Yonex Welsh National Championships - Day 1

Posted by Carissa Turner at 01:02 on 6 February 2018

On the 3rd and 4th February the Yonex Welsh National Championships returned to the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff. This year 57 players entered across 5 events and 101 matches were played. The preliminary rounds, up to and including the Quarter Finals, were played on the Saturday and Sunday saw the Semi Finals and Finals.

Saturday 3rd February

The day began with the Men’s Singles which had 26 entrants competing to be crowned National Champion. Last year’s winner, William Kitching, was seeded 1st with previous Runner Up, Tsung Fong Mo, in second. 2017 Semi Finalist Andrew Oates was seeded 4th and seeded 3rd was Daniel Font, previous Welsh no.1 who has been out with a knee injury for 2 years.

In the first round of the Singles some of the Regional Academy juniors were competing. Archie Bult and Daniel Kite had a thrilling three set match which showcased the high standard of junior badminton in Wales. Daniel Clarke took on Masters medallist, Stephen Ellaway, which again went to three sets, but Stephen’s experience saw him through to the second round.

Most matches in the second round were won in two sets, but Andrew Jones and Victor Pang had one of the longest matches of the day with their 40 minute, three set tie. Victor started well and took the first set 21-18 but couldn’t convert the second set which he lost 19-21. The third set went point for point, but Andrew kept his nerve at crucial moments and won 21-18 securing his place in the Quarter Finals.

Again, there was only one Quarter Final which went to three sets, and that was William Kitching and ex international Matthew Sprake who made his return to the Nationals after a number of years away. Matthew demonstrated his skill in the first set and won 21-15, but once Will had gotten used to his shots and technique he managed to take the second set 21-10. The third set was close up until the mid-game interval, but Will’s fitness showed as he pushed ahead to win 21-15. The other three seeds also won their matches to secure their Semi Final spots.

MS

The Women’s Singles had only 5 entrants and so there was just the one game on Saturday between Jasmine Owen and Emily Carpenter. This was both girls' first appearance at the Welsh Nationals but it was Jasmine who came out on top winning 21-10, 21-9.

36 players competed in the Men’s Doubles meaning there were four groups to be played before the top two of each group went through to the Quarter Finals elimination round. Daniel Font & Oliver Gwilt topped group A with ease, while Steve Aylott & Stephen Ellaway came in second place. Dominique Brown & Tsung Fong Mo topped Group B with Rhys Pritchard & James Ellaway coming in second. Darren Ashburner suffered an injury during Group C’s second round and we wish him a quick recovery. Andrew Jones & William Kitching finished in first position of this group and Victor Pang & Vaughn Tovey finished second. In Group D Andrew Oates & Adam Stewart fended off Matthew Sprake & Joe Cottrill in a three set match which determined the first and second positions. 

In the Quarter Finals Daniel Font & Oliver Gwilt defeated Victor Pang & Vaughn Tovey in straight sets, and Andrew Jones & Will Kitching also beat Steve Aylott & Stephen Ellaway comfortably. After a close first set between both Joe Cottrill & Matthew Sprake and Dominique Brown & Tsung Fong Mo, and Andrew Oates & Adam Stewart and James Ellaway & Rhys Pritchard the second sets weren’t as close with both matches resulting in 21-19, 21-11 to Matthew Sprake & Joe Cottrill and Andrew Oates & Adam Stewart.

MD

The Women’s Doubles was one group of 5 players and so the final standings in the group would determine the overall positioning of each pair. The first match of the day between Sammy Hutt & Rebecca Hutt and Carol Davey & Helen Stoddart was an exciting match which came down to setting in the third! But it was the Hutt sisters who managed to get the win in the end with a score of 21-10, 12-21, 22-20. Carys Jones and Jasmine Owen put on some brave performances but couldn’t quite take any of their matches. Jordan Hart teamed up with younger sister Lowri for the first time and they started well winning convincingly. The deciding match for the title came between Jordan Hart & Lowri Hart and Gean Sou Mo & Carissa Turner. Nerves were evident at the beginning of the first set and even though Gean & Carissa pushed ahead, the Hart fighting spirit saw them draw the score back even but a couple of mistakes cost them as they lost the first set 19-21. A change of tactic saw Jordan & Lowri take charge early in the second set as they created a gap in the score line but as nerves built towards the end of the set Gean & Carissa managed to creep back in to the match and eventually won the match and the title 21-19, 21-19.

WD

With 10 pairs in the Mixed there were two groups of 5 battling for a place in the Semi Finals on Sunday. Group A was won comfortably by Tsung Fong Mo & Gean Sou Mo, but the second placed pair ended up being determined by games for and against as three pairs had won the same amount of matches. Iain Lovatt & Rebecca Hutt, James Ellaway & Katie Whiteman and Matthew Sprake & Judith Hughes all awaited as the scores were counted and it was Matthew Sprake & Judith Hughes who came in second position and advanced to the Semi Finals.

Group B was won by second seeds Ollie Hartery & Carissa Turner, although junior pair Daniel Kite & Jasmine Owen gave them a run for their money in the first set of their match! In second position were Masters players, Steve Aylott & Sian Elvis.

XD

After 13 hours of badminton, day one of the Yonex Welsh National Championships concluded!