Saturday 29 November 2014

Dorset 3 vs Cornwall 2

Following a promising first match dispatching a talented Avon team, the Cornish team were keen to capitalise on a good start to the season against Dorset 3 away. For reasons unknown, Cornwall arrived at the venue ready for a 12.30pm start, only to be informed that the match was scheduled for a 12pm kick off.  Traveling separately was Kahoo, arriving a whole hour late (a new record), believing the match to start at 1pm. Fortunately the opposition showed commendable sporting spirit, not penalising Cornwall for the late start and the match started without any further delay. 

As tradition dictates, the match started off with singles. On form youngster Liam Sillifant swiftly dispatched his opposition in two ends, with Sam Spencer losing marginally in two close games. Ladies followed suit, with Beth Wotton winning in two and Hester Luke losing to Dorset’s number one singles in a tight decider.
The Cornish ladies saw Beth team up with Linda Beer and club mates Vicki Thomas playing with Hester Luke. The first pairing notched another rubber, Vicki & Hester beating the Dorset second pairing. An unfortunate turn of events saw Linda pick up an injury during the first doubles and despite the injury made an amicable effort in both rubbers but unfortunately losing both. Our strength in men's doubles saw both Rich Townsend & Dave Harrington and Kahoo and Sam Spencer winning all four men's comfortably. With a 7-5 lead heading into the mixed, Cornwall were determined to win all rubbers and bag maximum points. 

A late substitution for injured Linda saw Hester team up with Rich - with Rich’s variation of shots and Hester’s power play they beat the Dorset first pair in two ends. Established pairing Kahoo and Vicki were next up. In contrast to Vicki’s warning that she wasn't playing particularly well during the match, Kahoo spent the majority of the first game as a spectator whilst Vicki dominated the opposition with great vision and accurate shots. The duo swiftly swept aside Dorset in two ends, keeping our hopes of achieving a three point victory. The scratch pairing of Liam and Beth couldn't quite keep up with the opposition and despite the advantage of youth behind them a lack of experience forced the pair to accept defeat under pressure.

With another win in the bag, the Cornwall 2nds left Dorset pleased with the win, but also acknowledging that improvements will need to be made in order to obtain the elusive promotion spot this season.

Thanks to the team and Sue Cooper for organising the county match.

Monday 17 November 2014

Cornwall 1st team march on

The best badminton players in Cornwall extending their lead at the top of the South West Division with a fine home win over Wiltshire, at Carn Brea Leisure Centre at the weekend.

With a full strength team for the first time this season, and 2 wins out of 2 to date, Cornwall went into the match full of confidence. The men’s singles did not disappoint, with James Whetter accounting for his opponent in 2 clinical ends, although number 1 Shane Marriott had to dig deep to see off his promising young challenger in 3 hard fought ends. For the women’s singles, it was honours even – Rose Willis was her usual consistent self in winning comfortably in two ends, and Emily James just lost after an amazing first end which went to the rarely seen maximum score of 29-30.

With that good start Cornwall were leading 3-1 going into the doubles, and the men set about their games in fighting spirit – taking on the Wiltshire second pair proved relatively easy for both Shane and Ross Lashbrook, and James and Guy Michell, but the Wiltshire first pair proved elusive for both Cornish pairs – both going the distance, but losing out.

It was down to the girls to save the day, and they won all four games, much to their credit. Jo Philp and Bronwen Wotton had a close fought tussle with the first pair, but came from behind to win, and beat the second pair with relative ease, as did Emily and Rose. Emily and Rose then went on to defeat the first pair, showing great grit and determination against awkward opponents.

So the match was won going into the mixed doubles, but the home team were after the maximum three points, and swept Wiltshire aside in all three games with power and precision, to secure a great victory to keep them on top of the table.

Congratulations to Rose, Bronwen and Jo for 100% results this time, and to all the players for their fantastic team spirit and commitment.

Team: Shane Marriott, James Whetter, Ross Lashbrook, Guy Michell, Emily James, Rose Willis, Bronwen Wotton, Jo Philp.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

A Bonanza of Badminton

Over 65 badminton players from all over Cornwall joined visitors from Plymouth and North Devon, at the 8 court Sir Ben Ainslie Sports Centre at the weekend to take part in Cornwall Badminton Association’s latest Bonanza.

