Week 7 St Bedes v Telecom B 22nd November, 2016
It’s another family affair!
My first impressions when I walked in to QEGS sports hall was how great it was to see so many youngsters playing and loving the game of badminton. Under the expert tutelage of our very own Philip Aspinall, courts were busy with shot practice, half court singles and the like. I, however, had come to watch St Bedes take on Telecom B. If we ever need evidence of how important it is for your parent to play badminton, this is the game to use! All of the St Bedes’ ladies came from the same family, namely the Stebbings. The third lady, Alicia, partnered, first her Mum, Rebecca, and then her older sister, Elizabeth, against the Telecom ladies of young Annabelle Baldcock at three, partnering Gill Lucker at one, and then Lianne Dewhurst at two. In the first game, the tall reach of both Stebbings ladies brought a split result at one game a-piece. As the sisters then faced Annabelle and Lianne, despite some excellent drop shots from Alicia, the Telecom ladies’ experience eventually came through and both games went to the visitors.
In the men’s doubles, the other badminton family, namely the Holts, was in action as the agile Rhys Holt, playing at number three, played initially with the experienced Nils McDonald, and then his own younger brother, Niall, for Telecom. First up for St Bedes, the promising partnership of Declan Charnock, who played at three, with the youthful talent of 14 year old Scott Worsley-Allan. In only his third year playing the sport, Scott quickly made his mark on the game with some excellent short serves and clever anticipation at the net. Coupled with the strong jump smash of Declan, the Telecom men really had to work hard in this first match. Rhys’s movement around the court and balanced footwork, along with Nils’ excellent cross court backhand winners, finally wore the two young stars from St Bedes’ out and both games went to the opposition. In the second men’s doubles, Captain for St Bedes, Dean Bertenshaw, partnered Declan, this time against the Holt brothers, Rhys and Niall. Intelligent serving from Dean and, again, powerful smashing from Declan, brought this game back on an even keel, with both games going to the home side.
As the mixed doubles got underway, the home team top pairing of Rebecca and Scott faced the steady partnership of Gill and Nils. The level doubles’ tactics of the St Bedes pairing worked hard to cope with the court coverage of the Telecom partnership. Next up, Elizabeth and Dean faced Lianne and Niall, again adopting a level doubles’ stance. Some excellent defensive play from Lianne and powerful smashing from Niall, saw two very close games split between the two couples. Another very close game on the night between the number three pairings of Alicia and Dean for St Bedes and Annabelle and Rhys for Telecom, eventually fell to the away team, despite some very spirited court coverage from the young pairing for St Bedes. As Elizabeth and Dean faced Gill and Nils, the match still had everything to play for. The Telecom partnership anticipated the net very well and Nils’ controlled back hand drop often had the opposition scrabbling for the shuttle. Well-judged line calls, however, and excellent retrieval skills, brought another two games to the home side.
And now, the match I have been waiting to comment on, as Rebecca and Scott faced Lianne and Niall. I too started playing badminton in the Blackburn league when I was young; playing with my Dad (I know Scott’s Dad was watching him play on the night), I know what it’s like to battle and battle and still not get to 21 first (well, it used to be 15 – and still is in MidLancs, but that’s another story!). It is only by losing and knowing how that feels, that our young players will get better, will get stronger. The smile on Scott’s face, and his Dad’s, as he won his first game in the Blackburn league against Lianne and Niall, could not have been broader. Well done, Scott (and Rebecca for encouraging him) for the first of what I hope to be many wins for you.