Cornwall’s top badminton players have just returned from a hugely successful weekend playing in Badminton England’s regional championships to end a thrilling season. The 1st team travelled to Bristol sitting in the relegation zone of their division and needing all the points they could get in their three matches.
What a team! The 2nd team secured a well-deserved promotion in their division in Torquay after another dominant display – match report to follow. First up for the top team on Saturday was Hampshire, and all three Cornish men stormed to victory in the singles, with Tyler and Liam Sillifant and James Whetter looking strong and purposeful, matched by Cara Collins in the first women’s singles slot seeing off her opponent skilfully. Although Kellen Moore was beaten in two battling ends, a 4-1 lead was a very healthy start. It got even better after that as both men’s and women’s doubles pairs won their games, James and Guy Michell digging in and winning in three, and a new pairing of Tom Lyle and Liam impressing in their first outing. The established pair of Kellen and Amy Polglase did well to come back from an end down, and another new pair of Cara and Amy Cox were far too strong for the Hampshire second pair.
Guy and James take no prisoners
That left the two mixed games, and Guy and Bronwen had an excellent victory in three ends, followed by Tom and Amy Cox combining well for the first time, to make the overall match score an impressive 10-1 to Cornwall.
This gave a confidence boost for the next match versus a strong Dorset team. The top men’s singles produced one of the best games of the weekend as Tyler took on a talented Dorset man, both players incredibly fast and consistent around the court. Tyler was very unlucky to narrowly lose in the third end in a game that could have gone either way. Older brother Liam then won the second singles in three entertaining ends, and Cornwall’s stalwart James looked imperious in winning his game. The Cornish women’s singles both went the Duchy’s way as Cara and Kellen outplayed the much-fancied Dorset women, giving another great lead of 4-1 going into the doubles.
James and Guy, and Tom and Liam once again took their opposition apart in two very satisfying games, and although Kellen and Amy Polglase just lost to an unbeaten Dorset pair despite winning one end, Cara and Amy Cox triumphed for the second time to win in two.
The mixed was a step too far for the Cornish pairs, although Guy and Bronwen came agonisingly close after taking one end and only just losing the third. Tom and Amy Cox fought hard but lost in two, and the match finished with another excellent victory 7-4 to Cornwall.
Brian puts back some energy post match
The next day it was all to play for with Cornwall now safe from relegation and sitting on the same number of points as their rivals in third place.
The last match was against an experienced Somerset side who had also performed well all weekend. Yet again the Cornish boys stamped their authority on the game with three fine wins. Tyler was particularly impressive in a dominant display, Liam dug deep to turn around a shaky start, followed by James taking another scalp in his long successful career. Cara could not quite match her strong opponent despite some impressive retrieving but Kellen showed confidence and grit to outlast her opponent, to give the match score a familiar 4-1 look.
Then it was situation normal with James and Guy winning in two, and Tom and Liam getting going in the last two ends to victory – meaning that James and Liam had 100% records for the weekend. Both Somerset pairs were too strong for the Cornish girls, Kellen and Amy Polglase, and a new pairing of Bronwen and Amy Cox, and so Cornwall went into the mixed knowing that they needed at least one win to secure an amazing promotion as there were three teams in contention on the same points.
Thank you loyal supporters
Things started badly as Guy and Bronwen were edged out by a very experienced pair leaving all hopes pinned on Tom and Cara to pull off what looked like a miracle.
They stormed to a lead in the first end but Somerset battled back taking the second end so it all come down inevitably to the final end of the whole season – seesawing both ways, after several match points the Cornish pair triumphed to the delight of the whole team and their loyal supporters. Promotion won by a single point – a fitting end to an exciting season for this talented team.
They did it!
Cornwall 1st team – Tyler Sillifant (Launceston), Liam Sillifant (Launceston), James Whetter (St Austell), Guy Michell (St Austell), Tom Lyle (Launceston), Cara Collins (Liskeard), Kellen Moore (Camborne), Amy Polglase (Camborne), Bronwen Wotton (Camborne), Amy Cox (Falmouth).
Successful athletes fuel down