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Sports Psychology Boost For Players
31st December 2007

A number of Lancashire's most promising players and their parents were fortunate enough to attend a session run by sports psychologist, Damian Hughes, recently. Damian talked about motivation in sport and used simple activities to show how positive thinking and mental preparation can help improve performance.

He emphasised the importance of understanding what you want to achieve from playing sport, ensuring your goals are set not just at the highest 'outcome' level (e.g. I want to play for England) but also at a 'performance' level (e.g. I aim to beat Jo Smith by Christmas) and 'process' level (e.g. I will get a higher percentage of serves in today). Pinning all hopes and aspirations on the highest 'outcome' level (with no successes at the more achievable, shorter term, more plentiful goals) makes the journey arduous and stressful, and can leave you open to crushing disappointment if it does not happen.

Damian played football as a schoolboy for Nottingham Forest and England, and is involved with the current England Rugby League team.  Many thanks to Graham Salisbury for arranging the session, which took place on 28th November at Shevington High School.

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Damian Hughes addresses the group Positive thinking exercise Nicola Poole & Craig Eccleston  participate

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U16s At Rotherham
30th November 2007

Lancashire U16s were in action in Rotherham for the first leg of the North Midway League Tournament on 11th November. As was the case last year, the county invited 16 players to make up two teams, with a number of players moving up at least one if not two age ranges. Lancashire 1 were grouped with Leicestershire, Cheshire, Durham and Nottinghamshire; Lancashire 2 arguably had the harder task, drawn against Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Northumberland and Yorkshire

Lancashire 1

Michael Johnston Steph Hall
John-Gareth Phillips Jenny Salisbury
James Abdous Danya Lewis
Richard Walker Lisa Roberts

A blistering 10-0 win against Leicestershire got the team off to a flying start, and boosted the team’s confidence for the rest of the day, especially as this was the first outing for some of the doubles pairings.

Cheshire proved harder opponents, but Lancashire still came out on top 7-3, spurred on by a 21-3 win for Michael and 21-11 for Steph in 1st singles. In fact the boys made it four out of four with wins from Michael and Richard (21-16) and James and John-Gareth (21-8) in 1st and 2nd levels. Although the going got even tougher against a strong Durham side, the team worked hard to achieve a 6-4 victory, only losing by a couple of points in three of the tightly fought matches. Wins from Michael in 1st singles (21-8); Jenny in 2nd singles (21-11) and John-Gareth and James (21-11), supported by 21-17 wins from both Steph and Jenny and Lisa and Danya ensured that Lancs were in a strong position to claim the group stage with just Nottinghamshire to face. Against Nottinghamshire the strength of our singles players, who all came through with comfortable wins, laid the foundation for a 7-3 victory, and again only the narrowest of margins prevented this from being totally Lancashire’s day. In the doubles, Steph and Jenny (21-13) and James and Danya (21-12) demonstrated what the team is capable of, and justified the top spot in the group phase.

Lancashire 2

Daniel Myers Emma Karsten
Sam Artingstall Laura Watts
Josh Barnes Hannah Buckingham
Sam Clucas Rebecca Mayers

Not only did Lancashire 2 have some tough teams in their half of the draw, but they were also up against some strong individuals with a wealth of county experience under their belts. Although Warwickshire proved too hot to handle, Sam Artingstall (2nd singles), Laura (2nd singles) and Hannah and Rebecca (2nd levels) came close to snatching a couple of games from strong opponents. Against Derbyshire the boys got into their stride with wins for Daniel (21-14) and Sam Artingstall (21-18) in the singles, and Daniel and Sam Artingstall (21-12) and Josh Barnes and Sam Clucas (21-14) in the levels. It was harder going for the girls particularly against some established levels pairings, and the team narrowly lost out 4-6. Yorkshire were understandably a difficult nut to crack, and even though final tally was 8-2 in Yorkshire’s favour, wins from Sam Artingstall (21-15) and Sam Clucas and Rebecca (21-16) showed that as a county we have strength in depth, and some up-and-coming players who will be names to be reckoned with in the future. The final group stage match saw Lancashire 2 up against a strong Northumberland team, and although the game slipped away 3-7, good efforts from the boys, and a gritty performance from Emma and Laura in 1st levels made sure that Northumberland didn’t have it all their own way. Laura’s shriek of delight after closing out the 1st levels at 21-20 was a delight to observe! Regardless of success, every member of the second team was totally tuned-in, good natured, sporting and determined to the last, and clearly with an appetite for more opportunity to represent the county.

So ... that only leaves the minor issue of the winners of the group phase to face each other in the play off for the day’s final, and that meant Lancashire 1 against Yorkshire!

It was level pegging after two games: Michael having stamped his authority on the match with a 21-7 win over Ben Lambden, and John-Gareth fighting his way to a well-earned 21-16 victory over Andrew Peebles in 2nd singles. Emma Hainsworth and Harriet West were difficult opponents for Steph and Jenny in the singles, with the Lancashire girls losing out 14-21 and 11-21. At levels, the boys kept the Lancashire drumbeat going with wins for Michael and Richard (21-12) and James and John-Gareth (21-17). Steph and Jenny made amends for their singles slip-ups with a hard fought 21-18 win at 1st levels to take the game to an exciting 5-2 with just three games to play. At 2nd levels, Lisa and Danya came very close to bagging the match for Lancashire, only narrowly falling 18-21 to a strong Yorkshire pairing. James and Danya had a gruelling scrap at 1st mixed, but the game drifted away 13-21 to leave the score at 5-4 with Richard and Lisa already battling it out at 2nd mixed on the next court. They looked as if they were heading for a comfortable victory, but Yorkshire are never a team to give up without a terrific fight, and they clawed it back to 20-20. Down to literally the last point of the match, Richard calmly (and, thank goodness, correctly) judged a Yorkshire clear to be drifting out, and brought an exciting duel to a tremendous conclusion, and a final 6-4 (182 points to164) scoreline. Beating Yorkshire on their home turf just seemed to make the victory all the sweeter too!

The terrific enthusiasm and team spirit of everyone involved were a credit to the county and resulted in an end result particularly for Lancashire 1st that surpassed all expectations.  Well done to all the players, thank you to Angela Walker and Lindsey Watts for running the two teams on the day, and particularly to John Abdous for so successfully encouraging, motivating and coaching the Lancashire 1 players. Finally a big thank you to all the other parents and families for your support and chauffeuring duties!

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Graham Salisbury
Team Manager

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Restricted Tournaments
15th October 2007 

Lancashire held its three junior age group restricted events in September. 

Under 13

  Winners Runners Up
Boys singles Oliver Hives James Gregory
Girls Singles Terri Lee Holmes Caroline Dawid-Paluch
Boys Doubles Oliver Hives & James Gregory Michael Bebby & Alex Lam
Girls Doubles Caroline & Stephanie Dawid-Paluch Katie Dixon-Turner & Lauren Eyes
Mixed Doubles Oliver Hives & Caroline Dawid-Paluch James Gregory & Alice Zou

Some very good matches were played in the Under 13s, with Caroline Dawid-Paluch playing the best badminton in the girls. She won two events and came runner-up in the third. Caroline won the level doubles with sister Stephanie, who still has another two years at this age. The boys were dominated by Oliver Hives and James Gregory, with Oliver taking the best of the results on the day, winning all three of his events. Well done to everyone - remember that teams are made up of 4 to 6 players, so there are always places in county teams beyond the top couple of players.

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U13 Singles
Singles finalists Oliver Hives,
Terri Lee Holmes, Caroline
Dawid-Paluch and James Gregory
U13 Winners and Runners Up
Lauren Eyes, Katie Dixon-Turner,
James Gregory, Oliver Hives, Alice
Zou, Caroline Dawid-Paluch,
Stephanie Dawid-Paluch, Michael
Bebby, Alex Lam

Under 15

In the Under 15s Robbie McDonald won both the singles and level doubles, playing some very accomplished badminton. Robbie and partner Matthew Tolman were pushed all the way in their levels semi-final against Peter Athans & Daniel Myers, just edging a result 22-20. Peter got his reward in the mixed doubles, winning with Danya Lewis.

The girls events saw another player in the limelight, as Lisa Roberts won the singles and then partnered Danya to victory in the levels. Lisa & Danya won two events each on the day, a terrific performance. Rebecca Ashton and Emma-Louise Karsten also gave notable performances.

To see a full set of Under 15 results click here.

Under 17

The oldest of our junior age groups saw some extremely tight matches, particularly in the mixed doubles where 7 of the 10 games finished 21-17 or closer, with one game going to 27-25. Craig Eccleston & Nicola Poole just edged the winners award over James Abdous & Lizzie Balmforth. James showed that he is a very capable doubles player as he and partner Simon Tomlinson beat seeded pair Craig Eccleston & Liam Walsh in the group stage of the levels, before losing the final to Michael Johnston & Daniel Hart. Michael made that his second win of the day, also taking the singles with semi-final and final wins against Craig Eccleston and Liam Walsh respectively.

The entry in the girls was particularly small, though the competition fierce, as Steph Hall & Emily Miller won a best-of-five tussle against Lizzie Balmforth & Nicola Poole, the match going all the way to five games. Nicola was well rewarded on the day for her efforts, though, taking the girls singles and mixed. Lizzie came runner-up in the singles and Jenny Salisbury came third with a win over Emily.

A full set of Under 17 results is available - click here.

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U17 Level Doubles
Michael Johnston, Danny
Hart, Simon Tomlinson
and James Abdous
U17 Mixed
Lizzie Balmforth, James
Abdous, Nicola Poole
and Craig Eccleston
U17
Players in competition
U17 Singles Plate
Winner Jamie Allen (right)
with runner-up Josh
Gorman

[There were a few questions raised about the draw for some U17 events, caused by a discrepancy between the draw used by the organisers and the draw available to players. The draw with the organisers was correct (i.e. winners AND runners-up should and did progress from all group stages) and the order of each draw ensured players could not re-meet a group player until the final. Apologies for the lack of information provided during the day.]

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York RI U16 Level Doubles Tournament
1st July 2007 

The North Midway Badminton League Level Doubles Tournament provided some terrific badminton for our Grade 2 & 3 players at the York Railway Institute on Sunday 1st July. The event, now in its third year, is aimed at giving a full day’s play to all entrants, selected by their county but drawn primarily from the group of players not competing regularly in the top tier circuit events. A full day it was, and not without incident, as a flash storm cut the power in mid-afternoon, leaving the hall in semi darkness for 20 minutes, though this failed to dim the enthusiasm of the 26 competing pairs representing 7 counties.

