By Hugh Ainsley
On Saturday 16th December it was the turn of the 2011 Age Group to visit Wishaw for the SSBU Age Group event. There were 36 players entered with 21 players in the boys singles.
Boy’s Singles Round Up
The 8 seeded players all reached the quarter finals but Donald Coull (Highland) put up a good fight against Kavin Raman (Lothian) losing 23-21 in the 3rd set.
In the quarter final Divyan Goyal (G&NS) had a 21-19 3rd set victory over Anton Valanraj (Lothian) but the closest match was yet to come.
Nathan Luo (G&NS) was having a good day and reached the final by putting out Highland’s Drew Murdoch.
In the final he came up against his doubles partner Calum Tsang. There were many close rallies in the final with Nathan winning the first game 22-20 before Calum fought back to take the remaining 2 games 21-19, 23-21.
Girls’s Singles Round Up
There were 12 girls in the singles and the four seeded players safely made their way through the pools to the main knock-out.
There was a large and strong entry from Highland for the event and in the quarter final Highland’s Isla Johnston had a long tussle with ¾ seed from Glasgow Zoe Tait, eventually taking the match 17-21,21-17,21-19.
In the semi Isla came up against number 2 seed Emma Joshua (Lothian) and this match was just as close but this time Emma was the winner 15-21,21-17, 21-17.
Emma then had to take on top seed Akshara Chavan (Glasgow) in the final – this was again a 3 set match with Emma taking the victory 18-21, 21-16, 21-15.
Boy’s Doubles Round Up
7 pairs contested the boys doubles. The top pairs went through to the A knock-out with Nathan and Calum proving too strong for all opposition winning the final against Drew Murdoch & Kaliq Rafiddi (G&NS) 21-11, 21-18.
The B final was contested by 2 Highland pairs and followed the first rule of badminton tournaments where the last match of the day always goes to 3 sets. Donald Coull & Liam Sinclair were the winners defeating Dhaill Mackay and Finlay Mcdonald 18-21, 21-15, 21-18.
Girl’s Doubles Round Up
With 4 pairs in the girls doubles, this was played as a single pool and so finished slightly earlier. Emma Joshua continued her good form by pairing up with Zoe Tait to win the event although they did take 3 sets to defeat second seeds Lexie Boland & Sophie Mackay. Lexie & Sophie however did not manage to hold on to the runners up position as they were beaten by Highland pair Isla Johnston & Rose Christie.
Junior Inter Area Round Up
Everyone seemed to enjoy the event and many of the players just moved a few miles to the West to play again on Sunday in the Junior Inter Area event at the Sir Craig Reedie Centre.
SSBU had been hoping that with the new larger areas more teams might be able to take part but on this occasion, West were unable to find a team and in fact had to loan a couple of players to Lanark who were also struggling to find players. The event was only able to go ahead since Highland were able to field a team.
As expected, the Glasgow & North Strathclyde and Lothian teams proved to be much stronger than the other 2 teams with both teams scoring 10-0 victories over Highland. Lanark, however, managed to win 3 games against Glasgow and 2 against Lothian with Layla Shaw winning all her matches. Despite this Highland took third place with a 6-4 victory in the tie between the teams.
So the deciding match was the tie between the Lothian and G&NS teams. Lothian got off to a good start winning both mixed events, but Glasgow fought back taking both boys singles although Dylan Jia put up a great show against Calum Tsang before losing in 46 minutes with a score of 18-21, 21-19, 21-19 in Calum’s favour.
Glasgow managed to win one more tie with Neev Lukhi & Nathan Wong defeating Aryan Anirhuddan & Anton Valanraj 21-14, 21-12 in the 2nd boys doubles – with a 7-3 scoreline there was no need to decide how to decide the winner of a 5-5 drawn match!
The inter areas are very much enjoyed by those who take part, and it would be a shame if these have to be discontinued because of the small number of teams entering.
SSBU now look forward to events in the new year and wish all players and parents a relaxing and happy Christmas and New Year.
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