Crushing victories make badminton side favourites for title

Paul Hackett stretches for Todmorden
Paul Hackett stretches for Todmorden

Another two crushing victories for Todmorden A in the NDBL men’s division has installed them as clear favourites to win their first ever title.

The last month has seen a key away win against Nelson College and maximum points gained at home against Burnley, which leaves Tod well placed with six wins out of six over halfway through the season.

Victory over Nelson, achieved by a 16 - 4 margin, was a personal triumph for Tod captain John Appleby, who won all six of his sets with partners Richard Hollows, Paul Hackett and Stuart Horsfall to contribute nine points to the victory.

The club’s only reversal was in a tight three setter between Hackett and Horsfall and home pairing Jelic and Rose.

Tod went two better in their home match against Burnley, dispatching the visitors 18 - 1.

The appearance of club captain Steve Larkin in place of the holidaying Appleby did little to diminish the side’s potency, despite another promising performance from the away side’s Bailey brothers, who look to be a real force for the league in the future.

There was another defeat for the men’s B team against high flying Towneley, but this was another gritty performance from the ever present quartet of Willcox, Atkinson, Kaye and Pearson.

Robert Pearson had a fantastic night, winning all five of his side’s sets and surprising his opponents consistently with his net play.

Tod finished 14 - 7 losers but again emerged with great credit and useful points.

The ladies team, meanwhile, fought out a fine 9 - 9 home draw against Towneley to keep up their slim hopes of silverware in their debut season.

On a night when no matches went the full distance, Sandra Simpson, Kathy Wilde and Suzanne Oulton shared three match victories between them, while the improving Ruth Frankland picked up the sporting player mark for the evening.

Travelling over the border beyond Colne to Kelbrook village hall for a tricky away match against third-placed Rolls Royce, the mixed team faced the unfamiliar playing conditions of a low ceiling and a tight back wall.

But, in a match that lasted in excess of three hours, ground out an exhilarating victory that looked unlikely when Simpson and captain Phil Howitt lost a three-set opener.

When Simpson and Wilde lost the first set of their ladies’ levels and were well down in the second, it looked like Tod would lose their proud record of never having lost a ladies match in the mixed leagues.

A storming recovery set the tone for the rest of the evening, as Todmorden, anchored by Richard Hollows, ran out 16 - 6 victors to stay top of the division by a far from comfortable four points.

Like the men’s four, they have a key month ahead in their quest for the divisional honours.

Mixed

P W D Pts

Todmorden 8 7 0 113

Towneley 8 7 0 109

Rolls Royce 8 3 0 75

Nelson College 7 2 0 57

Burnley A 6 2 0 43

Burnley B 7 1 0 36

Men's

P W D Pts

Todmorden A 6 6 0 92

Nelson College 8 5 0 90

Burnley 6 2 1 64

Towneley 6 3 0 55

Todmorden B 7 0 1 39

Ladies

P W D Pts

Towneley 6 4 1 61

Burnley 4 1 2 46

Todmorden 5 1 3 44

Nelson College 5 1 1 37