For the sixteenth consecutive year another hard-fought International Badminton team tournament was held over the weekend of 14th and 15th February 2009, organised by Newmarket Badminton Federation, and for the sixth year at Littleport Leisure Centre with local league players competing with others 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, so the two groups of 6 teams had a top group of B (County) standard and the second group of C (First Division standard and downwards) standard.
Each team consisted of two men and two women, playing Men’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Doubles.
Games used the rally point scoring system up to 21 points only (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 6pm on the Saturday and a more respectable 10am start on Sunday to 4pm.
All players had 30 games, so a total of 360 over the whole weekend. Many thanks go to “Top Spin Tennis” racket stringing who kept the equipment going and to Sandra Ashcroft who has been organising this successful event for a number of years.
Last year the B group contest went to the wire with “Ely Victoria” pinching the title by just 3 points after winning the final crunch match by 5 points against previous winners The “Big Bird and Posh Scousers”. Although Ely Victoria (with “Big Bird” Dawn Butterfield switching allegiance back to her local club Ely Victoria playing with James Wilson, Gareth Gibbs and Liz Salmon) again swept most of the other teams aside they found Posh Scousers (Steve Aylot, Chris Woods, Helen Ambrose and Emma Timmins) too hot to handle, losing 246 to 169 points in their match and this was decisive as the Scousers finished on 1248 pts, nearly 100 points ahead of Ely on 1157.
The top two teams were ahead of the pack by some 100 points but then only 150 pints separated the remaining four teams – in third with 1051 points were “Dream Team” (Didier Geerolf, Trevor Lunnon, Nikki Lewis and Sandra McMasters), 4th were the impressive youngsters (Hannah Sharman, Carolyn Key, James Watkins and Ben Carter) playing as “Court Gazelles” on 979 points, 5th with 959 points “St Phillips 1” (Martin Wilson, Colin Brown, Janet Symonds and Steph Devo), pipping their club mates Ollie Simms and Richard Smith partnering sisters Dianne Baker and Sally Lightfoot as “Sister Act” on 901 points.
The C group was almost a re-run of the last two years. “Totally smashed” (Richard Parkes, Mark Stephens, Ann Chambers and Carol Kibbler) again finished a good 100 points ahead of the field on 1235 points, The “Brugges Smashers” (Chris Dereuddre, Jean Paul Vlaminck, Carine Spruytte and Sue Hoyland), as in the last two years, finished second. Having finished just 3 points behind them last year again close behind were Harvey’s Howlers (John Harvey, Karyn Duggan and Sue Daines-Smith with newcomer Jantse Vlaminck) on 1061 points, but pipping them for third place, benefiting from being injury-free this year, were “Lye ability” (Lloyd Truman, Neil Raybould, Hayley Pugh and Liz Hamar), with 1089 points.
A bit further off the pace with 959 points, but with excellent performances were the young team of Daniel and Jamie Lebbon, Stephanie Crack and Laura Gallagher playing as “All 4 won”, ahead of “Odd Couples” (Andy Hall, Chris Reece, Glynis Coleby and Sue McAllister) who competed well in all their matches for their 914 points.