2013 Glasgow International Youth Championships

Posted by Rob Short at 01:05 on 29 May 2013

HP Banner - 2013 Glasgow Youth International

Badminton Wales sent three junior teams to the Glasgow International Youth Championships, two at U15 level and one at U13 together with another U13 team made up of 2 Welsh juniors and players from Ireland and England. This was a great experience for all the players involved with a stand out performance from Sophie Arrighi and Kelly Saunders who reached the final of the U15 Girls Doubles event.

U15 Event

Badminton Wales entered two teams in the U15 team event;

Team A (Wales) comprised Scott Oates and Rory Xiao + Kelly Saunders and Sophie Arrighi.

Team B (Welsh Dragons) comprised Andrew Oates and Joe Cottrill + Gean Sou Mo and Morgan Williams.

Both teams played 4 matches with team B registering 2 good wins and losing a close 3-2 against Belgium. Team A fared better with good wins against a strong Danish team and Belgium.

In the individual events all players put in good performances but it’s fair to say that Scott Oates, Gean Sou Mo, Kelly Saunders and Sophie Arrighi stood out. Sophie Arrighi had an outstanding singles win against top English player Lizzie Tolman but the highlight proved to be Kelly and Sophie reaching the doubles final, again beating the English 1 / 2 seeds in the semi-final and losing closely 19 and 17 to the other 1 / 2 seeds form Denmark. Sophie and Kelly really looked the part and can be an extremely good pairing for the future.

U13 Event

In the U13 event Wales were represented by Oliver Stansfield, Tomos Sudder, Elliot Simmonds, Katie Whiteman, Rhea Hemmadi and Elis Richards.

Team Competition

Across the board the team performed well as a unit against opposition of the highest quality.

V Belgium

The first match against Belgium resulted in a 1-4 defeat, but this could easily have been much closer. All the games were competitive and some outstanding performances were shown.

Oliver Stansfield narrowly lost his singles 20-22 in the third set, and when teamed up with Tomos Sudder they beat their Belgium counterparts. Katie and Rhea produced a good solid performance in the Girls doubles against a strong pair, losing 18-21 in the first set and competed well to lose 14-21 in the second set. Similarly Tomos & Katie went down in straights sets after losing a tight first set 21-18. Rhea in the singles dug in after losing the first set 11-21 to fight back to15-21 in the second.

V Scotland

This match was always going to be difficult, with a very strong Scots team being fielded, and this proved to be the case with a 0-5 defeat.

Katie & Rhea produced the performance of the match for Wales in losing 18-21, 13-21. Katie & Oliver also dug in during the second set in their mixed doubles after losing 8-21 in the first to lose 14-21 in the second. Scotland deservedly going on to win the whole event.

V Celtic Warriors (5/6 Play Off)

This provided Wales with their solitary victory in the team event, the final match score being 3-2. Despite losing the two singles rubbers, the team showed their character and spirit, forged by the experiences as a group from the Celtic Challenge event, and won all three doubles events.

Of the two singles matches, Rhea narrowly lost 17-21, 18-21 and briefly showed glimpses of what she can do; Tomos unfortunately came up against a very good boy and went down 11-21, 8-21.

The doubles matches were competitive in the main, but Wales proved to be more together. The first mixed (an all-Welsh affair between Oliver & Katie and Elliott & Ellis proved that Oliver and Katie have too much firepower and are blending well as a partnership in winning 21-9, 21-5; Oliver & Tomos again provided an encouraging performance to win 21-13, 21-18;  Katie and Rhea overpowered their opposition to claim victory 21-13, 21-12.

The experience of playing in a tough team tournament such as this will prove invaluable, in that the players are drawing upon the team spirit developed as a unit from the Celtic Challenge and pitting themselves against a sometimes higher standard of opposition, in an environment that will highlight to each player what is required to compete at this level.

Individual Competition

All of the players picked themselves up from the disappointment at having finished only fifth in the team event to produce some outstanding displays. Almost across the board the Welsh players finished second in their respective groups.

In the Girls events, Katie produced a commanding performance in the first match winning 21-1, 21-2, but found her second opponent Rachel Sugden too strong. Rhea competed well but in a very strong group lost both her matches; similarly Elis who competed well against Jennifer Lafferty to lose 21-19, 21-13 but lost 6-21, 6-21 to Sarah Sidebottom.

The doubles proved to be very competitive with the girls competing in two strong groups. Katie and Rhea showed they can compete at this level in defeating Alice Campbell and Erin Waddell 21-10, 21-3 and narrowly lost to a good Belgian pair 16-21, 18-21. Elis teamed up Winona Satish winning two of their three matches losing the deciding match against Lily Farnood and Sarah Sidebottom.

Of the Boys, Oliver secured a Quarter-Finals berth winning both his group matches, but went out in straight sets 15-21, 7-21 to Jack Riddall (the winner of Tomos’ group). Tomos won one and lost one of his matches, beating Morgan Sinclair 21-12, 21-6 before losing to Jack Riddall 17-21, 7-21. Elliott did well in both his matches particularly against Matthew Grimley whom he lost to 8-21, 8-21.

In the doubles, Oliver & Tomos narrowly failed to progress. After winning their first match convincingly they competed well against Kyle Magee and Adam Pringle before going down in 3 sets 9-21 in the third.

Mixed doubles again showed the talents and potential that the partnership of Oliver and Katie possess. They narrowly lost out on qualification to the knockout stages in going down 17-21, 21-23 to Seamus Russell and Naomi Branford. Of the other pairs Rhea and Tomos secured one victory in their group before coming up against Matthew Grimley and Sarah Sidebottom; Elliott & Ellis competed well but were overpowered by more experienced pairs.

Conclusions

Both the Team and Individual competitions highlighted that Wales can compete with high standard opposition. The development process is ongoing. Exposure to tournaments of this kind that combine both elements is vital and will be a key factor towards the forward momentum of the Development Group Players in achieving National Squad status in the future. Players need to take away the positives from this event whilst also considering the areas that they need to improve. Intensity and quality of training is required, along with a single-minded focus of where they need to go, and what needs to be done to achieve that goal. Some outstanding performances by all of the respective players against high standard opposition!

All in all a tiring but uplifting weekend for Badminton Wales.

A big thanks must go to the Coaching/Management team of Neil Cottrill, Annette O’Neill and Lindsay Richards for their support of both me and the players over the weekend!!

The full set of results can be found on Tournament Software for both the Team and Individual events.

Ian Portway

Pictured are the U13 Welsh junior players.