Both the boys and girls events were initially split into two round-robin groups - those finishing in the top half were split into an ‘A’ event in the afternoon, with those in the bottom half competed in a ‘B’ event. Each match consisted of two games to 21 (rally points) with pairs recording a point for each game won. 

In the boys’ event Craig Eccleston & Liam Walsh (Lancs) and Ryan Parsons & Andrew Wainwright (Warwicks) dropped just one game each in their groups to go through in first place, whilst in the girls’ event Emily Miller & Jenny Salisbury (Lancs) and Rachel Hickie & Nicola Hainsworth (Derbys) both went through without dropping games. These pairs were set up to meet last in the afternoon.

The incentive of having trophies in the ‘B’ event as well as the ‘A’ in the afternoon kept everyone keen, and even into their eighth, ninth or tenth (and final) matches the level of competition was high. Parsons & Wainwright were the undisputed winners in the boys, dropping just one game all day. The girl’s event went to the wire, with Rachel & Nicola needing one game off Emily & Jenny to win, which they secured right at the death, losing the first 23-25, then winning 21-19.

All Lancashires players put in commendable performances, with three pairs gaining top half finishes: Emily & Jenny, Craig Eccleston & Liam Walsh, and James Abdous & John-Gareth Phillips. In the ‘B’ event Jack McKay & Luke Ormerod came out as victors, Lisa Roberts & Katherine Watts came runners-up, whilst Josh Gorman & Danny Hart took a third place award. Well played everyone. 

NMBL U16 Doubles 2007

Lancashire's players
Back: Danny Hart, Craig Eccleston, Josh Gorman, Liam Walsh, Luke Ormerod, Jack McKay
Front: Lisa Roberts, Katherine Watts, Jenny Salisbury, Emily Miller
Not included in photo: James Abdous, John-Gareth Phillips

Final tournament placings were:

Boys

Winner ‘A’

Ryan Parsons & Andrew Wainwright (Warwickshire)

Runner Up ‘A’

Mike Simmons & Michael Phillips (Cheshire)

Third Place Award ‘A’

Craig Eccleston & Liam Walsh (Lancashire)

4th

Joe Cowling & Simon Templeman (Yorkshire)

5th

James Abdous & John-Gareth Phillips (Lancashire)

6th

Matt Rowbottom & Tom Leonard (Derbyshire)

7th

Steven Gibbons & Jordan Arkle (Nothumberland)

Winner ‘B’

Jack McKay & Luke Ormerod (Lancashire)

Runner Up ‘B’

Tom Beswick & Eddie Chrayah (Derbyshire)

Third Place Award ‘B’

Josh Gorman & Danny Hart (Lancashire)

11th

Bryn Lovell & James Parnell (Durham)

12th

Sam Mellish & Ben Mellish (Northumberland)

13th

Joe Cosgrove & Nathen Adamson (Durham)

14th

Dean Thomson & Michael Jones (Yorkshire)

 Girls

Winner ‘A’

Rachel Hickie & Nicola Hainsworth (Derbyshire)

Runner Up ‘A’

Emily Miller & Jenny Salisbury (Lancashire)

Third Place Award ‘A’

Grace Ollivent & Hannah Brazier (Warwickshire)

4th

Danielle Hainsworth & Charlotte France (Derbyshire)

5th

Emma Reaston & Victoria Brewis (Northumberland)

6th

Laura McKie & Laura Goram (Durham)

Winner ‘B’

Emily Rickerby & Emma Brealey (Derbyshire)

Runner Up ‘B’

Lisa Roberts & Katherine Watts (Lancashire)

Third Place Award ‘B’

Olivia Frankland & Alex Chambers (Cheshire)

10th

Frances Allan & Holly Robson (Durham)

11th

Jasmin Lam & Rachel Vickers (Cheshire)

12th

Jennifer Bramley & Amber Vaughan (Durham)


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U11 Singles Challenge Final
24th June 2007

Following on from the article below, Tom Vinden and Stephanie Dawid-Paluch played in the U11 Singles Challenge Final on 2nd June and were part of the northern team that came third out of the four regions. Tom finished in 22nd place overall, whilst Stephanie came a creditable 17th out of the 24 starters, even better when you consider Stephanie is in the U10 age group.

This is the final year that the U11 Challenge will take place - BADMINTON England have decided there are other ways to get U11s involved. In their words: "Next year more counties have volunteered to host an Under 11 Silver Event, enough to provide a qualifying circuit for a new Under 11 National Championships. The singles challenge event is an ideal event to be run by regions or indeed small groups of counties and BADMINTON England would be more than happy to advise on this."

It is disappointing to see the Challenge event go, as it has proved a great event for introducing our younger players to top grade competition ... let's hope the alternative is as accessible, exciting and affordable.

Lancashire will be asking its junior players to complete a personal playing calendar for next season, with guidance available on what events are most suited to each. This should give our younger and less experienced tournament players more incite into what to do and when.

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U11 Singles Successes
10th May 2007

Congratulations to Tom Vinden and Stephanie Dawid-Paluch on qualifying for the national U11 Singles Challenge Final on 2nd June. Tom and Stephanie were two of seven Lancs players who competed in the area qualifying event in Sheffield on 5th May, with the top 6 boys and top 6 girls making the final at the National Badminton Centre, Milton Keynes. Tom had a superb day, progressing through three stages to win the overall event, topping his final group against Scott Williams (Yo), Sebastian Johnson (Yo) and Liam Fletcher (Ch). Congratulations also to Henry Smith (24th) and Callum McPartlan (29th) on their performances. Michael Bebby was unlucky having the wrong date in the diary, as Michael could have made a good showing.

In the girls, Stephanie won her first group comfortably, before taking three wins from five in her second group to put her in a play-off for 5th/6th spot, where she beat Lauren Ashton (Du) to take 5th place overall and qualification for the final. The event gave some great experience to our other girls: Emma Hall and Lucy Mitchell played off for 17th and 18th place, Lucy coming out on top 15-7; and Charlotte Lam finished 21st, not bad considering she has two more years in this age group. Natalie Chan-Lam (Yo) won the event.

Good luck to Tom and Stephanie in the final on 2nd June and well done to all the players.

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U16s Look Good at SW19
7th May 2007

Philip Aspinall

Nicola Poole

Danny Wolfenden

Emily Miller

Michael Johnston

Lizzie Balmforth

It's just not tennis - I mean doing well at Wimbledon with shuttlecocks! But that's what our U17s did over the weekend of 5-6 May at the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club, SW19. This was the annual U16 Invitation Team Tournament with 12 counties invited to send  6-8 players competing for cash prizes. In  the event's early days, during the 1990s, this was an 8 team international team tournament, but when the Malaysians and Japanese stopped coming due to the high cost of travel, it switched to a counties plus countries event, until this year when it has become a counties only event.

We lost Kristian Byrne due to injury and the event lost Cheshire and Hampshire, all at the eleventh hour, but we were able to bring in Michael Johnston as a very able replacement, whilst the event went down to ten counties. Split into two groups we needed a top two spot to make the cash - yes, we did incentivise the players, just like the tennis rich kids down the road! The draw handed us Essex, Leicestershire, Avon and Berkshire. We set about Essex with some aplomb, as Philip, Danny, Nicola and Lizzie all took good singles wins, Danny taking a tight game 22-20, 24-22, Nicola winning in three. The levels was split in two close matches, before Danny recorded his second close win of the tie, taking the mixed with Emily 22-20 in the third. A good 6-1 win.

Leicestershire, with Nayan Patel, Avinash Chandarana, Peter Briggs, Vinita Bhakta and the White twins, were going to be tough opposition, and so it proved. We needed to start with a win in the mixed, but Philip & Emily, despite running the games close, went down in two. Philip had a terrific win against Nayan 21-19, 21-17 but the other singles went against us, leaving us 4-1 behind before the levels. Michael & Danny played well against Nayan & Avinash but the Leicestershire boys were too strong, whilst Emily & Nicola took on Chelsey & Britanie White for the fourth time this season and were just edged out in a great match 14-21, 22-20, 17-21. Final match result 6-1 to Leicestershire, who have a terrific team of players both in terms of ability and their attitude to the game, and who we thought might run Yorkshire close if they met in the final.

Avon have given us some tight matches both this season and last in the U16s/U17s, and this was no exception. Michael & Emily got us off to a flyer with a very good mixed win, before Philip and Danny won their singles, Philip gaining an excellent result against Chris Coles 21-17, 11-21, 21-18 despite having a headache from early in the match. Nicola was unlucky to lose in three to Emily Hollis, but Lizzie was too strong for Ellen Marsh, giving us enough games for the match. The levels might have been tighter had they been required, but they both got away leaving us with a 4-3 win to close out the first day.

The Wimbledon Club provided a buffet and disco in the evening, with the team showing their prowess on the pool table ... or is that over-egging it a bit with Michael, who said he was good but managed to win three games by default as the opposition kept fouling on the black at the end of the games ... I'd stick to badminton or piggyback riding if I were you!

The group stage finished on the Sunday morning with a match against Berkshire. We rested Philip and Nicola in the levels but soon wondered how wise a decision this was as Michael & Emily played as if they were still in pyjamas in their mixed and Nicola lost her singles to a very agile Vikki Primmer. Lizzie started the recovery with a convincing win against the youngster, Jessica Lederman, followed by Danny and Philip winning in their singles. We needed one of the levels and Danny & Michael obliged winning comfortably. The Lancs spectators were pleased the final match - Emily & Lizzie against Vikki Primmer & Cassie Hall - wasn't needed as they went heart-stoppingly close before losing 22-20, 22-24, 19-21. Alistair Poole was in fits of laughter after he saw Cassie slap herself on the face to encourage herself to try harder, but she obviously did just enough to get a result!