The idea of Badminton Bonanza tournaments is to give both social players and those who play league badminton a chance to try out and develop their skills against different players. The many regulars were joined this time by some very welcome new faces, some playing in a tournament for the first time, as the Bonanza goes from strength to strength, with any profits going towards developing new clubs in Cornwall.
This year’s tournament at Truro was another great success, with some close fought battles in all the 5 different disciplines. Cornish players dominated in all the social events, with the league finals being split between Cornwall and players from North Devon.
The social section gave the chance for the local players to shine as they triumphed in the men’s and ladies’ singles, men’s and ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles. The league events were more evenly split, with Devon competitors taking the ladies and mixed titles, and Cornwall’s athletes taking both singles and the men’s doubles.  

More photos here: Truro School 2014 Bonanza
League men’s singles – winner Steve Ellis, runner up Sean Havis
Ladies singles – winner Kassy Bull, runner up Tamsin Knuckey
Social men’s singles  - winner Martin Penney, runner up Mark Griffiths
Ladies singles – winner Sanaa Roth, runner up Fiona Jackson
League men’s doubles – winners Alex Smith/Gary Braunton, runners up Steve Ellis/Richard O’Byrne
League ladies doubles – winners Mandy Raasch Sotinwa/Carol Kingdon, runners up Kay Bossenger/Wendy Horam
Social ladies doubles – winners Zelda Bennett/Marnie Boston, runners up Fiona Jackson/Simone Green

Social men's doubles - winners Martin Penney/Russell Tucker. runners up- Mark Griffith/Peter Rhodes
League mixed doubles – winners Marcus Symons/Mandy Raasch Sotinwa, runners up Steve Ellis/Kay Bossenger
Social mixed doubles – winners Mark Griffiths/Zelda Bennett, runners up Martin Penney/Marnie Boston

Saturday 8 November 2014

Cornwall 2 vs Avon 3

Sunday 26th October saw the start of a new campaign for Cornwall 2nd Team in Division 6 South West of the Senior County Championships. Having narrowly missed out on promotion to the ‘promised land’ (Division 5) for a number of seasons, the team were looking for a winning start to the season against an Avon 3rd team who had achieved a resounding 12-3 victory against Dorset 3rd Team in their first encounter of the season two weeks previously.

As always, proceedings were opened with the Men’s and Ladies’ Singles, with Cornwall represented by the Luke sisters, Hester and Daphne in the Ladies and by Liam Sillifant and Dave Harrington in the Men’s – Liam making his first appearance for a senior county team following a number of excellent performances in pre-season trials and tournaments.

Cornwall were given an fantastic start, with Hester’s power and precision around the net proving too much for Becky Cox, representing Avon in the number one singles slot. Despite a rally from Cox in the second end, Hester won 21-8, 21-18, crucially conserving energy for the doubles games to come.
Meanwhile both Men’s Singles were in progress, with Liam taking on Aiden Gibbons and Dave up against David Bailey. Unfortunately for Dave, the agile Bailey proved to be very mobile which, teamed with his sharp net play, made for a tough match. Despite recovering from a poor start, Dave was unable to string together enough points to take the win and went down 21-14, 21-17 – a creditable effort against a tough opponent. With the match now level at 1-1, Liam’s game was also in the balance. The young Launceston BC player’s opponent (Gibbons) has been selected for the Ireland Under-19 squad and would prove a tough opponent on Liam’s debut appearance. In spite of this, Liam started strongly and took the first game with an array of precise smashes and tumbling net shots. The next two games were a veritable ‘to-and-fro’ affair, with some excellent net play and outstanding recovery shots from both players. Unfortunately for Cornwall, the tournament-hardened Gibbons was able to edge the second game, and a good run of points when locked at 15-15 in the final end saw him take the match 18-21, 21-19, 21-15. Despite the defeat, it was an impressive debut performance from Liam who no doubt has a bright future ahead of him with the county teams.
The second Ladies’ Singles match saw Daphne pitted against the experienced Eve Morgan. In a difficult match with some long rallies and superb retrieval around the net, Morgan’s experience eventually told and, despite Daphne’s best efforts, ran out a 21-13, 21-14 winner.
Facing a 3-1 deficit going into the Level Doubles, some strong performances were needed to turn the tables and the team were confident that they could deliver. Representing Cornwall in the Ladies’ Doubles were the all-Mount’s Bay BC pairing of Hester and Vicki Thomas and the all Callington BC pairing of Lynda Beer and Jan Santillo. The pairings for the Men’s Doubles were Rich Townsend and Dave Harrington, reprising last year’s regular partnership, and Kahoo Tse and Sam Spencer, who also represented the second team together on a couple of occasions last year.

