LEVEL DOUBLES TOURNAMENT 2018

Sunday 21st January 2018 at Elstree School.

Miserable weather conditions, including rain and snow, did not deter forty enthusiastic members of the Newbury District Badminton Association from turning out to play in the 2018 annual level doubles tournament at Elstree School and hosted by Kennet Badminton Club.

With a conveniently-balanced ten ladies pairs and ten mens pairs, the day was set for a quality display of badminton skills to amaze the spectators. The handicaps were already set and the play kicked off in style.

In the Ladies A group, first to show were Matt Gordon and Durga Limbu who dropped only three points in their games. Second place in that group went to Claire Drysdale and Sue Haines who dropped just four points.

In the Ladies B group, frontrunners were Anna Sukwong-Fletcher and Katie Woods who dropped just one point in their campaign and second place went to youngsters Anna Williams and Celia Yeung by a single point from Sally Hill and Amy Foreman. The handicapping was spot on for the ladies pairings as thirty seven of the forty games played were won by a mere five points or less. These results produced semi-finals of Claire and Sue versus Anna and Katie and Matt and Durga versus Anna and Celia. Claire and Sue overcame Anna and Katie by five points but Matt and Durga could not find the form they had shown during the opening rounds and let the tie slip away putting Anna and Celia in the final. The final was between Anna and Celia and Claire and Sue. Anna and Celia made the most of their fifteen point advantage and, despite a late charge from Claire and Sue, got the twenty one points they needed with room to spare.

In the Men's competition, group A favourites were Steve Heath and Simon Gaines but a last minute change saw Simon replaced by young Will Zeng. Steve Keats and Sacha Emery romped to maximum points with four straight wins and dark horses Stephen Lambe and Colin Dangerfield cruised to the runners-up spot with three wins, dropping just five points in the fourth match to the group winners. Stephen's performance could be put down to the presence of his biggest fan and critic who watched his every move while providing extra coaching in the corridor.

In the Men's group B, it was Mike Pembroke and Andy Norman who led the way with four straight wins having to score thirty points in each encounter because of the handicap. Runners-up in this group with an impressive three wins and only a defeat by the group leaders, were Matt Benians and Grant Lawrence.

Semi-final line-up for the men was Sacha and Steve versus Matt and Grant and Andy and Mike versus Stephen and Colin. Matt and Grant started four points behind the rivals and were unable to make up the difference as Steve and Sacha took the round. In the other semi, Mike and Andy took the tie despite a spirited resistance by Stephen and Colin but the odds were not in their favour.

The final was between Mike and Andy and Steve and Sacha. This was a hard fought contest but Steve and Sacha could not get back their form that had seen them win through this far and the title and trophy went to Mike and Andy.

Back row: Mike, Andy (with trophy), Steve, Sacha

Front row: Anna, Celia (with trophy), Sue, Claire