Well another cracking International Badminton team tournament over the weekend of 16th and 17th February 2008, organised by Newmarket Badminton Federation for the fifteenth consecutive year, and for the fifth year at Littleport Leisure Centre with local players competing with players from Birmingham, the Wirral (Cheshire) and Belgium.
Twelve teams played in two groups, each group playing in a round robin i.e. each team playing each other. The Groups followed the Belgian playing categories, the top group of 5 teams being B (County) standard and the second group of 7 teams being C (First Division standard and downwards).
Each team consisted of two men and two women, playing Men’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Doubles.
Games used the new rally point scoring system up to 21 points (so no setting) with a maximum score of 252 points possible against each team. The places in each group were determined by the total points scored over the whole weekend, with play from 9am to 7pm on the Saturday (a later finish than last year as more games were played) and 9am on Sunday (not ideal for us Sunday morning loungers) to 4pm.
The B players had 20 games and the C players a massive 36, so a total of 372 over the whole weekend. Many thanks go to Top Spin Tennis racket stringing who kept the equipment going and to Sarah Corbin (H2T qualified sports masseuse) who kept the remaining bodies going after the first day saw a record number of injuries.
In a smaller than usual B group the contest went to the wire. The “Big Bird and Posh Scousers” (Steve Aylott and Nikki Ridges who finished a disappointing 3rd last year, bolstered by Brian Calvert and Dawn Butterfield – the “bird” in the title) were 2 points ahead, including one maximum, going into battle in the last round with Ely Victoria who had scored the only other two maximum pointers in the group. Ely, last year’s runners-up (James Wilson and Karen Partridge were strengthened this year by Gareth Gibbs and Jo Hughes) won the match by 5 points and snatched the title by 3 points on 965.
The top two were ahead of the pack by some 100 points, with “Mix ‘n’ Match”(Trevor Lunnon, Simon Burnage, Nicky Lewis and Tracy Brook) mid table on 863 points. A further 100 points off the pace were Dream Team (Didier Geerolf, Francky Velle, Erika Himpens and Belinda Drummond) on 760 points, including the group’s lowest score of 135 points. Close behind on 714 points, assisted by a better result against the eventual winners, were “The Hot Shots” (Martin Wilson, Richard Smith, Sue McKeown and Louise Hamilton), assuming a similar position to their club mates last year.
The C group was almost a re-run of last year. “Totally smashed” (Richard Parkes, Mark Stephens, Ann Chambers and Carol Kibbler) again finished a good 100 points ahead of the field on 1474 points, including the group’s only maximum and two 251 pointers (reflecting their all round relative strength). The “Brugges Smashers” (Chris Dereuddre, Jean Paul Vlaminck, Carine Spruytte and Karen Thorpe), as last year finished second, with 1355 points, although just 3 points ahead of Harvey’s Howlers (John Harvey, Dean Richardson, Karyn Duggan and Sue Daines-Smith) on 1352, who like last year’s St. Phillips’ team finished third again. A gap then to the “Court Squealers” (Lam Tang, Dan Ward, Bebe Holmes and Susan Turner) who improved on last year’s seventh place with 1227 points followed by Brothies' gang (Alex Bowers, Jamie Lebbon, Charlotte Willing and Lisa Brotherton) who were similarly placed to last year on 1182 points. Although this included the group’s lowest score of 149 points the young team overall competed very well. Just 2 points behind on 1180 were “Lye ability” (Tony Edwards, Neil Raybould, Sue Adams and Liz Hamar) who deserve a medal just for finishing after a double substitution, firstly by Trish Thorpe for Sue then Pauline Bond for “one game too far” Trish. The “Flying rackets” (Norman Ferguson, Andy Hall, Audrey Totness and Karen Sabell) were just behind on 1160 points with Tony Gryzbek covering Sunday’s play after Andy pulled his calf muscle.