The first round of Ladies Doubles saw two tense matches, both of which went to three ends. Vicki and Hester were pushed all the way in their game against Morgan and partner Becci Scott, their match being one of the longest of the day. In a game which ebbed and flowed throughout, the Cornish ladies did well to recover from the disappointment of losing a close second end to triumph in the third, sealing a 22-20, 23-25, 21-19 victory. Lynda and Jan, resuming their partnership after a season’s break, had a similarly even encounter with Cox and partner Penny Scott. With the power of Scott in particular proving a handful, Lynda and Jan played well and took the first end. The next two ends saw a number of gruelling rallies and some excellent badminton from all concerned, but Lynda and Jan were unfortunately unable to secure the second end needed for the win and the Avon pair ran out 17-21, 21-17, 21-15 winners.

The first Men’s match-ups saw some similarly close and entertaining matches. Dave and Rich took on Will Hollis and Darren Wong in a match which saw Hollis’s powerful smash and Wong’s dogged defence provide an interesting contrast to Dave’s fast, flat game and Rich’s touch around the net. Several long runs of points on serve were had by both pairings and although Dave and Rich did their best to squander an 8 point lead in the final end with some shaky serving, their determination and ‘Lleyton Hewitt like’ tenacity (and shouting) sealed a 21-16, 19-21, 21-18 win for the Cornish team. Kahoo and Sam, meanwhile, were taking on the youthful Gibbons and Bailey. Although the Cornish pair, with Kahoo’s attacking power and excellent defence acting as an effective foil to Sam’s deft drop shots and deception, seemed to form a better partnership than the two singles-orientated players in the Avon pairing, a momentary lapse in concentration allowed the sharp Avon pairing to steal the first end. However, Kahoo and Sam did not allow this setback to affect them and roared back into the contest in the second and third ends and sealed another win in three ends – 20-22, 21-17, 21-17.

The second round of doubles matches did not prove to be as close as the first. Vicki and Hester continued their impressive form against Cox and P. Scott, who seemed intent on playing the shuttle to Vicki for much of the game, despite her consistently solid performance. Vicki and Hester led for most of the first end and, having edged past the Avon pair in setting, asserted their dominance in the second end, having an excellent run of points at the start of the game and taking the overall win 22-20, 21-12. In the final Ladies’ Doubles, Lynda and Jan had a tough match against the experienced Morgan and the attacking net play of B. Scott. Despite a great effort from Lynda and Jan, the Avon pair also played well, making very few unforced errors and took a 21-18, 21-14 win for their team.

The final Men’s Doubles matches were thankfully a little more of a formality than the first round. After an error-strewn first end which Dave and Rich were lucky to win, they produced a far more competent performance in the second, with consistent serving from Rich allowing Dave to pounce on any weak returns at the back and stretch out a good lead in the second game. This improved consistency allowed the Cornish pair to nullify the Avon youngsters’ excellent defence and retrieval and sealed a 24-22, 21-14 win. Kahoo and Sam found their form in similar fashion in their second match, producing a variety of shots which proved very effective against the smash and drive oriented game of Hollis and Wong. Never really troubled in either game, Kahoo and Sam completed a straight two end win, 21-18, 21-15 – a win which also completed an excellent clean sweep in the Men’s Doubles.

With the doubles complete and the match score at 7-5 to Cornwall following a great comeback in the Level Doubles, one rubber was needed from the Mixed Doubles to seal the match win. If the team could take all three Mixed then they would come away from the fixture with the full three points. The Mixed saw Lynda and Rich take on B. Scott and Gibbons, Vicki and Kahoo up against Cox and Wong and Jan and Sam playing P. Scott and Hollis. With both sides needing to take all three matches to gain extra points, all of the matches were very hard-fought. 

Kahoo and Vicki, having formed an effective partnership in pre-season, had the best of their match despite the best efforts of Cox and Wong. With both Kahoo and Vicki displaying great court coverage and retrieval, they took the rubber 21-17 21-18 to give Cornwall an unassailable 8-5 lead in the fixture and secure at least two points from the match. Jan and Sam also put in an admirable performance, especially given their being a scratch pairing with little to no practice together. Up against the powerful P. Scott and Hollis pairing, they controlled the game well, counteracting the power of their opposition by slowing down the play. After a straightforward first end, the second was far closer, with some excellent badminton played by both pairings – thankfully for Cornwall Jan and Sam held their nerve to take the game and the rubber 21-11, 24-22. Hopes of securing three points from the fixture now rested with Lynda and Rich, taking on the strong pairing of B. Scott and Gibbons. In a match reflective of the standard of badminton played across the whole fixture, it was nip and tuck all the way through, with the Callington BC club mates recovering a 3 or 4 point deficit on a number of occasions. Unfortunately for the Cornish team, and despite Lynda and Rich having a number of game points in both ends, the Avon pair triumphed in two agonisingly close ends – 24-22, 25-23.