This gave the team second place in the group and a final match against Notts, with the winner taking home a cash prize --- all to play for. The mixed was a key game for us, but the experience of the Notts pair was just too much for Philip & Emily as we went down in three. The two girls' singles went on next, which must have suited Notts as Piya Sachdeva and Jess Tandy are both strong players and both won in straight games. The team was on the brink of defeat with Danny match point down in his singles, but he played possibly the match of the weekend to beat Laurence Lee brilliantly 19-21, 21-17, 22-20. Philip then followed that up by beating Rohan Midha in three, leaving us needing wins in both the levels. It was close but just beyond our reach, as Emily & Nicola lost 14-21, 24-26 followed by Danny & Michael going down 23-25, 13-21. Final match result 2-5 and a tournament finish of 4th. Yorkshire won the final against Leicestershire by a reasonable margin on paper, but we did watch some very close games.

Wimbledon 2007 a

Wimbledon 2007 b
Wimbledon 2007 c
Wimbledon 2007 d
Wimbledon 2007 e

Lancs team
Danny Wolfenden, Michael Johnston, Philip Aspinall, Lizzie Balmforth, Emily Miller, Nicola Poole

Wimbledon
Seven dedicated badminton courts, quite a facility anywhere, never mind in London
The team & parents
Players with parents / supporters / taxi drivers - Dave Miller, Alistair Poole and Karen Wolfenden 
In training
Emily puts in a bit of training with some 'clean and jerk' lifting!
The team
Finding time to relax after the first day's play

Philip went through the two days unbeaten in the singles, quite an achievement given the players he had to face. Danny only lost one singles and played extremely well throughout. All six players contributed to a very good Lancashire performance that went a long way to proving it is the love of the game that matters at the end of the day, not the financial return. Thank you to the players and, as always, to the parents, who spent their good money getting everyone to the event ... from the entertainment that accrued from it, it was money well spent.

Dave Miller
Team Manager

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17-21s Take Runners-Up in National Team Challenge
25th April 2007

Jamie Fairclough

Raychel Dawes

Paul Maguire

Charlotte Hall

Michael Olstowski

Kirstin Miller

Richard Wallbank

Fay Ormesher

The venue was the National Badminton Centre at Milton Keynes, a fitting venue for what was a high quality, very competitive team event. Lancashire’s confidence in the first two matches was justified when we beat both Somerset and Bedfordshire 5 - 1. Consistent performances in both these games by Jamie in the men’s singles and Kirstin & Fay in ladies doubles helped secure the victories.

Hampshire were in our group and they had also had back to back 5 - 1 wins, it was going to be a tough one. It went to the wire - after both singles and doubles Lancs were 3 -1 down, a great singles win by Paul getting the point. We needed two tremendous wins by Michael & Fay and Richard & Charlotte (21-17 in the third) to tie the match and take it to a count back. The referee deliberated for 10 minutes before Lancs came out on top by a whisker.

The Sunday group for the top 3 places included Herts and Staffordshire - it couldn’t get much tougher. The match against Herts went well - a superb 4 - 2 win with a mention going to Raychel for a fine singles win against a very good opponent. Staffordshire were a much tougher proposition and unfortunately they proved too strong on the day. But that doesn’t detract from a great weekend of badminton with a final placing of 2nd overall out of 12 teams.

Lancs 17-21 team 2007

Lancashire's 17-21 Inter Counties Challenge team
Back row: Fay Ormesher, Paul Maguire, Jamie Fairclough, Richard Wallbank, Michael Olstowski
Front row: Matt Dunlop (Team Manager), Raychel Dawes, Charlotte Hall, Kirstin Miller

My thanks go to all the team for their hard work, great team spirit and excellent play.

Matt Dunlop
Team Manager

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ICT Seventh Heaven for U17s
21st April 2007

Gary Fox (Captain)

Nicola Poole

Ross Little (Vice Captain) Holly Richards
Michael Mellor Lizzie Balmforth

Danny Wolfenden

Emily Miller

Alex DuNoyer

Steph Hall

Lancashire’s ICT team, under the sterling captaincy of Gary Fox and vice-captain Ross Little, produced the county’s best result for years as they finished 7th out of 41 teams. The team gelled well as a group, supported every shot and looked good both on and off court. Ross “Bush Diver” Little led from the front in the singles; Nicola Poole fought through a difficult first day to get back to her very best; Gary Fox commanded respect from every opponent with the quality of his levels and mixed; Stephanie “Vegetable Stiffy” Hall expended as little energy as possible though still won 7 out of her 10 matches. Then there was Emily Miller, gritty through every doubles, dominant around the net; Danny “The Rapper” Wolfenden, near victor over Mark Capplemen and our 110% man; Holly Richards, matured tactically and tough to beat; Michael Mellor, so talented at singles and levels, able to beat most opponents on his day; Alex Du Noyer, a great team player delivering crunch results at the right time; and last but not least, Lizzie Balmforth, our Baby Spice, but mature beyond her years on court. So we have it - the team - producing the goods on court, rarely dull off it.

To the event - the 42nd U17 Inter Counties Tournament - played at Nottingham University over four days from 12-15 April. And a first group of four for the team, needing to come in the top two to earn the right to fight for a top twenty finish. Gary & Emily, Alex & Holly, and then Ross, Danny and Holly in the singles, got us off to a flyer against Northants. Whilst Nicola struggled with heavy legs (possibly after her ski trip) the rest of the team ran through the match unbeaten. The 9-1 win allowed everyone to warm into the competition. Our second match against Dorset was somewhat tougher – Ross and Michael were pushed to setting in their singles – but again we recorded a 9-1 success. 

The evening match on Thursday against Avon was always going to be a tough call, and it quickly became tougher as both Ross & Emily and Alex & Holly lost close mixed matches. Ross and Michael levelled things up in the singles, but Holly and Lizzie could not fend off the Avon youngsters, Emily Hollis and Harriet Mortimer. The boys took the levels in close three-setters, leaving the girls needing to win both their levels to take the match … Steph & Lizzie won in two, followed by Emily & Nicola who were taken to three before losing out 13-15 in the third. A 5-5 draw, 12-12 on games, went down as a defeat by the narrowest margin of 16 points. 

The result was deflating at the end of the first day, though the team had qualified for the top half of the draw (2nd place in the group leaving us with a top seed in the next group). Friday presented us with Hampshire, Kent, our old rivals Cheshire and Sussex, the winners playing on Saturday and Sunday for places 1-4, second for 5-8 and so on down to 20th place. Hampshire, ICT second seeds with the likes of Mark Cappleman, Ben Tier, Adam Rickenback, Mark Newberry and Panuga Riou, were going to be tough, and so it proved. Lancashire were beaten 8-2, at one stage going 6-0 behind. But there were four highlights: Danny almost pulled off the result of the tournament, taking the first game off Mark Capplemen before going down in three; Alex set his first game against Ben Tier, before being edged out; Gary & Ross beat Adam & Rick in three; and Michael & Danny had a great win in two against Mark and Dan Boxall. 

Now the challenge was on to try to secure a 5-8 finish … three wins out of three were required. Kent came through as a group winner and were going to be tricky opponents, so wins in the opening mixed were crucial. Gary & Emily and Alex & Holly lost close opening games and the odds were against them, but their determination showed as both took good second games. Each edged up to 14-all in the third and our ICT turned on a moment as both Gary & Emily and Alex & Holly took dramatic wins 18-16 and 17-15 respectively. Not wasting this great start, the singles saw Ross and Michael record good wins, before the strength of the Kent girls swung the match back towards them, despite Nicola now finding her game. The boys split the levels, leaving the girls needing one win to take the match (a draw would mean a loss on games conceded). Steph & Lizzie could not produce the same form they found against Dorset and Avon, but the other pair came to their rescue as Emily & Nicola played their best match so far winning 15-11, 17-15 against Emma Smethurst & Rebecca Greenstreet. Match result 6-4 in our favour. 

Against Cheshire the four levels went on court first and split the honours: Gary & Ross maintained their unbeaten run, winning in two against Mike Simmons & Matthew Nottingham, whilst Steph & Lizzie returned to winning ways, beating Kathleen Turner & Katie Mitchell comfortably. Two very close mixed followed, with Gary & Emily winning in three, Alex & Holly losing in three. The 3-3 match score-line looked too close for comfort, but all four players shone in the singles, Ross, Michael, Nicola and Lizzie all winning. Nicola looked like a different player to the previous day, as she beat Pippa Rogers 15-10 in the third. A great match result 7-3. 

A long break to the evening match against Sussex was not the best preparation for the players. It started all too easily as we won the mixed and then the boys singles in straight games. With our eyes off the finishing line, Sussex dragged back good wins in the girls’ singles and second levels, though Gary & Ross won taking the match score to 5-3. The pressure was again on the girls, who needed one game for the match. Two tight matches saw Lizzie & Steph take theirs setting in the third, whilst Emily & Nicola lost 14-16 in the third … Nicola looked visibly relieved as she found out they needed a game not their match to secure a win for the team and a shot at positions 5-8 on Saturday and Sunday. Well done everyone on a fantastic Friday. 

The next day was a different kettle of fish! Ulster, Notts and Surrey were vying with us for the ESBA Trophy, awarded for ICT 5th place. After a two hour delay due to scheduling problems, we started well against Ulster, splitting the mixed, with Gary & Emily starting slowly but finishing well to win in three, Alex & Holly losing in three. Ross, having gone 12 matches unbeaten, could not quite find his top form and lost a tight match to their top player, Sam Magee. Michael then suffered a similar fate, looking out of sorts and not recovering from a slow start. Despite a spirited effort by the girls the Ulster players were too strong in the singles. An 8-2 result was a harsh reflection on our play, though a highlight was our success in switching the girls’ levels, Nicola & Steph winning at first pair, Emily & Lizzie narrowly losing at second. 

The next match against Notts got away 8-2, though this really did not reflect the match, with 5 of the losses being possible wins on a good day. Ross won both his matches, though Saturday was not Michael’s day as he struggled in his singles against a player he would beat most times, then going down in his levels with Danny. The bright note (other than the two wins) was the spirited performance and near miss of Emily & Lizzie in the levels against Tereza Oliver-Smith and Kate Fenton. 

A mid afternoon finish gave the players time to prepare for the disco in the evening in their own way – dressing up or, in some cases, extreme sports! The evening was a good time for everyone to relax and the adult posse on patrol, geed up by their ICT meeting chaired by Eric Brown, only had to redirect the occasional stray after hours. 

