Sunday 29 March 2015

Cornwall Badminton 1st team complete the season in style

The top Cornish badminton players took on Buckinghamshire who had made the long trip to Polkyth Leisure Centre at the weekend in the last match of the season. Cornwall, having only lost 2 matches all season, were looking to finish with a victory to keep them high up the south west league table and keep hot on the heels of promotion rivals Devon.

The men set off at a canter, winning both the mens' singles – Shane Marriott recovered well from losing a closely fought first end to wear his tiring opponent down with superior fitness in the next two, and James Whetter took little time to comfortably see off his opponent in two ends.Jo Philp used her power and whole court game to good effect to win her singles in two, but in the number 1 slot Emily James was beaten by a skilful young opponent, to leave the Cornwall team with a 3-1 advantage going into the doubles.

Bucks were a lady short, and had to give away 2 ladies doubles, so both Cornish pairs tackled the remaining pair with mixed results. Jo and Bronwen Wotton displayed their usual battling skills, and despite losing the first end narrowly, rallied and took the final two with much to spare. Emily and Lynda Beer had the opposite experience and were out powered in two.

It was a different story in the mens doubles, where the visitors had no answer to Cornwall’s speed, power and excellent defensive work, and all 4 games were won easily by the pairings of Shane and Ross Lashbrook, and James and Guy Michell, capping a fine season for the Cornish men.

With the match well and truly won going into the mixed doubles, each of the three home pairs aimed to pick up maximum points against their tiring opponents. James and Jo at number one made short work of their game, dominating the court, whereas Cornwall’s number 2 pair of Ross and Bronwen struggled to make any headway against an experienced husband and wife team, leaving Guy and Lynda to finish the match off in style with another fine win.

Congratulations to Shane, James, Guy and Jo for their 100% success in the match, and to the whole team for a great season of commitment and excellent badminton, as we look forward to next year’s challenge.

Team: Shane Maton, James Whetter, Ross Lashbrook, Guy Michell, Emily James, Jo Philp, Bronwen Wotton, Lynda Beer.

Match result: Cornwall 12 – Buckinghamshire 3

Division 4 SW table

Match Report – Cornwall 2nd vs Avon 3rd

Hengrove Park Leisure Centre, Sunday 22nd March 2015

After a chastening defeat at the hands of Avon Third Team, Cornwall Second Team could be forgiven for seeking solace in the famous words of Samuel Beckett. Indeed, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.Try again. Fail  again. Fail  better” would seem to provide an apt description of the fortunes of the Cornish side in the recent years, with the 2014-15 incarnation being unable to claim the single point required from this fixture – consigning them to yet another near miss in their quest to win Division 6South West. The team travelled fully aware of the task which confronted them and the tension and atmosphere at the Hengrove Park Leisure Centre did not disappoint, with a large crowd (for a badminton match) in attendance.  A few  new  faces  (for  season  2014/15)  represented  Cornwall  on  this  occasion,  with promising youngsters Amy Polglase and Kellen Moore stepping in, alongside Tony Clark.

Proceedings started well for Cornwall in the men’s singles, with Sam Spencer recovering superbly from a poor first end to wear down the powerful Will Hollis and take the first point for Cornwall with a11-21, 21-17, 21-10 win. Unfortunately this proved to be a false dawn. Liam Sillifant, taking on the talented left-hander Aidan Gibbons, put up an excellent fight but faded in the final end to slip to a 13-21, 21-17, 12-21 defeat. In the ladies’ singles, a somewhat fractured match between Hester Luke and Kwon Yoongeun, in which both players went on long runs of point-scoring, narrowly went the way of the Avon player 8-21, 21-18, 18-21. Likewise, a spirited performance from Kellen was unfortunately not enough to overcome the consistent Lauren Ashley, who took the win 16-21, 18-21.

Despite trailing 3-1 after the singles, Cornwall were still confident of pushing their score towards the magic 6 rubbers in the Level  Doubles. However,  what was to follow turned out  to be a veritable nightmare for the Cornish team. The added pressure of the promotion decider and intense play from the Avon pairs saw all of the Cornish pairs perform below the standard of which they know they are capable.

In the Ladies’ Doubles, the usually reliable pairing of Hester and Vicki Thomas were unable to find their usual consistency, losing their first match against Kwon and Ashley 12-21, 6-21 before rallying a little at the start of their second match against Rebecca Scott and Clara Fitzpatrick-Milton which they unfortunately went on to lose 22-20, 12-21, 9-21. Amy and Kellen fared a little better, being unlucky to lose their first match against Scott and Milton 21-13, 17-21, 19-21, before putting on a much better performance to win against Kwon and Ashley 21-14, 11-21, 21-7.

The Men’s Doubles, usually reliable point scorers for Cornwall, saw the team fare even worse. Kahoo Tse and Liam formed Cornwall’s first pairing and despite taking the first end against the dogged Hollis and Adam Parr, lost 21-18, 19-21, 20-22. The Cornish lads were also on the wrong end of a three ender against Avon’s second pairing of Giibbons and David Bailey. A good end sandwiched between two poor ones saw the away team lose 6-21, 22-20, 10-21. The other Men’s pairing, East Cornwall based Rich Townsend and Tony Clark, did not fare any better. After a slow start against Gibbons and Bailey, Rich and Tony contrived to throw away a number of game points in the second end and lost 13-21,  26-28.  Despite  an  improved  performance against  Hollis  and Parr,  the Cornwall  pair  were unable to close games out, despite being ahead in all three ends, and lost 21-17, 16-21, 18-21.

