Badminton team return empty-handed

Todmorden Badminton Club returned from Nelson without a trophy at the annual knockout tournament but with their heads held high after a number of new players were successfully blooded in a competitive environment.

With two of last year’s champions, Sue King and Richard Hollows injured, and three others, Steve Larkin, Kathy Wilde and Paul Hackett unavailable, it was left to some of the less experienced players to fly the flag.

All of the players making their debuts did so in the men’s doubles.

Fifteen-year-old Matt Shackleton steadily improved through the night in a doubles pairing with Robert Pearson, and clearly has a bright future ahead. Left-hander Phil Glister and Simon Cave proved to be awkward opponents. Despite Glister developing an injury they narrowly missed out on a victory

Meanwhile the excellent Laurence Noble, in partnering B team captain Mike Kaye, claimed two scalps and just missed out on another.

It was left to more seasoned competitors Stuart Horsfall and Phil Howitt to get closest to the final, beating the eventual winners Laurence Whitaker and Declan Bailey, but failing to progress because of a heavy defeat in another group match.

Suzanne Oulton gave herself a busy night in entering for three competitions: mixed, ladies’ doubles and singles and despite a couple of heavy singles’ defeats, produced a creditable performance against Karen Rogan to lose only 21-15. In the ladies’ doubles she paired with reigning champion Sandra Simpson, winning one match 21-15, losing another 21-14, and in the crunch match against the Towneley pair missing out only 21-19.

Tod entered two pairings into the mixed doubles, and this was the only event which has yet to be completed. Oulton and Noble and Simpson and Howitt both face uphill tasks after a mixed start.

Both pairings will be looking for other results to go their way to give them any chance of progressing beyond the group stage when the tournament restarts later this month.