A great season for badminton team

Todmorden Badminton Club has made its mark on the local badminton scene.

Friday, 14th January 2011, 5:22 pm

The club took four trophies from the Nelson and District League for 2009-2010 and all three of its teams are riding high in their divisions for the this season.

Although established as a club since well before Todmorden Leisure Centre was built, it has only been playing as a competitive outfit since 2007, with their men’s team enjoying mixed fortunes up until 2009.

However, last year both the men’s team, captained by John Appleby, and a new mixed team, captained by Steve Larkin, stormed to Second Division titles with a series of comprehensive victories throughout the season.

Appleby marshalled an outstanding team containing the brilliant youngster Richard Hollows, a stylish new recruit in Paul Hackett and the rangy Stewart Horsfall to the divisional title, with Ian Miller deputising when needed.

They ost only one match all season and finished on 91 points, beating Burnley A to the title by 11 points.

With too few female players to raise an all-ladies team at present, Tod are fortunate that their resident lady players are the league’s best.

In the mixed team Steve Larkin and Phil Howitt were joined by Sandra Simpson and Lois Verdeyen who remained unbeaten as a pair all season.

The mixed team lost only one match, to nearest rivals Nelson College B when not all players were available, but overall swept to the Division Two title with 119 points, 48 points clear of Nelson.

Under a different format, the mixed team also entered the Sherratt Cup, a handicapped knockout tournament.

After disposing of holders Gawthorpe B in the first round with Pam Wadsworth deputising for Verdeyen, crucially they won their semi against Nelson with Sue King making her debut.

This was a nail-biter - handicaps are only known at the end of the evening after all matches are played – Tod scraped home 236 points to 233.

The final was more straight forward with a comprehensive victory over General Green for Tod’s mixed team to claim the Division Two double in their first season.

In the league’s end of season tournament in May (also handicapped) there was disappointment as men’s pairings Howitt and Horsfall, Hollows and Hackett, and Appleby and Larkin all failed to get to the finals.

But Tod’s player of the year Sandra Simpson reached her third ladies’ doubles final in succession. After winning with Sue Atherton in 2008 and coming second with Verdeyen in 2009, she and Sue King proved unstoppable to clinch Tod’s fourth trophy of the season.

Richard Hollows, after performances in the men’s singles against Nelson’s Ian Bythell and Towneley’s Tony Black, was defeated by Towneley youngster Holt in the final.

Both men’s and mixed teams moved up a division but continued to progress.

By the end of the year both teams were in pole position.

The mixed team have won four out of five matches and drawn one. They await a showdown with Towneley who will need to win to deny Todmorden the title.

The mixed team are also through to the final of the Pollard Cup after a tight victory over Burnley A, and are thankful to Richard Hollows for adding a touch of class.

The men’s team have shown impressive form on the road to beat both Nelson College and Towneley, the latter by a remarkable 18-1 scoreline, to also lead their division at Christmas.

With an injury to new men’s second team captain Mike Kaye before the season start, Tod have given debuts to Trevor Willcox, Paul Atkinson and Robert Pearson who have all adapted quickly, to leave Todmorden B second in Division II at the half way stage of the season.

Club nights are on Friday at the Todmorden Sports Centre on Ewood Lane between 8pm and 10pm and all players with some experience are welcome. For further details contact Alan Shaw on 01706 813985.