Due to our successes on court we had a late start on Sunday. A morning walk might have got a poor response from lesser teams, but we were starting to think like Yorkshire now and there must be some good in that … somewhere! Our photos reflect the attempts of the team to perform off the court as well as on – the human pyramid would have gone to four layers had the lads put in a grittier performance on the bottom layers … Holly is not heavy! We followed this with a trip to Beeston (a beast of a place) for refreshments, the players were now getting the team spirit thing and were ready for Surrey. 

The match didn’t start quite how we planned as both mixed got away, Alex & Holly playing well though just going down in three. When Ross failed to find one of his reliable high-grade displays, losing his singles in two, Michael stepped in and produced his very best display, winning comfortably. Nicola also played singles at the top of her game, beating Surrey’s first girl, Ellie Crossley, 15-13, 15-11. But when Holly lost a narrow singles and Ross & Gary failed to find their best form against James Buffham & Michael Daw, the match looked hard to retrieve at 2-5 down. But cometh the hour cometh the team, started by Michael & Danny playing their best badminton to send Sam Phillips & Edward Thomas packing. Our new girls’ pairings had to win to snatch the match, and they obliged with two very strong displays recording straight games wins – outstanding! And the team display stretched beyond the winners, with the games won by Holly in her singles and Holly & Alex in their mixed, swinging the 5-5 outcome in our favour. 

So we earned 7th place overall, the best result by a Lancashire team in the ICT for many years … the best since a 12th place some ten years ago. This was no meagre achievement by a team mixed with England talent and lower ranked players making a very positive contribution on and off the court. Half the team is available for selection next year and there are others keen to compete for places – things look good. 

Thank you to the team for your contribution to a great ICT for Lancashire. To the adults, especially Belinda Miller for her role as assistant manager and team minibus driver. To the spectators, several staying for all four days. We felt the pressure at times (I once told Ross he was partnering himself in the next match) but it was worth it. Classic moments: Steph’s reading of the dinner menu telling us we could have vegetable stiffy (stir fry??); Eileen Little wondering why the Staffs team manager did not know what stage the event was at … only to realise the wording on his shirt said Staff not Staffs; Ross and Michael jumping into thorn bushes; Steph, after her 2-1 levels win against Sussex when she could afford a loss, heard to say, “All that effort for nothing”; the dry humour throughout from Ross (must take after his brother); and the four days of cheering and encouragement from players and supporters alike. Quite a ride! 

Yorkshire won the event for the ninth year running, with Hampshire runners-up. Notts came top of our final group to take the ESBA Trophy.

Dave Miller
U
17 Team Manager

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U16 Friendly vs Cheshire
25th March 2007

Lancashire's U16s were in action on Sunday 22nd March in an inter-county friendly against Cheshire. We fielded a team of 12, mainly drawn from the players that had featured in the North Midway League matches earlier in the season. Actually finding the location of the venue (Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Crosby) almost proved the most difficult challenge of the day, but eventually the matches got underway.

Each of the team got the opportunity to play in Singles, Level Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Rather than highlight the successes of any players in particular, the 22-2 scoreline speaks volumes for the spirited performance of everyone in the team. All of the players clearly enjoyed and benefited from the chance to compete at this level, and will hopefully be back for more when the opportunity arises again.

Craig Eccleston

Nikkita Cowburn

Josh Gorman

Abi Kay

Danny Hart

Dawn Mitchell

Jack McKay

Rosie Sweeney

Luke Ormerod

Jenny Salisbury

Liam Walsh

Rachel Wallbank

A big thank you to all the parents who supported the team on the day ... and knew when to ignore the instructions from the SatNav device!

Graham Salisbury
Team Manager

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U17 Shires vs Flintshire
4th March 2007

Lancashire put in a spirited performance in their Shires match against Flintshire on 4th March. Despite losing 13-7 there were some good individual displays from players still vying for places in the ICT. At 2nd mixed Alex & Holly started slowly but got better and better to beat Gareth Oates & Jess Markey 23-21, 21-14. Lee & Nicola likewise perfomed very well to win at 4th, beating Daniel Font & Jane Jones in 3. Danny & Abi played well at 3rd but they were just edged out in 3. Flintshire's Damien Renshaw & Bethan Higginson got the better of Michael & Steph, winning in 2 games.

Michael then got an early revenge on Damien at 1st singles, winning comfortably. Our other three boys all went to 3, though Alex was the only one to come out on top, at 3rd against Ben Travers. Danny was unlucky to lose 19-21 in the 3rd to Gareth Oates. In the girls Nicola showed a continuing improvement in form as she pushed Bethan Higginson hard in their second game, though the result went the wrong way ... the coaching is working and the confidence is coming back. The best performance in the girls, though, was from Holly, who never gave up against Jess Markey, recording a well deserved 20-22, 21-19, 21-11 win.

In the levels both boys pairs (Michael & Danny / Lee & Alex) had good wins against Ben & Daniel, but neither could quite close out their matches against Damien & Gareth, losing neck and neck encounters. The girls took 3 of their 4 matches to 3 games, but all 3 slipped away in tight third games.

So the result went the wrong way and, in a similar fashion to the Yorkshire match the week before, tight matches (10 three-setters) resulted in the majority (7) going to the opposition. Maybe a bit of self belief is missing as we get into winning positions, maybe it is the testing of new partnerships, but it does show that the team can be a match for decent counties like Flintshire. With players like Ross and Gary to return and with the season building up to ICT and Wimbledon, there could be some brighter moments still to come. Get the camera ready, Steph!

Michael Mellor

Nicola Poole

Danny Wolfenden

Emily Miller

Alex DuNoyer

Holly Richards

Lee Clayton

Abi South

Steph Hall
Lizzie Balmforth

In the final two Shires matches of the season the U17s beat Cumbria 15-5 and Yorkshire 2 13-7, leaving the team with 4 wins, 2 losses and third place in their group. They just missed on a qualifying place for the finals. The team playing Cumbria was Darren Whitley, Jonathan Bradley, James Artingstall, Luke Kay, Holly Richards, Emily Miller, Abi South, Helen Wilson. The team against Yorks 2 was Ross Little, Michael Mellor, Gary Fox, Philip Aspinall, Holly Richards, Emily Miller, Steph Hall and Lizzie Balmforth.

Dave Miller
U17 Team Manager

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U17 Shires vs Yorkshire 1
25th February 2007

The U17s took on the might of Yorkshire 1 in the Shires League on 25th February and put on some spirited displays, despite being on the wrong end of a 20-0 scoreline. Lee Clayton put on our best singles display, taking Daniel Shiels to three. Danny Wolfenden played well against Chris Allen, though the match got away 16 and 13.

The levels produced our best displays of the day. Michael & Danny took Mark Middleton & Daniel Shiels to 18 and 18, whilst Lee & Luke just lost out to Paul Scott & Chris Allen 19 and 18. In the cross-over, Michael & Danny took Paul & Chris to three. The girls came very close in their first levels matches, Steph & Emily losing out in three to Chloe Chambers & Nikki Chan-Lam, Nicola & Lizzie by the same margin to Lauren Birch & Miriam Beales. Both our pairs ran out of steam in the cross-over games.

In the mixed, Michael & Steph played well together, taking Chris Allen & Chloe Chambers to three. Our other pairs went down in straight games, though all had good spells. Luke, on his county debut, was unlucky in his mixed with Emily, losing to Paul Scott & Lauren Birch 21-23, 18-21.

We might have hoped to convert one or two of the events that went to three games, but all our players needed tough games to test their ability under pressure. Our team spirit and effort throughout was encouraging.

Michael Mellor

Nicola Poole

Danny Wolfenden

Emily Miller

Lee Clayton

Holly Richards

Luke Kay

Abi South

Steph Hall
Lizzie Balmforth

Dave Miller
U17 Team Manager

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Anglo-Scottish Experience for U14s
22nd February 2007

The U14s were in action on 17-18 February at the annual Anglo-Scottish invitation tournament played in Gateshead. The team came 8th out of 12 teams, a creditable performance for players still inexperienced in big events.

Everyone appeared to enjoy the weekend very much, some players only winning a few games and others winning more. But it's the taking part that counts and giving one hundred percent in what they achieved, representing their county. If it wasnt for these players it would not take place.

Jonathan Foster Danya Lewis
Sam Moss Lisa Roberts
Sam Clucas Sophie-Ann Sharples
Andrew Cardus Rebecca Mayers

In the first group we got guess who, Yorkshire and Borders. We played Borders first and they all played really well, Sam Moss won his Singles, what a good game that was. Jonathan unfortunately just lost his Singles 1-2 but well played. Rebecca and Andrew played very well together throughout the whole tournament ... they won their mixed, well played. Both Danya and Lisa won comfortably in their Singles. Sam Clucas and Andrew won their Doubles comfortably too. Sophie-Ann and Rebecca just lost very close games 1-2. We won that match 6-4. Well done.

Next up was the dreaded Yorkshire, but they all kept up their heads and got on with it. They all played very well but unfortunately they beat us 2-8, with Danya and Lisa winning both their games, well played to them.

After those games, with winning 1 and losing 1, it put us into the middle group which we were all pleased with. We played Lanarkshire first (still on the Saturday night) and everyone was looking very tierd. Jonathan won his Singles 2-1, very well played to him. Sophie-Ann and Andrew were very unlucky as both games were lost 14-15 but well played again. Lisa won her Singles 1-2, well played. Danya had a better player against her but she gave everything, she was disappointed but you can't win them all I consoled her. Jonathan and Sam M had a close game just losing 1-2. Sam C and Andrew won their Doubles well done. Danya and Lisa both had 3 great games which could have gone either way, missing out by 1 point. We were very unlucky with the match going to the opposition 4-6 ... talk about frustrating!

On to Sunday and Cheshire was the next game to play. We had to be there at 9am, an early start but we all managed it. Again they all played their hearts out. Sam M played a hard game but very close, well played. Lisa won her game, another hard game. Jonathan and Sam M had another close game, just losin 1-2, which was hard luck. The best Doubles game saw Danya and Lisa winning against their first 2 girls 2-1, very well done. Sophie-Ann and Rebecca also had a good result winning their game 2-0. Yet another close match, lost 3-7 ... it doesn't sound close but the games were and the players deserve every credit.

