three of them were close fought affairs, 21-17, 21–18 and 21–19.
A shot at the top seeds, Sarah Sidebotton, Rothesay, and Claire Rogers, Bathgate, was the reward for Eilidh and Maria. Despite having only teamed up once before in competition, Eilidh and Maria played like an experienced pair, always in control of the game and never allowing Sarah and Claire to close the gap by more than four points throughout the match finally winning the tie 21 - 17.