Home and away wins clinch badminton title

Paul Hackett (Todmorden Badminton Club)
Paul Hackett (Todmorden Badminton Club)

Todmorden Men’s A Badminton team stormed to their first ever league title with home and away victories in the Nelson and District League.

The wins, which leave Tod with a 100 per cent record from their seven matches, means they cannot be caught by nearest rivals Nelson College, even though both have a match still to play.

First up was a tricky away fixture against Burnley at St Peter’s Leisure Centre.

Tod were at full strength with Richard Hollows winning a perfect six sets without reply in partnership with Paul Hackett, Stuart Horsfall and John Appleby.

Stuart Horsfall also gained maximum points while losing a single set, and the only pairing who lost out were Hackett and Appleby, who still scored a set to give Tod a 16-4 victory.

On home turf, Todmorden knew a victory against Towneley would seal the title, but were rocked by the news that Hollows had suffered a leg injury.

Mixed captain Steve Larkin deputised and the club found itself in what captain John Appleby described as the most difficult match of the season.

Four of the six matches went to third set deciders, with Larkin and Appleby losing their first 21-19 to Hubel and youngster Jason Holt.

However, Horsfall and Hackett saw off Stewart Holt and Barry Torkington in their decider 21-13, and when Hackett and Larkin beat Stewart Holt and Hubel in straight sets, the side were well on their way.

Hackett was also impressive in partnering Appleby to a 21-8, 21-13 victory against Torkington and Hubel, and Horsfall and Larkin gained another three-set victory to leave Tod 15-8 winners.

The key to Tod’s remarkable title-winning season has been consistency and power from the quartet of Hollows, Hackett, Horsfall and Appleby, with great back-up from Larkin when needed.

Tod first entered a men’s team in the NDBL five seasons ago, and have come a long way from their early days, when they yo-yoed between the two men’s divisions.

They have one remaining fixture, a local derby against Tod ‘B’, where the club’s second string side will hope to spoil the new champions’ coronation as league winners.