Last but not least Notts. Again they all played well and very close games yet again. Sam M just lost 1-2 in his Singles, well played. Rebecca and Andrew played very well - I would say the best Mixed game - and again they just lost by 1 point 1-2. Both Danya and Lisa both lost their Singles but to better players on the day, though very promising results. Sam C and Andrew yet again played well together, but just lost by 1 point, the games were very close,1-2. Another one of the best Doubles game was again with Danya and Lisa, they played really well together winning 2-1, what a good game. They were both so pleased after being beaten in their Singles. So unfortunately the end result was 1-9.

So to the end of a good weekend, we ended up coming 8th out of 12 which, considering all the close games we had, was fantastic. Just to say a big thank you to all the team who played out of their skin and should be proud of themselves. Well done. And to the parents who supported them, thanks for your help ... we couldn't have done it without you all.

Anne Lewis
U14 Team Manager

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U16s At Rotherham
11th February 2007

Lancashire's U16s were back at Rotherham for the second leg of the North Midway Badminton League on Sunday 11th February. Once again they fielded two teams - some achievement considering it was half term, but well worth it for giving match experience to some of our up and coming players. The hope is this gives them the 'bug' for more, whilst showing them the standard of play they need to aim for to reach the next level. Thank you to Graham Salisbury for his time and effort in recruiting and running our second team - and to all other adults for your support ... I learnt a lot just listening to your issues about the county and your depth of knowledge about the game.

Second team: Craig Eccleston, Danny Hart, Luke Ormerod, Liam Walsh, Nikkita Cowburn, Danya Lewis, Jenny Salisbury, Katherine Watts

So to the performances. The teams were tweaked to meet player availability and to support county expectations re. fees and training attendance, but no fewer than nine returned from our November encounter. The second team suffered an early setback when Craig strained a muscle in the first match against Cheshire, but the team clocked up an 8-2 victory, with Liam having a crushing victory at 2nd singles (21-3) and Nikkita and Jenny winnning their singles. Katherine Watts, making her county debut, won both her opening games - her levels with Danya and then 2nd mixed 21-20 with Danny Hart.

Craig's injury pushed Luke Ormerod into the singles, but it proved to be a great move as he won 3 out of 4 during the day. Despite Liam and Luke winning their singles Derbyshire were too strong, running out 7-3 winners. Yorkshire were the principle sufferers from half-term lack of availability, with a weaker team than November ... our players did well recording a 5-5 result, winning on points, with Liam and Luke winning again at singles, then both Nikkita (1st singles) and Luke & Danny (2nd levels) being edged out 20-21. Craig & Liam had a good win at 1st levels. In the final group match the team met Notts and were unlucky to go down 4-6. In the girls Jenny (2nd singles) and then Nikkita & Jenny (1st levels) went down in close games 19-21, though Nikkita recorded a good win at 1st singles, as did Danya & Katherine at 2nd levels.

First team: James Abdous, Josh Gorman, John-Gareth Phillips, Danny Wolfenden, Emily Miller, Nicola Poole, Rosie Sweeney, Rachel Wallbank

The first team also started brightly with a 9-1 win over Northumberland, with debut player Josh Gorman winning 2nd singles 21-11, followed by the narrowest 20-21 defeat with John-Gareth at 2nd levels. John-Gareth and James won their mixed comfortably with Rachel and Rosie. The second match was tougher but the team defeated Durham 6-4. Danny played well at 1st singles winning 21-17 (and continued unbeaten in his singles all day). Nicola and Emily took 1st and 2nd singles spots and shared the spoils, Emily just edged out 20-21 ... both players dropped just one game each all day. Our same mixed pairs won well again.

Leicestershire (winners last time and eventual winners overall) were next and the fine margins between winning and losing were shown as our players drew 5-5 but lost narrowly on points. The two performances of the match were the girls levels, as Rachel & Rosie won an excellent game 21-17, followed by Emily & Nicola meeting the White twins for the third time this season and taking their first win, coming back from 13-20 down (new scoring) to win 8 points on the trot and a 21-20 success. The next result against Warwickshire went the wrong way 4-6, but it was close. Danny and Emily continued with good wins in the singles, whilst James & Rachel played a good tactical 1st mixed winning 21-10. Emily & Nicola won another come back, this time from 12-19 down to win 21-19!

Both Lancashire teams finished 3rd out of 5 in their groups and thus met in their final match playing for 5th and 6th on the day. The 1st team's mixed pairs won well, James & Rachel 21-14 against Danny H & Danya, John-Gareth & Rosie 21-16 against Craig & Katherine. Luke couldn't contain Danny W in the singles, but Liam got the better of Josh. Nicola showed her No.1 U17 county status beating Nikkita 21-15, then Jenny pushed Emily all the way, Emily coming through late on to win 21-17. The boys and girls levels were split, with Danya & Katherine having a close 21-19 win over Rachel & Rosie. Match result 7-3 to the 1st team.

So to the end of an excellent day's badminton - but then Rotherham normally is! It wasn't easy getting 16 players together, but hopefully the experience was worth it and everyone is now keen for more!

NMBL U16 A

NMBL U16 Teams

NMBL U16 B

Lancashire's Under 16 Teams (from centre photo)
Back row: Josh Gorman, James Abdous, John-Gareth Phillips, Danny Wolfenden, Craig Eccleston, Liam Walsh, Danny Hart, Luke Ormerod
Front row: Nicola Poole, Emily Miller, Rosie Sweeney, Rachel Wallbank, Jenny Salisbury, Nikkita Cowburn, Danya Lewis, Catherine Watts

Dave Miller

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Under 13 Season Update
Posted 31st January 2007

Shires League: Lancashire v Derbyshire
27th January 2007

Peter Athans

Hannah Buckingham

Matthew Tolman

Serena Hindle

Daniel Myers

Terri-Lee Holmes

Andrew Cardus

Rachel Choong

A solid start in the Mixed with Lancashire taking 3 out the 4 rubbers, although Andrew & Terri-Lee only just squeezed a win by 23-21 in the deciding 3rd game. Lancs boys were far too strong in the Singles and won all 4 rubbers without the loss of a single game.

The Girls Singles were shared 2-2, with Terri-Lee and Rachel each winning impressively. The girls played well together in the Levels with Hannah & Rachel winning both their rubbers and Serena & Terri-Lee winning one rubber and taking the top Derbyshire pair to a 3rd game in their other match.

The boys again impressed in the Levels, winning all 4 rubbers.

Final score:- Lancashire 16 Derbyshire 4

Team Challenge Regional Round
25th November 2006

Peter Athans

Caroline Dawid-Paluch

Matthew Tolman

Hannah Buckingham

Daniel Myers

Stephanie Dawid-Paluch

Tom Vinden

Rachel Choong

Oliver Hives

 

Oliver arrived feeling very ill and only managed to play in the first match against Derbyshire before he had to go home. Lancs made a good start against Derbyshire with a 4-2 win. Both Daniel at 2nd Boys Singles and Caroline at 1st Girls Singles won very comfortably.

With Peter on his way to the venue Lancs were forced to concede one of the Boys Singles to Cumbria. Although most of the rubbers were close, only Daniel & Tom managed a win in the Boys Doubles. Cumbria won the match 5-1.

Peter arrived to win the 1st Boys Singles against Staffs. Hannah won the 2nd Girls Singles and Stephanie & Rachel won the Girls Doubles. Match drawn 3-3. Cheshire were far too strong in the last match winning 5-1, although Rachel & Stephanie again won their 3rd Girls Doubles match out of 4 on the day.

Final position:- Lancashire came 4th out of 5 teams

Shires League: Cheshire v Lancashire
29th October 2006

Peter Athans

Caroline Dawid-Paluch

Matthew Tolman

Hannah Buckingham

Daniel Myers

Terri-Lee Holmes

Andrew Cardus

Stephanie Dawid-Paluch

We knew that this was going to be a tough day, with our first Shires League match of the season against Cheshire, packed with 5 Grade 1 & 2 players and likely to be the strongest team in our Group. Unfortunately, the Mixed set the standard for the match, with Cheshire winning all 4 rubbers without dropping a single game.

Lancs were more competitive in the Singles, although only Stephanie managed a win. Peter lost his deciding 3rd game 22-20 and both Andrew and Terri-Lee took their rubbers to deciding games. With the match already won by Cheshire, the Level Doubles were soon over. Hannah & Caroline won one of their rubbers but Cheshire took all the rest.

Final match score:- Cheshire 18 Lancashire 2

Steve Athans
U13 Team Manager

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U14s - Rotherham
28th January 2007

Lancashire's U14s were placed 5th in the last round of the U14 North Midway League. This time it was a lot tougher for all the players as we had to play all 6 teams, as only 7 had entered compared to the 9 last October.

Matthew Tolman
Danya Lewis
Sam Clucas
Lisa Roberts
Sam Moss Emma Karsten
Andrew Cardus Laura Watts
Callum Douglas (played October)
Rebecca Mayers (played October)

We started off very well. Playing Durham Danya and Lisa won their singles, followed by 2nd boys doubles where Sam & Andrew won 21-19. Both girls doubles had comfortable wins (Danya & Lisa + Emma & Laura) giving us a 5-5 draw and a win on points.

Next was Northumberland and a good win 6-4. The girls won their singles again, Sam Clucas won his singles and 2nd boys doubles won another close game 21-19. The girls took 1st doubles, Danya & Lisa winning 21-19, then 2nd mixed, with Andrew & Laura, won 21-6.

Things then got a little tougher, but what good games we had against Yorkshire 2. Sam won 2nd singles 21-11, then Danya and Lisa won theirs 21-18 and 21-16 respectively. Emma & Laura had a good win 21-14, leaving the final result a 4-6 loss, but well played by the whole team.

Notts were next and we only managed a 2-8 result, but not without great efforts from Lisa winning her singles 21-10, Danya missing by 17-21, then Emma & Laura winning 2nd doubles 21-16.

Yorkshire 1 beat us 1-9, Danya winning her singles against Jennie Dickinson 21-18.

Last but not least was Cheshire. We should have had a win, but you can never tell! Everyone played really well ... at 2nd boys singles Sam Clucas lost 17-21, a good effort. ... Danya just missed beating Nicola Rowarth 20-21 ... Lisa won her singles 21-15 ... both boys doubles won, Matthew & Sam Clucas 21-19 and Sam Moss & Andrew 21-11 ... well done. Danya & Lisa won their doubles 21-13 and, in the mixed, Andrew & Laura won 21-20. This gave us a 5-5 draw, but we just missed out on a win by 3 points.

