The National Badminton Academy at Scotstoun was the venue for the recent Bank of Scotland U11 National Championships.
Stonehaven can proudly boast that all four players from the town merited seeding. In the girls singles, Eilidh Mitchell, Dunnottar, started the day seeded 3/4, while Josh McKay, Mill O’ Forest was seeded 5/8 in the boys singles event.
Josh would also have been seeded 3 in the boys doubles however his regular partner Adam Pringle, Glasgow, recently suffered a broken arm which will see him out of action until next season.
On the day Josh paired up with Joshua Apiliga. Maria Leith, Mill O’Forest and Catriona Holley, Dunnottar, teamed up in the girls doubles and were seeded 2nd. The day started with the singles events and saw Josh, Catriona and Eilidh all progress comfortably to the main knockout event. Maria was unfortunate to be placed in the same group as Eilidh, and lost 2 of her 4 games, one to Eilidh and the other to Lanarkshire’s Abigail Quinn, this meant she would compete in the consolation event.
In the girls main event Catriona was unlucky to meet the other 3/4 seed, Dundee’s Lauren Middleton in the quarter finals, Lauren won the tie quite comfortably.
Eilidh justified her seeding disposing of Claire Rogers, 21–9, in the quarter final, securing a place in the semi final against 2nd seed, Rothesay’s Sarah Sidebottom. Eilidh put up a good fight but on the day Sarah proved too strong. Sarah went on to lose out to top see Lily Farnood in the final.
Josh had a tough draw in the knockout stage where he met Longniddry’s James Morgan in the first round. Despite being a year younger than his opponent Josh was always in contention.
The players were very closely matched in all aspects of their game but on this occasion it was James who managed to hold onto his narrow lead to win the tie 21–16. The consolation event saw success for Maria with 21–18 wins over both Olivia Grey and Jennifer Lafferty to secure her a place in the final against Edinburgh’s Rachel Andrew.
Maria was always chasing the lead and with the score at 20–16 in favour of Rachel the match looked lost but sheer grit and determination saw Maria dig deep and come through to win the match 22–20.
In the doubles events Maria and Catriona faced disappointment in their first match, never quite finding their rhythm, losing out to Lanarkshire’s Abigail Quinn and Hannah Welbury, 21–17. This meant they qualified 2nd in their pool and therefore met the top seeds, Sarah Sidebottom and Lauren Middleton in the semi final. Both girls played very well but the experience of the two older girls could not be matched by the local girls, losing out 21–11. Sarah managed to deny Lily the double by beating her and partner Jennifer Lafferty in the final 21–10.
In the boys’ event, despite only meeting for the first time on the day, Josh and Joshua battled hard. Even though they did not manage to secure a victory in the pool stage, 3 games were lost, 21–17, 21–18 and 21-19! In the consolation event they finally found their form and after a tight first round match against Harry Mobey and Neil Littleson which they won 22–20, victory was in their sights.
A 21–12 win over Sean McCallum and Nathan McDougall in the semi final set up a final against Dundee’s Kyle Middleton and partner Adam Park. This was another great game with the two pairs quite evenly matched but this time it was Josh and Joshua who capitalised on their lead winning the final 21-18. Another very good performance from these local youngsters with Maria and Josh returning next year to compete in this age group again!