Blackburn Handicap Tournaments
There was a good entry from the usual suspects – Blackburn Seniors, Westholme, Goodshaw, Accy Flyers and Independents – and on Monday 13th February, the hall at Norden was already busy with flying shuttlecocks and players limbering up.
The men’s singles and mixed doubles were played on the Monday, which meant a very busy night for the gents who had entered both events! A group of 7 men, with Mr Peter Pan himself, Rick Smith, as the back marker on -12 and Jason Loffman, Accy Flyer’s new recruit, hardly able to hold his racquet due to a kitchen knife accident at tea time, battled it out long and furiously! The last two men standing (just about) were Rick Smith and Ben Maris. Time had, unfortunately, run out and it was agreed to play the final the following Wednesday.
The mixed event, likewise, drew a healthy number of entries from the above clubs, and three groups were formed for matches. Unfortunately, due to one couple dropping out and an injury on the night, some groups only had a couple of games to play. Those players made up for this, however, by invading the empty courts next to the men’s singles to play their own matches. It also gave yours truly more time to sell her raffle tickets! More on that later.
Back markers in the mixed were Rick Smith and the tournament organiser, Claire Edmundson on -20. It was lovely to see so many family partnerships in the mixed tournament: up and coming Freya played with her dad, Stuart Davey, from Independents; the excellent brother and sister partnerships of Lewis and Amie Gregson entered, along with the other sibling duo, Joe and Sophie Lambert; Steve Roe played with his daughter, Jenny Woods; and Ben and Rosie Maris played together. If this tells us anything it’s that family matters in sport!
As with the men’s singles, however, the mixed final, between the poster boy on the evening, Dean Bertenshaw and Aliyah Ayub for Accy Flyers, and Steve Roe and Jenny Wood, from Blackburn Seniors, would be played the following week as, again, time had run out.
On Wednesday 15th February, the men’s and ladies’ doubles tournaments took place – although perhaps that could aptly be re-named Super-Sub Day, as several of those entered found themselves without a partner at the last minute and Super-Subs appeared on the night: namely Joanna Holt (who had the dubious pleasure of playing with yours truly!); Helen Shanks (who stepped in for the injured Rosie); Steve Roe (who was more than delighted to find himself partnering Westholme’s Tom James; and Paul Hooper (who stepped in for Yang to play with Jason Lim).
Ten men’s doubles couples were drawn into groups with Mr Peter Pan, Rick Smith, again finding himself as the back marker, this time playing with Lewis Gregson off -15. There were some excellent battles in the men’s tournament, and, due to the earlier start time of 7pm, the matches were able to play straight through to the final. Fresh from his victory in the Rossendale veterans’ tournament, and proudly wearing the same t-shirt (washed and ironed of course!) Anser Yaseen and Steve Grantham for Accy Flyers, playing off +4, faced the Blackburn Seniors’ pairing of Andrew Grange and Chris Peel who had been given +3. If the prize were to be awarded to who had travelled the furthest for his badminton, then Andrew coming down from Kendall would have won hands down. Unfortunately, under the watchful eye of Luke Quigley who scored the final, the confident partnership of Anser and Steve won the game, as Anser added yet another trophy to his cabinet.
There were six ladies’ doubles pairings entered which meant that we all got to play each other – which was good for those on a plus handicap but blooming hard work for anyone on a minus! The excellent partnership of Claire Edmundson and Jenny Woods were again the back markers off a whopping -20, with me and the super sub Joanna not far behind on -12. Winners on the night, however, were the exuberant couple from Goodshaw, Kathryn Owen and Lauren Wearing, with Lauren delighted that she had made a return to badminton, a sport she clearly loves. Runners up on the night were me and Joanna.
And now, back to the news of the raffle! Who would have thought that just two nights of tournament sales and one night of selling at my Rossendale away game against Accy Flyers in the cup could have resulted in a grand total of £110.60! Even I’m surprised, and I know how good I am at selling raffle tickets! The draw for the hamper will be made on March 16th at the Rossendale cup final. Remember, all the proceeds from the raffle (and don’t worry if you didn’t manage to buy a ticket for this one as there will be an Easter hamper courtesy of Asda, Rawtenstall coming your way soon) are going to the Promoting Junior Badminton in Rossendale crowdfund which you will (I hope) have seen me ruthlessly publicising.
Before I end this report, I must say a massive thank you to quite a few people, without whom these sort of events just wouldn’t happen. Obviously, to Claire Edmundson and her band of Blackburn Seniors’ helpers; but also to Claire’s mum, Prue, who turns out every year to assist with the smooth running of this annual tournament. I takes so little time to say thank you and it means so much. Thank you.
I couldn’t finish without a very, very special mention to the youngest helper on the night, 5 year old Flossie Edmundson (who had never been up so late before!) Quite simply, she was a delight, and I couldn’t have counted up all that raffle ticket money without her. She was awarded a Head of Year sticker on the night and I know she has her fingers tightly crossed in the hope that she wins the raffle. Thank you, Flossie.