An overall position of 5th was a creditable effort. It was a good, hard day enjoyed by all. Thank you to all the parents for your support and to the players for taking part.

Anne Lewis
U14 Team Manager

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U17 Shires Vs Derbyshire
27th January 2007

Lancashire's U17s took on Derbyshire on Saturday 27th January, with a number of different players getting the opportunity to put forward their case for more U17 matches and, hopefully, press their case for the county's senior 4th team next season.

Alex DuNoyer Lizzie Balmforth
Lee Clayton
Steph Hall
Jonathan Bradley
Holly Richards
Mark McKay
Helen Wilson

Starting with 3rd and 4th singles the team edged ahead 3-1, with Holly winning comfortably, Helen running close going down 20-22 in the second, Jonathan winning well and Mark coming through in three games. The top singles produced good wins for Alex and Steph, whilst Lee and Lizzie were edged out in their third games, 19-21 and 18-21 respectively. The mixed was then shared two events each, with Alex & Holly recording a hard fought win at first, 21-16, 23-21, and Lee & Steph winning well, 21-8, 21-15.

With the match well balanced at 7-5 to Lancashire, our players then set about the levels with some skill, taking three of the first four events (Holly & Helen unlucky to lose 16-21 in the third). Alex & Lee continued to be clinical in their levels, taking the cross-over to 12 & 11. Jonathan & Mark beat the Derbyshire top pair 21-14, 13-21, 23-21. Lizzie & Steph continued on from their performances at RIO as they won their cross-over comfortably, the match then rounding off with Holly & Helen missing out by a whisker to the Derbyshire first pair, losing 18-21 in the third.

The match finished 13-7 in our favour, Alex and Steph going unbeaten through the match. Helen was the unluckiest, losing three events in three games plus a close fought singles. Well done to everyone and thank you, as always, to the parents and supporters, including the supply of lunch. Mark was grateful for the Melton Mowbrays ... who ate all the pies?!

Dave Miller
U17 Team Manager

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U17 Reap RIO Reward
21st January 2007

Philip Aspinall
Lizzie Balmforth
Alex DuNoyer Steph Hall
Gary Fox (captain) Emily Miller
Ross Little Nicola Poole
Michael Mellor Holly Richards
Danny Wolfenden Abi South

First a few thank yous! Thank you, wholeheartedly, to the organisers of the Railway Institute Octagonal, for providing a sporting event that equals any other I've encountered for our young players. Thank you for a sporting event that costs its participants less than the cost of a Premiership football ticket, yet provides more thrills than a run-away roller-coaster. Thank you to nature for allowing chewed fingernails to grow back after the plethora of close matches experienced by Lancashire. Thank you to those sitting near me at the weekend for tolerating my verbal outbursts and involuntary body swerves during each memorable point. Thank you to our team for restoring my faith that there really is no I in TEAM. And lastly, I must thank the Premier Football League for taking the country's full quota of overinflated sporting egos (and overinflated wallets) leaving badminton to cherish those that play the game just because they love playing it.

So to the report. The 2007 RIO tournament (20-21 January) was played out, as always, in York between 8 of the top junior badminton counties in the country. Day 1 sees the counties split into two, with this year's event seeing Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Herts and Lothian drawn together; Notts, Surrey, Leicestershire and Lancashire making up the other half.

In the opening match Lancs played Leicestershire, with the winner most likely to progress to the top half of the draw on day 2. The mixed was a frustrating affair, with Emily nervous and losing in two games with Gary, Philip & Steph beaten 13-15 in the third, then Danny and Abi also going down in the third, 12-15. The rest of the match unfolded in a similar close fashion until, after plenty of help from our boys, the match stood at 6-6 with just the 3 girls levels to play. Emily & Nicola then played a blinder against the White twins, going 14-16, 16-14 before the decider went the wrong way 12-15. Steph & Lizzie then had a similar battle with Vinita Bhakta & Rachel Jeffries, just losing 14-16 in the third and so handing Leicestershire the magic eighth event. Abi & Holly won comfortably, but the team had gone down to a deflating 7-8 defeat. The match produced a couple of unusual statistics: Lancs won by a clear 84 points, and, of 7 events taken to a third game, Lancs lost 6, each getting away by at most 3 points!

Next, Nottinghamshire, who looked on paper too good in the girls and a tall order for a favourable result. Doom seemed more likely as the first two mixed got away from us in the blink of an eye. But when Alex & Holly won a close third mixed, followed by good wins for Ross, Michael and Danny in the singles, things looked more interesting. Nicola & Steph took the hit against Taz Oliver-Smith and Jess Tandy, before Lizzie opened up the whole match for the team with a superb win against Kate Fenton 9-15, 15-10, 15-11. This left the team needing three of the six levels to win the match, and the boys very couteously prevented putting pressure on the girls by winning their three in straight sets. A great win, final match score 8-7.

The Surrey match was the most likely to bring the team success on day 1. Gary & Emily started us off well, playing a solid first mixed, but when Alex & Holly and Danny & Abi lost close matches, compounded by the knowledge that we might need to win ten events to make it to the top four on day 2 (with a three-way tie likely) ... the pressure was back on. Nicola was unlucky not to win at first singles, just losing 19-21, 13-15, but the team came through with a convincing 11-4 win to secure a top half finish and the right to play Yorkshire and Hertfordshire on Sunday. The icing on the cake was the news that Notts were the other qualifier from our group with our win carried over to Sunday.

The evening back at the hotel was the players' opportunity to relax and socialise. The adults took to the bar from where they were able to keep an eye on the players, who talked and danced their night away. The girls had straightened their hair and looked great ... the lads looked great and had er ... straightened their hair (except for Danny of course!). Judging by the damp hair, Ross used as much energy on the dance floor as he had on court, and the girls reported that even Danny strutted his stuff on the dance floor with them ... a prerequisite for selection next time, surely!

Sunday started with a Yorkshire assault, and indeed it was. They have so much strength in depth - even our boys felt the heat as we went down 1-14 with only Michael winning at third singles. Ross lost 13-15 in the third to Mark Middleton, though Ross started slowly and never really recovered. Lizzie went equally close against Miriam Beales (who tried to send us to sleep with her slow play) and Alex & Danny nearly took third levels. The best news came at the end when we found that Herts had lost 7-8 to Notts, meaning a win in our last match against Herts would result in second place overall - our best ever finish.

The mixed against Herts looked tough, but all three pairs played beyond themselves, each winning in three tight sets, Gary & Emily taking the third 15-12, Alex & Holly 17-15, and Danny & Abi 15-13. Ross then dug deep battling to a 15-7, 20-18 win against James Reynolds, Philip went down to Luke Donnelly and Michael beat Oliver Crabb. The Herts girls were too strong in the singles, leaving the match at 6-4 to Lancs (third girls levels conceded to Lancs due to injury). With Gary & Philip winning at first levels and Ross & Michael two points from victory, the match looked safe. But never count on anything - Ross & Michael lost the edge and their match, followed by a defeat for Alex & Danny. Emily & Nicola played well against Emily Westwood & Helena Lewczynska, but went down 11-15, 12-15, leaving the match at 7-7 and only Steph & Lizzie to play. The team got behind the players and I am convinced they encouraged the pair over the line to a terrific 16-14, 16-14 win, a terrific match win by 8 games to 7, and a tournament runners-up spot that at the start of the week-end would have been only a good outside bet. Captain Gary collected the consolation shield which was a great moment for a team that has some great individuals that showed some real signs of being a team with very good pairs and some real team spirit. Well done everyone.

Yorkshire won the event for the n'th time on the trot, Notts came third, with Herts 4th. Leicestershire won the lower half to take 5th place.

We move on now to a number of Shires matches, when a number of different players will get matches. Then we select for the Inter Counties Tournement (ICT) and players should note that selection will be difficult ... we have a few top grade players who will be rated as 'probables' ... others are 'possibles' and will be considered and selected on playing ability and performance but, as importantly, on the fit of players to the gaps in the team.

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RIO 07 4

U17 RIO Team - names in order of right hand picture
Back: Michael Mellor, Philip Aspinall, Gary Fox, Danny Wolfenden, Alex DuNoyer, Ross Little
Front: Emily Miller, Abi South, Holly Richards, Steph Hall, Lizzie Balmforth, Nicola Poole 

Dave Miller
U17 Team Manager

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North West U17
6th January 2007

At the recent North West U17 'Silver' and 'Bronze' events in Kirkby, many Lancashire players participated, with some welcome successes.  In the Silver grade, Philip Aspinall got to the singles semi-final, whilst Gary Fox played well to get out of his box.  Yorkshire showed their strength in the girls, with 8 players in the Silver singles, against none from Lancashire.

Gary Fox was untroubled in the levels with partner Chris Allen (Yorkshire) winning without dropping a game.  Philip Aspinall, with Josh Green (Isle of Man), got to the semi-final stage.  Philip lost the final of the mixed, playing with partner Jessica Fletcher (Yorkshire).

In the Bronze grade Alex DuNoyer played very well to win the boys singles, beating Lee Clayton 22-20 in the semi-final, before going on to win the final 24-22 against Chris Cannell (Isle of Man).  Chris beat Lancashire's Luke Kay in his semi-final.  Alex went on to win the level doubles with Ryan Parsons (Warwickshire), beating two Lancs pairs at the semi-final and final stages - Lee Clayton & Guy Mullarkey, then Luke Kay & Darren Whitley.

In the girls' Bronze, Emily Miller lost at the semi-final stage, by 21-20 to Hannah Marsh (Yorkshire).  In the levels Emily partnered Steph Hall, winning the final 21-18 against Kathleen Turner (Cheshire) and Charlotte Close (Warwickshire).

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U17 Boys Vs Staffs
31st December 2006

Lancashire's boys recorded a terrific 12½ - 2½ win against Staffordshire in a friendly match played on 11th December.  Staffordshire, having withdrawn from the Shires League due to a shortage of U17 girls, played our boys in a friendly match in Stafford.  The team consisted of a number of players that do not get regular county matches, but they showed the county's strength in depth with some quality displays.

Alex DuNoyer Darren Whitley
Guy Mullarkey Jonathan Bradley
Kevin Calvert James Artingstall

In the singles Alex had a convincing win at 1st, 21-13, 21-9, whilst Jonathan was winning 21-19, 21-17 at 2nd.  Darren battled all the way, winning in 3, 12-21, 21-14, 21-19, whilst Kevin won comfortably 21-10, 21-15.  Staffs won the other two singles.

