Last weekend - 10th/11th January 2015, saw the Annual Masters County Challenge tournament take place at the Sir David English sports centre in sunny Bournemouth.
It was a pleasant surprise to have both ourselves and the other Duchy Veterans team (O/65s) playing and accommodated in the same venues this year. Thus enabling us to support each other during the matches and enjoy each other's company during the social delights at the Marsham Court Hotel on the Fri and Sat evenings.
The O/50s team had 4 ties against Dorset, Surrey2, Devon, and Suffolk on the Saturday, and 2 on the Sunday against Somerset 2 and Sussex. The format was 1 each of ladies and mens doubles, and two mixed doubles - (4 rubbers per tie or match).
The first match on Saturday morning saw a strong Dorset team hit the ground running and they were victorious in all 4 encounters.
The mid-morning tussle against Surrey 2 saw a much improved Cornish performance, with Kath and Lorna and Adam and Jan securing our first 2 wins, and with it a much deserved overall draw in the end, and a boost for team morale.
Mid afternoon saw us step onto the courts against our historic arch enemies from across the Tamar (Devon). We could not have asked for a better start, with the level double pairings of Sue and Kath, and Danny (new boy on the block) and Brian bringing home the spoils for the Kernow crew. Adam and Jan continued the great form with a comfortable victory in their mixed game. Unfortunately, despite a gritty performance by Al and Lorna, it wasn't to be a clean sweep, but a great victory nevertheless, and one that kept a smile on all of our faces for the rest of the weekend.
With our tails up we went into the last match of the day at 5.30pm against Suffolk. It was honours even after the level doubles but sadly neither of the 2 Duchy mixed pairings could secure a victory.
In the evening, back at the Hotel, all the teams enjoyed a tasty meal with new friendships forged and old ones re-kindled. Whilst the moves on the dance floor easily surpassed those on the badminton courts during the day!
Sadly, on the Sunday morning at breakfast, Danny informed us that (due to personal reasons) he had to leave immediately to go up to London. Unfortunately this would mean that one rubber for each of remaining two ties against Somerset 2 and Sussex would be null and void. However, it wasn't a complete white-wash in either match with victories for Kath and Jan in the first game against Somerset 2, and Kath again, this time partnering up with Lorna in the last tie v Sussex.
Congratulations to Kath for her 100% result - though she did get to play level doubles all weekend! And a big pat on the back for the rest of the O/50s team for a fine performance that showed great team spirit.
Team: Adam Widdison, Allan Riggs, Brian Gilbert, Danny Gillman
Jan Santillo, Kath Wotton, Sue Biscoe, Lorna Riggs
Team Capt: Lorna Riggs