With only the mixed remaining, and the prospect of promotion already snatched away due to the 10-2 scoreline, the Cornish team were playing for pride. Thankfully the team lived up to the county’s strong Mixed Doubles reputation and put in a far better performance to limit the extent of their defeat. Taking on the formidable pairing of Scott and Gibbons, Kahoo and Vicki were unlucky to lose 21-13, 17-21,16-21 in a fast and frantic game. The Cornish second pair of Rich and Amy, despite having never played together, steadily improved throughout their match – sealing a 23-21, 21-13 win against Ashley
and Hollis. The final match was a real nail-biter, with the majority of both teams watching the final end.Thankfully for the Cornish team, Sam and Kellen showed the composure the team had perhaps been lacking for the rest of the day to edge a close third end and take the final rubber 19-21, 21-13, 24-22.

With the match complete and the score standing at 11-4 to Avon, Cornwall had agonisingly missed out on  winning Division 6  South  West  yet  again,  although credit  should  go to  Avon for  a  relentless performance which  prevented  the Cornish  team from settling until  it  was  too late.  However,  the Cornish team are bound to look back on their record of winning only 3 of the 11 three-end matches in this fixture and wonder what might have been – maybe they will have to accept the home advantage and support helped Avon to keep their composure a little better on the big occasion. Despite the disappointment, a restructuring of the county leagues next year is likely to see Cornwall playing  a  few new teams,  which  will  present  a  welcome change and challenge for  the team. In reflecting on the near misses of the last few years, perhaps the last word in comforting the Cornish team should be left  not  to Samuel  Beckett,  but  to fellow literary luminary C. S.  Lewis:  “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward towards success...”

Ladies – Hester Luke, Kellen Moore, Amy Polglase, Vicki Thomas.
Men – Tony Clark, Liam Sillifant, Sam Spencer, Rich Townsend, Kahoo Tse.

Friday 27 March 2015

Cornwall’s Badminton Champions

Cornwall’s veteran badminton players have recently finished a very successful season, and will be off to Loughborough to play against the top national teams next month, on April 25th and 26th, having won the South West league.

The team of over 65 year olds swept away two Avon and Gloucestershire teams, Devon, Wiltshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight to win their division in style.  

The mixed doubles pairs of Captain Brian Hannibal and Celia Hillman, and Bill Edgar and Pat Edwards remained unbeaten all season, and overall this was a great team effort and a notable achievement for Cornwall badminton.

The vets team were already riding high by winning the annual Masters Challenge competition, held in January in Bournemouth, where all the south west counties get together for a weekend of keenly fought badminton, not to mention dinner and dancing. Not only are the vets best at the badminton, their moves conquered the dance floor too. 

This time, the over 65s beat the rival counties of Dorset, the Isle of Wight and Buckinghamshire.

The over 65 team is – Brian Hannibal, Phil Oland, Bill Edgar, Celia Hillman, Pat Edwards, Christine Smith.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Cornwall v Devon – top of the table clash

Cornwall’s top badminton team took on visiting rivals Devon at the weekend at Polkyth Leisure Centre, hoping to avenge their 9-6 defeat before Christmas, and resplendent in new One and All shirts.

The Cornish team, without their number 1 singles player Shane Maton, and the experienced Rose Willis, struggled in the singles. Despite good efforts from James Whetter, young Liam Sillifant, Emily James and Jo Philp, the Devon team had a strong lead of 5-0 going into the doubles.

The established pair of James and Guy Michell stormed into the lead in the first mens and held on to take a fine victory over a talented pair, with excellent defence and lightening quick attack. Next game up saw a new pairing of Ross Lashbrook and Richard Townsend, who fought all the way to take an exciting three ender by a narrow margin. Both pairs then lost their other mens doubles, meaning that Devon only needed one more game to win the match.

The ladies doubles also saw some fine games – Jo and Bronwen Wotton playing particularly well and complementing each other to win both their games in three ends, despite losing each of the opening games, their fighting spirit and good tactics gave them well deserved victories. Emily and Lynda Beer came close in their opening game but found both Devon pairs just too strong.So although Devon had won the match by this time, the Cornish team were determined to do well in the mixed doubles and earn at least a point. 

James and Jo duly obliged at first mixed, winning their game in two ends of exhibition mixed, reviving their old partnership. Ross and Bronwen pushed the second pair all the way, and were unlucky to lose, which left Guy and Lynda to finish the match off in style, winning another close three ender and securing the vital point for the league position.

The result, 9-6 again to Devon, leaves Cornwall second in the table with one last home match, versus Buckinghamshire to go, on Saturday 28th March, when Cornwall aim to finish their successful season with a resounding victory.

Team – James Whetter, Guy Michell, Ross Lashbrook, Richard Townsend, Jo Philp, Emily James, Bronwen Wotton, Lynda Beer.