Last weekend was a very productive and successful weekend for all 19 players involved in the Welsh Junior National Championships in Deeside. The squad produced 15 out of 25 titles with only 19 available titles to the Gwent junior players, 7 runners up medals, 4 plate winners and 2 plate runner ups.
Gwent Dominates U11 Event
Gwent juniors stormed the U11 event with 8 out of 13 players coming from the county. Ollie Stansfield started the winning trend by beating doubles partner Elliot Simmonds in the boys singles. Aimee Whiteman continued a seasons winning spree beating Bethany Jones in the girls singles. Boys Ollie and Elliot paired up in the doubles to defeat fellow Gwent twins Dafydd and Iwan Price 21/11, 21/11. The winning Whiteman paired up with twin sister Lucie to take the girls doubles title in a well fought match against again Gwent opposition of Bethany Jones and Lydia Morris losing out 22/20 in the final game. Stansfield had his eyes on an U11’s treble and so paired up with Lucie Whiteman to complete the job defeating their doubles partners of Elliot and Aimee in 3 games. Dafydd Price went on to beat twin brother Iwan in the plate event final 22/20, 13/21, 21/13 with Lydia Morris also taking the plate in the girls singles event. This was a great display by all under 11 players taking a total of 5 titles, 5 runners up, 2 plates and 1 plate runner up.
Whitemans walk over the U13’s
Tomos Whiteman started the event off well by brushing aside any competitor looking to take his U13’s single title in straight games which included beating Gwent doubles partner James Morris in the semi finals. Younger sister Katie Whiteman followed suit again defeating any opponent in straight sets. Katie showed her determination by beating 1st seed Amy Jukes in a close final winning the 1st game 21/18 and then saving 6 game point to take the 2nd game 23/21. Tomos and James proved too strong in the boys doubles beating everyone again in straight sets to take the title while Katie partnered up with singles finalist Amy to take the girls doubles title. Brother and sister Tom and Katie both after a treble of U13’s titles doubles up in the mixed doubles event to beat Andrew Oates and Amy Jukes 21/12, 21/17 in the final to make it a pair of trebles for the Whitemans. Gwent’s Megan Pritchard took the girls singles plate event in two straight sets. Gwent again shows the strength of its juniors taking all 5 titles of the U13’s and 1 plate winner.
Saunders Secures Second Singles Title
Kelly Saunders produced some great badminton to make her way into the final of the U15 girls singles to face doubles partner and 2nd seed Sophie Arrighi. Kelly showed great determination to retain her singles title by disposing of Arrighi 21/8, 21/12. Katie Whiteman partnered up with season partner Gean Sou Mo in the U15 girls doubles to take a fourth title for the youngster in a closely fought round robin box. James Ellaway and partner Scott Oates worked their way through to the boys doubles final eventually losing out to Tsung Fong Mo and Matthew Pritchard to take the runners up spot.
Kinnear Settles Nerves with 3 Titles
Gwent’s Mike Kinnear who’s not a fan of the pressure that the junior nationals brings, but proves there’s nothing to be worried about. Mike fought his way through the U19 boys singles event beating 2nd seed Rhys Thomas in a close game to earn himself a place in the final against first seed Daniel Font, Mike took a runners up place losing 21/13, 21/15. This Saturday performance boosted Kinnear’s confidence going into the U17’s event on the Sunday. Mike started his age group singles strong working his way to a place in the final beating Tsung Fong Mo 21/12, 21/16. Mike then partnered up with Matthew Barrell in the doubles again progressing through to the final, again fighting off singles finalist Tsung Fong Mo and partner Matthew Pritchard 21/12, 18/21, 21/17. Another Gwent treble looked possible with Mike and partner Ellen Mahenthiralingam being 1st seeds in the mixed doubles. Mike and Ellen took a comfortable top place in their box and moved onto the final winning the title 21/10, 21/10. Gwent’s U15 singles winner Kelly Saunders took the plate in the U17’s girls singles with James Ellaway taking the plate runner up in the boys singles. A great weekend for Mike Kinnear and Gwent badminton taking 3 titles, 1 runners up, 1 plate and 1 plate runner up.