With the Mixed Doubles over the fixture had been concluded with a final score of 9-6 to Cornwall. The match had seen some excellent badminton from both sides and had proved to be a great showcase of skill and teamwork. Although possibly a little disappointed at not securing all three points, the Cornwall team will be very pleased with a good start to the season against tough opposition and will be looking to carry their form into the next fixture against Dorset 3rd Team on 23rd November.

Thanks of course go to the selectors for their efforts in organising the fixture, to the Avon team for a match played in excellent spirit and to everyone who gave up their time to attend the match and support the team.

Ladies – Lynda Beer, Daphne Luke, Hester Luke, Jan Santillo, Vicki Thomas.
Men – Dave Harrington, Liam Sillifant, Sam Spencer, Rich Townsend, Kahoo Tse.

Monday 3 November 2014

Two epic wins and a carvery: Cornwall 1 top the League

Cornwall 1st team have started their 2014/15 campaign with a bang after pulling off two epic early season victories and topping South West Division 4.

The first match of the season saw Cornwall take on Dorset in Bournemouth. James Whetter kicked off the singles with a convincing win whilst Shane took only slightly longer to dispose of his opponent in 3 ends. It looked like we would go 3/0 up in the singles when Emily James won the first end against a youngster from Dorset but was unable to sustain a solid lead in the second end. Cornwall found themselves equal at 2 all after Jo Philp couldn’t quite match the strength of her opponent.

In the doubles, Cornwall ladies struggled against some deceptive and consistent Dorset ladies but Jo and Bron Wotton managed to pick up a win in a tight 3 ender. After James and Guy Michell were also overpowered by Dorset’s number 1 pair things were looking bleak as Dorset hurtled to a 6/3 lead and a guaranteed league point. Cornwall had a lot of work to do and no room for error. However, in typical Cornish style the boys rose to the occasion and picked up all 3 remaining doubles matches. A particularly steely performance from recently crowned County Champions Ross Lashbrook, and Shane Marriott took the score to 6 all as we entered the battleground of the mixed doubles. The mixed doubles started well as Guy and Vicki Thomas quickly dispatched of the Dorset third pair with some clinical and well thought out play. Tensions rose as Bron and Ross narrowly missed out in a hard fought 3 ender and it was all down to Jo and Shane to secure the final deciding rubber. The Cornish pair stayed composed and just clinched a tight 21/19 win.

Two weeks later Cornwall 1s were able to replicate this victory following a long trip to Buckinghamshire, who are a new addition to their league. After some mixed performances, Cornwall once again entered the mixed doubles on an even score line of 6 all, but once again producing some solid mixed, obliterated Bucks in all 3 matches to end the match with a 9/6 win.

After a disappointing lack of refreshments provided by both the Dorset and Buckinghamshire teams, it has been up to the Cornish side to search high and low for the best carvery the A35 has to offer. Following their first victory, and a quick detour made by Sue’s car to deliver a suspicious looking package under the guise of ‘flapjacks’, hopes of finding a carvery to satiate the appetites of the Cornish team were looking bleak, with those in James’ car resorting to eating a) a fake Worthers’ Original and b) a Polo. However, after the initial disappointment of discovering that the popular ‘Coach and Horses’ had decommissioned the delicious carvery enjoyed by the Cornish team last year, their incredibly specific food-related demands were eventually satisfied. However, it was the following week that we were finally able to relive the wonderful carvery of Sally Pussey’s Inn, where innuendos were buried in succulent joints, golden roast potatoes and delicious Yorkshire Puddings. It remains to be seen whether any road-side eateries will come even close to Sally’s this season.

Watch this space for more updates on Cornwall’s campaign for promotion and post-match Carvery reviews.

Team: Shane Marriott, James Whetter, Guy Michell, Ross Lashbrook, Kahoo Tse, Emily James, Jo Philp, Bron Wotton, Vicki Thomas, Jan Santillo

Emily James, Match Reporter, November 2014