In the levels each of our 3 pairs played two games against the Staffs pairs, with all bar one of the 18 games going our way.  Alex & Darren never gave more than 14 points away in any of their 6 games.  Guy & Jonathan won all their games, whilst Kevin & James won 5 out of 6 (halving with the Staff's 2nd pair).

Well played everyone, and many thanks to Greg Mullarkey for managing the team on the day.

U17 Team vs Staffs
Back row: Kevin Calvert, Guy Mullarkey, Darren Whitley, Jonathan Bradley
Front row: James Artingstall , Alex DuNoyer

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U15 Team Challenge
30th December 2006

Lancashire's U15 team played the regional qualifier of the Team Challenge on 25th November and were unlucky to miss out on qualification by the narrowest of margins.  They lost their crunch match to Cheshire 3-4, losing the boys doubles 19-21, first mixed 20-21 and second mixed 19-21.  All the players put their hearts and souls into the games.  A big thank you to Team Manager, Sandra Johnston, who was faced with the late withdrawal through illness of Philip Aspinall, and provided the team with a new sponsored kit.

b_l15tc7.jpg (61936 bytes) U15 Team
Back: Tom Wolfenden, Kristian Byrne, Michael Johnston
Frint: Steph Hall, Nikkita Cowburn, Danya Lewis, Lizzie Balmforth
b_l15tc8.jpg (54897 bytes) Sandra Johnston (Team Manager) with Debbie Balmforth and Karen Wolfenden

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U16s At Rotherham
24th November 2006

Lancashire U16s played some inspired badminton at Rotherham in their North Midway League encounter on 19th November.  The county invited 16 players to make up two teams, ‘Rovers’ and ‘Wanderers’, with a hatful of players making their county debut.  The eleven counties were split into 3 groups in the morning, with Rovers up against Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire 2 and Warwickshire, Wanderers drawn to play Cheshire, Yorkshire 1 and Durham.

Rovers team consisted of Jack McKay, Jonathan Simpson, Andrew Owen, Carl Kennedy, Abi Kay, Nicola Poole, Emily Miller and Rachel Wallbank.

A 7-3 win in their first match against Notts settled some nerves, with the girls taking all six games (two singles, two levels, two mixed).  Jonathan & Andrew had a good 21-17 win at 1st levels (under the new scoring format).  Yorkshire 2 were unlucky to be a girl short, but the result was never in doubt for Lancs as they ran up a 9-1 win.  Carl got his first county win with a deserved 21-20 win at 2nd singles, followed by a 21-19 win at 2nd levels with partner Jack.  Emily had a 21-20 win too, against Hariet West at 2nd singles.  The team rounded off their first group with a 6-4 win against Warwick.  Jack was at his best winning 21-15 at 1st singles, whilst he and Carl were involved in another tight levels with a match winning 21-20 success.  Nicola & Emily swung things our way earlier in the match, both recording 21-12 wins in their singles followed by a 21-16 success in their levels.

The Wanderers team was Danny Hart, Liam Walsh, Craig Eccleston, Luke Ormerod, Nikkita Cowburn, Jenny Salisbury, Georgina Stapleton and Dawn Mitchell.

Wanderers started superbly in their group, with an 8-2 win against Cheshire, with Jenny (1st singles), Craig & Liam (1st levels) and Luke & Danny (2nd singles) all winning close games.  Liam (2nd) and Nikkita (1st) had comfortable singles wins.  The team then met Yorks 1, always a tough proposition, and so it proved as Lancs lost out 8 games to 2.  Liam and Jenny, both in singles, recorded the closest results.  In their final first round match Wanderers were on the straight and narrow as they drilled through Durham 8-2.  Georgina & Dawn (2nd levels) and Danny & Dawn (2nd mixed) ran up good wins, supported by habit-forming close game wins for Jenny (singles) and Craig & Liam (levels) both 21-20.

This put Rovers in a second group playing for positions 1-3 against Yorkshire 1 and Leicestershire, whilst Wanderers earned a shot at positions 4-6 against Warwickshire and Derbyshire.

Rovers found the top group tough going in the afternoon, initially going down 8-2 to Yorkshire 1, though there were very good wins for Emily (2nd singles) against Victoria Village and for Jack & Carl at 2nd levels.  In their final match the team played a Leicestershire team with the likes of Avinash Chandarana and twins Chelsey and Britanie White.  It was a tough but good test for the players, who eventually went down 8-2, with Nicola having a very good win at 1st singles 21-14 against Chelsey, and Emily winning 21-15 at 2nd singles.  Jonathan & Andrew and Abi & Rachel both went close in their levels games.

Wanderers started their second group against Warwickshire and a really close affair ensued.  Craig, Liam and Jenny helped the team with good singles wins and the team held a 5-3 win going into the mixed.  Both mixed just got away by the odd point but the team had fought for every point and were rewarded with a 5-5 win by virtue of more points scored (186 to 174).  The team then met Derbyshire and faced a similar finale.  With the mixed to go the score was level at 4-4 (Craig having recording a 21-20 win in his singles then seeing his levels with Liam get away by the same margin).  Both mixed were very tight and when Danny & Dawn’s game got away 21-16 all eyes focused on Luke & Georgina, who stayed cool to take their game 21-20 and the match for Wanderers 5-5 (183 points to 181).  It shows how much every point counts!

The terrific performances, enthusiasm and team spirit of all 16 players were a credit to Lancashire and resulted in 3rd and 4th places on the day for our teams, beyond all expectations.  It was good to see so many of our players in a competitive county event, something that hopefully should spur each one on to their next level of ability.  Well done to the players, thank you to Graham Salisbury for running the Wanderers team, to Terry McKay for help with the Rovers, and thank you to all the other parents and families for your support.

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Lancashire's Under 16 Teams (from centre photo)
Back row: Jack McKay, Jonathan Simpson, Andrew Owen, Danny Hart, Liam Walsh, Craig Eccleston, Luke Ormerod, Carl Kennedy
Front row: Abi Kay, Nicola Poole, Emily Miller, Rachel Wallbank, Nikkita Cowburn, Jenny Salisbury, Georgina Stapleton, Dawn Mitchell

Dave Miller

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U14s & U12s At Rotherham
12th November 2006

Two of Lancashire's younger teams were in action recently at Rotherham in the North Midway League.  On 22 October the U14s came a creditable 5th out of 9 teams.  But the real heroics was from the team manager, Anne Lewis, who was only informed of the changed date 36 hours before the event (a mix up!) and still got a full team out.  Well done everyone.

The U12s, with players as young as 8 and 9 in the team, came a fantastic 3rd out of 10 on 5 November, being edged out by Cheshire who went on to win the day.

Sally Eyes posts a report, from a parental and local club perspective, on a special day for three of the U12s ...

Tom Vinden Caroline Dawid-Paluch
Oliver Hives Stephanie Dawid-Paluch
James Gregory Lauren Eyes
Michael Bebby Katie Dixon-Turner

A 7 a.m. start for three of Woodvale’s U12 juniors - Michael Bebby, Lauren Eyes and Katie Dixon-Turner - who were joining their team-mates to represent Lancashire in a team tournament at Rotherham beginning at 10 a.m.

Lancs were drawn in a group with Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Cheshire and Durham, whilst the other group was Yorkshire 1, Yorkshire 2, Warwickshire, Northumberland and Lincolnshire.

In their new smart shirts Lancs proudly took to the court, firstly against Leicestershire.  All the matches took the same format: 2 boys & 2 girls singles; 2 boys & 2 girls doubles; and two mixed (played by those not in the singles).  The team won 8-2 with Lauren and Katie losing the girls doubles narrowly and Katie and partner James losing by a small margin on their very first time of meeting.  Michael said “hello” to James from Chorley and put up a super winning display in their boys doubles match.

Next up was Durham, a tougher match but Lancs got a two game start as Durham were short of a girl.  The team finished with an 8-2 win.

Well warmed up and in good spirits Lancs went on to face Notts who were also going well.  A superb display all round with some close finishes saw Lancs winning by 6 matches to 4.

After lunch Lancs faced Cheshire who hadn’t lost many games at all.  With four very strong boys they were four down after these events but the girls managed to even it up at 4-4.  As the two weaker girls from Cheshire had played the singles events this strengthened their mixed doubles pairings.  Michael and Lauren did well to get 12 points and Katie and James got 8 points.  They should be congratulated as Cheshire went on to beat Yorkshire 1 and finish in 1st place.

3rd / 4th place play-off was verses Warwickshire.  Tom narrowly lost his boys singles at No. 1 but Oliver levelled the score to 1-1.  Carolyn won by 23-21 whilst her sister took her game 21-17.  The boys doubles won without any trouble so a 5-1 lead was established.  The first girls doubles lost by 21-19 and Lauren and Katie did well but lost by 21-15.  It was now 5-3 with the mixed to be played.  Katie and James got 8 points whilst Michael and Lauren pulled back 8 points to level at 17-17.  They were pipped at the post and lost 24-22.  Overall it was 5-5 but Lancs won on points with 20 points extra!

A long, tiring, but most enjoyable day was had by all.  Well done everyone but especially our own three Woodvale juniors!

Leicestershire Doubles

A couple of weeks before, in the Leicestershire U12 Doubles Tournament, Caroline & Steph Dawid-Paluch got to the quarter finals, as did Tom Vinden & Oliver Hives.  Considering our players' lack of experience this was a very good performance.  The other pairings of Andrew Cardus & Michael Bebby and Alice Zou & Lauren Eyes didn't make it out of their groups, but played really well and enjoyed the whole experience.

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U15 Shires Vs Flintshire
6th November 2006

James Abdous Lizzie Balmforth
Kristian Byrne Nikkita Cowburn
Michael Johnston Stephanie Hall
John-Gareth Phillips Danya Lewis

 

The first U15 Shires match for this season began with a flying start on 5th November.  Lancashire played Flintshire in an outstanding venue at Ruthin School.  All the team played exceptionally well and won all their matches.  No match went to three games, which may be a Lancashire record??

Thanks to all the parents, especially John Abdous, who was coach for the day.  I hope all the team enjoyed the venue and hospitality of the Flintshire county.  I also hope Anne and Kristian enjoyed their extended, scenic route through North Wales!

