Posted on 15th May 2023
By Keegan Friel
Langside Badminton League held their end-of-season tournament, Thornlee, at the Sir Craig Reedie (Cockburn) Badminton Centre on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May. Langside provides competitive badminton for players based in Glasgow’s southside, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.
Thornlee has been taking place every year since 1975, but the 2023 event was the first since 2019 as it had been on pause due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The 2023 event was the first to be held at the Cockburn, as many clubs have lost or now have restricted access to venues in their area following the pandemic. Despite this, the 2023 event received the highest entries in its 48-year history and was also the most diverse – with the standard ranging from social players to a number who take part in BADMINTONscotland national events, and with an age range of 17 to 62 years old.
The event kicked off with Mixed Doubles in a highly contested field, with three pairs from Eaglesham making it through to the semi finals. First up was an Eaglesham battle between Stephen HENDRY/Linzi GREIG and Keegan FRIEL/Pamela HODGE, where FRIEL/HODGE clinched a win with a score of 30-26. In the other match, it was a family affair as Eaglesham pair of mother-and-son, Sam HUME/Gillian WILLIAMSON, took on husband-and-wife duo Michael WYLIE/Carys WYLIE of Newton Mearns. The match ended with a win from WYLIE/WYLIE with a score of 30-27.
In the final, where it was the best of three sets to 21, FRIEL/HODGE were victorious against WYLIE/WYLIE with scores of 21-18, 21-17.
A consolation event – for those who finished 3rd/4th in their group – was also held, where Mathias KUPIEC/Lindsay MCCALL of Orchardhill beat their competitors Paul MOLLOY/Claire RAE from Old Parish in an epic three set match, 21-13, 12-21, 21-11.
Turning to Men’s Doubles, Eaglesham once again dominated the field with 5 of the 8 players representing the club at the Semi Final stage. This resulted in an all-Eaglesham final, where Ross DICK/Sam HUME took on their teammates Keegan FRIEL/Stephen HENDRY, with the former powering their way to a victory in two sets, 21-17, 21-13.
Elsewhere in the consolation event, Jack CRAWFORD/Ryan JONES of Newlands South took on Kenny BARTON/Simon WALLACE from Orchardhill, with a Newlands South victory in two sets, 21-12, 21-16.
Finishing off day one of Thornlee 2023, the women’s doubles events was the most tightly fought battle to take place with a marathon three set final lasting 52 minutes where Ella HAIME/Carla-Louise MACKENZIE of Eaglesham and Netherlee took on a scratch pairing of Gillian WILLIAMSON/Carys WYLIE of Eaglesham and Newton Mearns – with Carys standing in as a substitute due to a withdrawal.
With an impressive display of women’s badminton, and despite never playing together before Thornlee 2023, WILLIAMSON/WYLIE claimed victory in three sets, with the scores at 17-21, 21-19, 22-20.
Over in the consolation event, it was an all-Orchardhill affair, where Rachel DENHOLM/Elizabeth MCAULEY defeated mother-and-daughter pairing of Amy CRAIG/Caroline CRAIG, 21-14, 21-10.
The singles event kicked off day 2 of action, with players looking to become the Callum Smiths and Kirsty Gilmours of Langside.
In the Men’s Singles, Mathias KUPIEC of Orchardhill retained the championship for a second consecutive year, beating Ross DICK of Eaglesham in two sets, 21-17, 21-13. Over in the consolation event, it was a battle of Shawlands Trinity teammates Andrew MCNAIR and Ruairidh GORDON, with MCNAIR taking the title with a win of 21-12, 21-14.
The Women’s Singles event saw two new players to Langside this season go for the trophy, in Ella HAIME of Eaglesham and Katie FEYERABEND of Shawlands Trinity. HAIME took home the trophy with a formidable two set win, 21-8, 21-5.
A favourite of Langside players, the Balloted Mixed Doubles event closed Thornlee 2023 – where entries are paired at random with someone from a different club to them – bringing some unexpected and brilliant partnerships from across the league.
In the main draw, Ross DICK found himself in his third final of the weekend, partnering Elizabeth MACAULAY of Netherlee, who was aiming to win the title for the second consecutive year. The pair took on William HYSLOP of Eaglesham and Emma SHERRY of Shawlands Trinity, with DICK/MACAULAY winning the title in two sets, 21-13, 22-20.
As well as competing individually, players were also representing their clubs in order to take home the Thornlee Trophy. Eaglesham claimed victory, taking home the trophy for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile it was a close fought battle in second and third place, with Orchardhill taking silver and Shawlands Trinity taking bronze.
Meanwhile, in a first for the tournament, a male and female player were crowned ‘Most Valuable Players’ (MVPs) for the tournament. The titles went to Ross DICK of Eaglesham (having been in three finals, winning two) and Ella HAIME of Eaglesham (having been in two finals, winning one, and a consolation win).
Langside’s next event will be a return of their anniversary event, ‘The Battle of Langside’, which will be taking place on Saturday 2 September at the Cockburn. This is a Ryder Cup-style event, where all entries are split in to two equal teams to compete for The Langside Cup. Registration is restricted to players registered with a Langside club, and is now open by visiting www.langsidebadminton.co.uk/battle.
Langside continues to welcome new players to their clubs, and new clubs who wish to compete in Glasgow’s southside, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire. If you would like to get involved, you can find more information on Langside’s website www.langsidebadminton.co.uk or by getting in touch with Keegan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org