Mixed start to new badminton campaign

AFTER scooping the lion’s share of trophies last season in the Nelson and District Badminton League, Todmorden have made a mixed start to the new season.

This year, following the folding of both Gawthorpe and General Green, both mixed and men’s leagues have been reduced to a single division, while Tod ensured the ladies’ league survival by entering a team for the first time.

First up for the mixed team was an away match against Towneley. Last year’s double winning quartet of Sue King, Sandra Simpson, Steve Larkin and Phil Howitt arrived in Burnley suffering from a variety of ailments and injuries, but even this could not explain the unexpected mauling they received from the previous season’s runners-up.

Inspired by new recruit Deb Amir, Towneley clean-swept the first five rubbers, and even King and Simpson’s customary ladies’ win was closely fought.

The team suffered the kind of defeat they have dished out routinely for the last two seasons, going down 15-3.

The men’s B team started with a tricky first match against sleeping giants Burnley, but captain Mike Kaye picked a strong home side with Paul Hackett, Trevor Willcox and John Appleby all dusting off the cobwebs to earn a creditable 11-11 draw. All team members contributed points to the win.

The mixed team had a quick opportunity to recapture some form with a home match against league newcomers Rolls Royce from Barnoldswick.

Tod overcame initial problems - Howitt and Simpson squeaked home in their first set against Castlehow and McGraw by 28-26 - to win all of the first four rubbers.

With King and Simpson winning their ladies’ match 21-7, 21-11, it only needed Howitt and Larkin to win their men’s doubles match to claim all 18 points on the night.

Mulligan and McGraw battled hard to emerge straight sets victors, with the match score ending on 15-5 to Todmorden.

The men’s A team make their debut this week with a home match against Towneley, while the ladies’ team must wait until October to kick off their season.

Todmorden club nights are on Friday at the Todmorden Sports Centre on Ewood Lane between 8 and 10pm and all players with some experience are welcome. For further details contact Phil Howitt on 01422 844720.