Stonehaven youngsters represent North-East in Anglo-Scottish event

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The annual U13 Anglo Scottish badminton tournament hosted by Lothian badminton group was held last weekend at the Meadowmill Sports Centre, Tranent. Three teams from Lothian were joined by teams invited from Yorkshire, the Borders, Isle of Man, West of Scotland and the North East.

The North East team was represented by members of the Aberdeenshire development and performance squads. Eilidh Craigen, Holly Thomson, Jack Murray, Matthew Duguid and Stuart Holley, all Stonehaven, Keira Dalton and Steaphan Connell, Milltimber and Becky Flaherty, Banchory, completed the local line up.

The event consists of teams playing in two groups, all disciplines, singles, doubles and mixed doubles being contested. North East played well in their group with some solid performances. Their first challenge was against Lothian B which started well with wins in both boys’ singles ties, Lothian fought back in the girls singles to level the match 2 all.

A similar result in the boys doubles put the locals ahead 4–2 and shared honours in the girl’s doubles maintained the North East advantage 5–3. The last 2 matches, mixed doubles were never in doubt, North East wining 21-9 and 21-8 to take the tie 7–3.

Next up was the Lothian U12 team and although younger this was a very experienced team. The results were very similar to that of the first tie finishing 8-2, with success this time in both boys’ singles, both boys’ doubles, both girls’ doubles, and the honours shared in the girls’ singles and mixed doubles.

The final match of the group stage was against a very strong and experienced Yorkshire team. Yorkshire had won this event twice, in 2006 and 2009 and were hoping to add to this in 2011. A superb match followed with fantastic play and team spirit from both teams. The score was tied at 2 all after the singles, a close game in the boy’s singles, Jack taking the victory 23-21 in his game.

The Yorkshire girls proved very talented, winning both singles and both doubles ties. The boys however couldn’t match the local boys, North East winning both boys singles and both boys’ doubles matches.

With the tie drawn at 4 all going into the mixed doubles there was everything to play for. Two great matches followed unfortunately the North East lost out in both, 21-11 and 21-15. This meant the Aberdeenshire team progressed to the crossover in 2nd place to play the winner of the other group, namely Lothian A. Unfortunately due to time constraints the matches were reduced to 5 games, only one game in each discipline.

Matthew claimed victory in the boys singles, however Becky was unable to overcome Shona Whillans in the girls singles. Jack and Stuart were unlucky to lose out 21-18 to Glen Lewington and Harry Wilson and similarly Holly and Eilidh were defeated by Sarah Brogan and Eloise Morris. With the match at 3–1 in favour of Lothian A, Keira and Steaphan still came out full of spirit and in the closest of matches were desperately unlucky to lose out 22-20, Lothian taking the match 4-1.

Hosts and last year winners, Lothian, were then beaten in the final by West of Scotland. In the play off for 3rd and 4th North East once again faced Yorkshire. Unfortunately the Yorkshire girls proved too strong once again and North East finished 4th losing the tie 3-2. Badminton Development officer, Joan Prieur commented: “This continues to show the depth of talent we have in the North East and the versatility of the players. A great team spirit was obvious throughout and it is great to see the players enjoying the challenge.”