Cornwall’s top badminton players once again made the long trip to Cheltenham for the second weekend of the season, this time to take on table-topping Oxfordshire and the team from Jersey.
Left to right - Richard Townsend, Tyler Sillifant, Liam Sillifant, Amy Polglase, James Whetter, Vicki Thomas, Guy Michell, Bronwen Wotton, Ross Lashbrook, Jo Philp
Going into the first match versus Jersey, the opening men’s singles saw the Sillifant brothers, Liam and Tyler, and the experienced James Whetter, take on their opponents. Tyler was up against ex England international Mark Constable, who stunned the crowd with his skilful delayed shots and accuracy, and ran out a comfortable winner. Liam too, playing the strong second Jersey singles man, also found it difficult and lost in two ends, whereas James won his singles in two relatively easy ends to give Cornwall’s first success. In the women’s singles, Amy Polglase fought hard to take her game to 3 ends, and just ran out of steam in the final game, followed by Vicki Thomas losing in 2 to a quick, youthful opponent.
Being 4-1 down after the singles gave a mountain to climb for the Cornish team, and the men’s doubles followed, pitching Jersey’s Mark Constable and partner against Ross Lashbrook and Richard Townsend, seemingly with little hope against this top player. Ross and Richard had other ideas and stunned the Jersey men by taking the first end, before narrowly losing in the third – a very creditable performance. James and Guy Michell took on the next pair, with Jersey only needing 1 victory to win the match, but they were thwarted by James and Guy who used all their skills and power to win the game in 3 thrilling ends.
Cornwall’s women then did the county proud, by both winning their games – Bronwen Wotton and Jo Philp looking particularly strong, while Amy and Vicki after narrowly losing the first end came storming back to win the next two, to make the match 5-4 to Jersey going into the final two games of mixed.
Top Cornish pair Ross and Bronwen comfortably won their game as predicted to put the match on a knife edge at 5-5, with all the pressure on Guy and Jo in the last game, and everyone watching on the edge of their seats. The first end went to Jersey, but Guy and Jo battled hard to just take the second, leaving the decider to come. This was another thriller, seesawing both ways before Jersey sealed it at 21-19 and took the match overall 6-5.
After that fighting performance, the tiring Cornwall team faced top of the table Oxfordshire, and this proved a match too far. The men’s singles all went Oxfordshire’s way, but the Cornish girls dug deep, and Jo had an excellent victory in her singles, while Amy fell agonisingly short in the third, losing unluckily 22-20.
This time there was no stirring comeback against some very tough opponents – the doubles were all won by Oxfordshire, despite James and Guy coming very close in just losing an end 30-28, and Amy and Vicki taking their game all the way, before finally losing out. The victory was emphatically sealed in the mixed as both Cornish pairs lost out, to give the final match score 10-1 to Oxfordshire.
Although the scores went against them, this young team can be very proud of the first game’s result and in battling hard with a great team spirit throughout the day, and look forward to the final weekend in January.
1st team – Tyler Sillifant, Liam Sillifant, James Whetter, Ross Lashbrook, Guy Michell, Richard Townsend, Amy Polglase, Jo Philp, Bronwen Wotton, Vicki Thomas, (missing through illness Milo Semonin)