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Babolat Midland Junior 2017

One hundred and forty six players put in entries for the various events, although we did have some withdrawals because of illness or injury which posed some difficulties for the organisers. Changes had to be made in the format of particular  events, after matches had been scheduled and players informed of their starting times. As usual, most parents and players were very understanding.

Saturday was very hectic and I hate to see empty courts. However, this was unavoidable at the early stages of the tournament as players had been given their starting times and had not yet arrived. We have already discussed ways in which this can be avoided next year.  Once all players were actually present, courts were busy and we soon found ourselves ahead of time. Last matches came off court about 8.30pm and the people on the desk who had been there all day were exhausted.

There were consolation awards in many events. Too often we concentrate on the winners and runners up in the main events, but some of the younger players are taking part in their first open tournaments and it was encouraging to see their enthusiasm. There were some fiercely fought finals. Noah Sarvesvaran beat Finlay Jack 22-20 in the U13BS. In the U13BD, Noah and his partner Daniel Harris lost 19-21 to Shaun Aamir and Karan Shah. Leo McMillan and Zara Kirkwood beat Scott Mackenzie and Anna Craig 21-17 in the U13XD.

On Saturday, there were many close matches in the early rounds of the tournament. In Round 2 of the U17BS Kenneth Cheung beat Jamie Stewart 21-15 12-21 21-12. Although I was busy, I knew that the spectators were enjoying the match because of the applause and the cheers which I heard. The boys came off court exhausted after 42 minutes but they were both smiling.  In the U17GD, Megan Campbell and Erin Sinclair beat Molly Macdonald and Rebecca McGourty 21-17  19-21  23-21 and in the U15GD, although Rachel Maclean and Amanda Martin lost the first set 15-21 to Rachel Broadley and Lindsey Ireland, they eventually won 22-20 in the third. Another close match took place in the U13GD when Vibha Raman and Katie Taylor, having lost the first set 18-21 to Katrina Chan and Ishbel McCallister went on to win 21-19, 22-20.

In comparison to Saturday, Sunday was a much more relaxed day. Play started with the mixed doubles. Unfortunately, there were no entries from girls in the U19 age group which seems to be happening more and more often.

U13
Shaun Aamir did well to beat Logan Ireland 21-18 21-15 but lost to the top seed Hamish McCallister 17-21 21-17 21-12. Hamish, who had beaten Angus Meldrum in the semis, was in all 3 finals. He and his partner Nathan Findlater beat Grant Lewis and Finlay Sheriff 21-18 21-12 to win the BD. Unfortunately, although he made a valiant effort, he and his partner Lois Turnbull lost to Anthony McGuire and Keryn Swan 22-20 13-20 17-20. Lois had won the singles by beating the 10year old Brooke Stalker 21-19 21-18 and, with her partner Mary Kong, beat Brooke and her partner Keryn  in a closely fought final to take the doubles title 22-20  18-21  21-15.

U15
Michael McGuire overcame Jamie Gunn to take the singles title, then, with his partner Calum Flockhart, went on to beat Jamie Gunn and Fraser Sheriff 21-16 21-16 to take the doubles title. In the mixed doubles Calum and Michael were on opposite sides of the net. This time, Michael and his partner Jodie Harris lost 20-22 11-21 to Calum and Eilidh McCallister. Eilidh was not to be outdone by her brother Hamish. She was also in 3 finals.  Her partner had pulled out of the level doubles and Eilidh was called upon to partner Maria Leith in the U17 GD which they won. Eilidh was beaten by Jodie Harris 21-19 21-17 in the U15GS and Jodie also won a second title when she and her partner, Rachel Wedlock beat Molly Scales and Jennifer Witherow   21-18 21-16 to win the GD title

U17
 Top seed Brandon Tsang beat Kenneth Cheung 21-17 21-9 to win the boys singles. Kenneth is still an U15 and he reached the final by beating Eugene Stokes in a closely fought semi 21-19 20-22 21-17.  Kenneth also lost out in the final of the doubles, when he and his partner Callum Smith were beaten 15-21 13-21 by Brandon and his partner Josh McKay. Josh had already won the mixed doubles with his partner Maria Leith. Maria deserves a special mention as she won three titles in this age group. Well done!

U19
Only two events were played in this age group. Sameer Aamir won the singles by beating Matthew Duguid in a thrilling final 23-21 9-21 21-16. He also partnered Lewis Campbell to win the doubles.

My thanks must go to our sponsor Babolat and to all the people who helped out at the desk and with shuttle control over the two days and to Kirsty Flockhart who was acting as Assistant Referee as well as checking in players and monitoring courts.  A special thank you to Joanna Flockhart who was the Tournament Referee. Without her invaluable assistance I would not be able to run the tournament. She is always available to answer any of my queries before it takes place, over the two days, and after the event.

Last, but not least, I must thank all the players who took part. It is a pleasure to see so many young people playing badminton. You were a credit to your parents. Without their support you would not be able to take part in these events.  I look forward to seeing you at future Midland Tournaments.

Report and image courtesy of Maria Hadden