Let's hope this is an omen for the coming season.  FINAL RESULT: 20 - 0.

Sandra Johnston
U15 Team Manager


Coaching Setup
5th November 2006

There is some confusion about the current coaching setup, so please read the following if you need clarification.  The county is moving to regional sessions for younger players (previously sessions 1 & 2) and central coaching for the older and strongest younger players (previous sessions 3 & 4).  This is a different approach to last season, primarily because the county is aware that the number of players coming through to county standard between the ages of 9 and 14 is insufficient if we want to be competitive against other counties.  This has therefore led to a move away from monthly squad sessions for the younger players, to weekly, more locally based sessions (at Kirkby, Preston and Bolton).  The regional groups also come together 3 times in the season for central sessions, when the county can compare standards between the groups.

You will thus be attending one of the following:

- Kirkby regional - Thursday 6-8 pm (plus 3 x central sessions at Kirkby)
- Preston regional - Monday 6-8 pm (plus 3 x central sessions at Kirkby)
- Bolton (Horwich) regional - Friday 7-9 pm (plus 3 x central sessions at Kirkby)
- Kirkby central session (prior group 3) - approx. monthly on Sundays 10-1 pm
- Kirkby central session (prior group 4 / county senior 4th team) - approx. monthly on Sundays 1-4 pm.

The last in this list is for county senior 4th team squad (which the junior county is now managing to provide a bridge between junior and senior county).  This group includes a few U17 players, though the number is likely to be small as players have to be deemed to be close to senior county 4th team standard.

For the regional groups' 3 x central sessions the next session is on 21st January.  Half will be at 10-1 pm and the other half 1-4 pm.  Your coach at your regional session will tell you which of these you should attend.

Dates for coaching are on the Fixtures link, listed as groups 1-4 (as above).  Not all group 4 dates are shown as we are waiting to see how many group 4 attend regularly before booking costly court space.  They will most likely follow group 3 sessions.

Many players have recently received letters telling them which session to attend.  A few people are unsure about which they should be in - if this is the case please email badminton@f2s.com or phone a committee member (see end of About Us link).

Please note that affiliation fees for the season are now due - you should have received a request in the post.  If you do not have this please email badminton@f2s.com.

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U17s Kick Off With Shires Win
29th October 2006

Gary Fox Nicola Poole
Michael Mellor Emily Miller
Danny Wolfenden Steph James
Kristian Byrne Holly Richards

Lancashire's Under 17s won their opening match of the season 13-7 against neighbours Cheshire.  There were good performances throughout the team, with Gary Fox and Danny Wolfenden going unbeaten in their four best-of-three events using the new scoring system.  Gary, playing with Michael Mellor, looked very accomplished in the levels and had a good win at 1st mixed with Emily Miller.  Danny won at 2nd singles and played well to win both levels with Kristian Byrne.  Emily Miller had the closest result of the day, taking 4th singles 25-23, 21-18.

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U18s Win in Rotherham
8th October 2006

Paul Maguire Kirstin Miller
Michael Olstowski Charlotte Hall
Chris Brown Raychel Dawes
Alex Byrne Abi South

The first North Midway League encounter of the season saw Lancashire's Under 18s take first place, winning all their five matches.  They beat Derbyshire 9-1, Durham 8-2, Yorkshire (Phoenix) 6-4, Yorkshire (Tykes) 7-3 and Cheshire 8-2.  Their best result of the day came against the top Yorkshire team (Tykes) with Paul Maguire taking 1st singles, Alex Byrne and Kirstin Miller winning at 2nd singles, supported by level doubles wins from Paul Maguire & Michael Olstowski, Chris Brown & Alex Byrne and Kirstin Miller & Charlotte Hall.  Michael & Charlotte won at 1st mixed.

Raychel Dawes played 1st singles all day and, despite not recording a win, played well against some tough opposition and visibly improved through the day.  Abi South played 2nd levels with Raychel and had some good mixed and singles games.  With only one U18 event this season the team took the medals for a deserved first place.  Well played.

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Restricted Tournaments
23rd September 2006

U17

Philip Aspinall achieved a clean sweep of wins in the Lancashire U17 Restricted Tournament, played at Robin Park, Wigan, on 23rd September 2006.  Philip was taken close in his singles round-robin group by both Jonathan Bradley (21-18) and Mark McKay (21-18) before progressing through to the final, where Kristian Byrne could not have taken him any closer as the new rally points system produced a 25-23 result in Philip’s favour.

Philip went on to win the boys doubles in some style with partner Gary Fox.  They never gave more than 8 points away in a game, not easy to do with the new scoring.  Gary played some sublime shots, changing defence into winning situations time and again.  Kristian Byrne & Danny Wolfenden were worthy runners-up.

The mixed produced some very close games, but in the end the consistency of Philip and partner Steph Hall proved too much for all opposition, beating Alex Du Noyer & Holly Richards in the final.  Having lost two games to 20 in her singles, Holly reversed her fortune with Alex, knocking Gary Fox & Emily Miller out in the group stage 21-20.

The boys singles event was so large that a preliminary round was played in order to split the players into two groups.  The 'silver' group (for prelim losers) saw many close games, with Stephen Foreman, Elliott Newhouse, Carl Kennedy and John Wood getting out of their round-robin groups.  Carl eventually got the better of Elliott 21-20 in the 'silver' final.  Apologies for no trophies in this section on the day (we didn't expect the huge entry) but awards are being sorted!

Nicola Poole had lots of success, going unbeaten in the girls 7-way round-robin singles event.  Three players recorded four wins each (Emily Miller, Steph Hall and Steph James) but the runners-up spot went to Steph James by a single point on a count back.  Nicola went on to win the levels, playing with Steph James, just nudging out Steph Hall & Emily Miller (runners-up) and Holly Richards & Abi South (3rd) with none of the top three pairs scoring less than 19 in a game.

The Restricted events try to provide plenty of playing opportunities for all the players and each event contained a round-robin group stage at some point.  42 boys and 12 girls entered, the biggest boys entry for a Lancashire Restricted event that the organisers could remember.  The gold and silver groups in the boys singles allowed players to get plenty of close games, avoiding the one sided events that sometimes occur.  It was difficult for some of the inexperienced competition players, though I hope the likes of Daniel Banks, Craig Harrison, Hannah Parsons and Rosie Holden gained valuable experience … remember this event brings together the best junior players in the county.

For a full set of the U17 results click here.  Please use the tabs at the foot of the linked screen to move to the different events.

A number of the U17 Restricted winners and runners-up
Back row: Gary Fox, Philip Aspinall, Alex Du Noyer
Front row: Steph Hall, Emily Miller, Holly Richards, Nicola Poole

Thank you to all the helpers, though particular thanks to Dave Dunlop and Angela Walker for their help on the day, and to Tom Richards for purchasing the trophies.

Dave Miller

U15

In the U15 event Michael Johnston, Lizzie Balmforth and Steph Hall took the majority of the honours, winning two events each.  In the boys singles Michael won his box, then edged past James Abdous 21-19 in his second round match, before beating both Tom Wolfenden (21-11) and Robbie McDonald (21-13) in the final group of 3.  Michael has clearly come on an extra notch over the past six months and deserved his win.  John-Gareth Phillips lost to Robbie and James Baron lost to Tom in the second round, having got out of their boxes.  In the initial games, Richard Walker ran Robbie close (21-18), Sam Artingstall played well against James Abdous and Sam Collier lost out by a single point to James Baron.  Twenty players entered.

Lizzie Balmforth, Steph Hall and Nikkita Cowburn were the three players to make the final group in the girls singles (from eleven entrants).  Danya Lewis went down to Steph 17-21 and Emma Karsten lost 18-21 to Nikkita in their initial boxes, both creditable performances.  But in the deciding game of the final group it was Lizzie who edged out Steph to win the event, with Steph taking runners-up spot over Nikkita.

The boys doubles had twelve pairs and some great games, none better than the three final group games.  Sam Artingstall & Michael Johnston narrowly took the event with two 21-20 wins, against James Abdous & John-Gareth Phillips and Robbie McDonald & Tom Wolfenden.  Robbie & Tom came runners-up.  Sam Clucas & Sam Moss were the pick of the rest, winning two and only losing to Robbie & Tom 14-21.

Six pairs entered the girls doubles and Lizzie Balmforth & Steph Hall were a cut above the rest as they ran out winners in the final 21-10 against runners-up Nikkita Cowburn & Sarah KennyAbigail Kay & Danya Lewis won the play-off for third place.

The mixed saw Steph Hall take her second winners title on the day, as she and Tom Wolfenden beat James Abdous & Lizzie Balmforth (21-16) and Richard Walker & Jenny Salisbury (21-6) in the final group.  James and Lizzie came runners-up.

Well done to those that won the trophies ... and to those that didn't, well done for being prepared to learn and gain from the experience.  Thank you to Maurice Bramham for running the day.

U13

The U13 Restricted Tournament was contested by 9 boys and 7 girls at Robin Park on the same day as the U17s. After a number of close matches, Peter Athans & Caroline Dawid-Paluch took the honours. Peter won the Boys Singles, and then the Boys Doubles with Damien Hodgson. Caroline won the Girls Singles, and then the Girls Doubles with her younger sister, Stephanie. Peter & Caroline then paired up to win the Mixed Doubles.

Runners-up trophies went to Matthew Tolman (Boys Singles, Boys Doubles, Mixed Doubles), Hannah Buckingham (Girls Singles, Girls Doubles), Rachel Choong (Girls Doubles, Mixed Doubles) and Andrew Cardus (Boys Doubles). Daniel Myers and Terri-Lee Holmes also impressed.

Dave Dunlop, Chair of Lancashire CBA Schools & Youth Committee, presented the trophies.

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Boys Singles
Peter Athans,
 Matthew Tolman

Girls Singles
Hannah Buckingham,
Caroline Dawid-Paluch
Boys Doubles
Damien Hodgson, Peter Athans,
Andrew Cardus, Matthew Tolman
Girls Doubles
Hannah Buckingham, Caroline Dawid-Paluch, Stephanie Dawid Paluch, Rachel Choong
Mixed Doubles
Peter Athans, Caroline Dawid-Paluch, Rachel Choong, Matthew Tolman

For a full set of the U13 results click here.

Steve Athans

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