By Brian Donaldson
Saturday 12 February 2023 saw history being made in Elgin as Scottish Cup Fever hit the City midway between Aberdeen and Inverness.
The venue was ready for the arrival of the players; screens and blinds were brought down to take the sun’s glare out of the players eyes and the teams began assembling. Everyone appearing ion good spirits though there was underlying tension of entering the unknown.
Six Teams representing four Badminton Clubs. Bases in almost a straight line between Inverness, Nairn, Elgin and Aberdeen arrived at Moray Sports Centre to joust for the three qualifying places into the next round of the Scottish Cup Draw.
Travel to the venue was no object with players representing Teams traveling from Lochcarron on the West Caithness in The North. Several players and parental support having attended the Highland Badminton Group Under 17/13 Championships the previous day in Inverness.
Overnight stays were part of the competition preparation, for players and the support teams of parents and partners who along with club members not involved in the action made a reasonable cohort of spectator support at the Competition.
Two pools were the order of the day;
- Great Glen
- Elgin BC 1
- ABA Oilers
- Nairn BC
- ABA Titans
- Elgin BC2
After a brief Captain’s Meeting the teams had a final huddle and the first matches commenced and players set out to clinch these vital wins that would contribute to the Team Score in each match.
The action was intense and fast paced and as team players set engages in competition, nervous coaches and team managers paced alongside the action encouraging and supporting the players to bring their best game to each match.
Match scores proved the value of competition and the evenness of the teams with 50% of the matches being won by just one game.
At the end of the first round Aberdeen Badminton Academy Oilers and Nairn BC were first in their pools earning a ticket direct to the next round of the Cup and Aberdeen Badminton Academy Titans and Great Glen BC had to play in a play off for the final ticket to the next Round.
And what a climax to an enjoyable day of Badminton did theses Teams produce. In the best Scottish Cup tradition this match , like others previously went down to the very last game.
Great Glen set out and after the two singles games held a 0 – 2 lead.
Titans started their fight back during the men’s doubles where they took a game and brought the score to 1 – 3
With the Titan Ladies taking the points in the women’s doubles the score was creeping up to 2 – 3
And so we entered the mixed doubles with two games to be played. Great Glen’s Brown and Sendell missing out to the Titan’s Harris and McKay and therefore tying the Game Score to 4 – 4 with the match between Great Glen’s Craig and Ruesch v Titan’s Raya and Kennedy and what a match this proved to be.
Absolutely nick and tuck the whole with fantastic rallies and winning shots for the game points.
The final game point saw Titan’s Raya and Kennedy winning with a score of 22 -20- and booking the Titan’s ticket to the next round.
A brilliant, closely fought match enjoyed by everyone in the hall.
Overall the day was a great blend of tournament Badminton with lots of great matches, shown by the experience on and off the court. Importantly there was a huge amount of learning took place and in the enthusiasm for the competition it was thought that perhaps, maybe this was a format worth taking forward into the future.
Badminton Scotland would like to thank all Team managers, players, spectators, Moray Sports Centre Staff for a brilliant day in Elgin. You would never have known that Badminton’s Scottish Cup weekend coincided with another version of a Cup Competition played on grass pitches.
Finally in order to make the event happen, there is always a need for officials who fulfil a role and on Sunday we were very fortunate to have the support of Douglas and Kerry (who had spent the best part of eight hours in Inverness on Saturday officiating) inputting data into Tournament Software and ready to provide support for Douglas and Kerry was GGBC stalwart Rob.
And so at the end of a days play the outcome was we had a set of qualifiers for the next round of the competition.
Aberdeen Badminton Academy Oilers: Nairn BC and Aberdeen Badminton Academy Titans
Next up: West Qualifier: 5 March 2023 – Sir Craig Reedie Badminton Centre, Glasgow
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