Newmarket Badminton Federation Twentieth Anniversary International Team Tournament 2013
For team members names and other details see the Newmarket Badminton Federation website
Another hard-fought International Badminton team tournament was held over the weekend of 23rd and 24th February 2013, organised by Newmarket Badminton Federation, with local league players competing with others from around the country and a large contingent of our friends from Belgium.
Just one less team than last year for the twentieth consecutive year of this event, so twenty four teams, which with some substitutes amounted to over 100 players, took over Littleport Leisure Centre (for the tenth year), again at the Paradise Sports centre in Ely and for the first time at Ross Peers Sports Centre in Soham.
Teams played in groups, based on the Belgian playing categories from B, the top group and County standard through to C1 and C2, both still very decent standard. All groups played in a round robin basis i.e. each team, consisting of two men and two women, playing each other in Men’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Doubles. Games used the rally point scoring system up to 21 points only (for the Men’s and Ladies’) and 15 points (for the Mixed) apart from the B group (as this group had just 5 teams) who played to 21, all games with no setting. Maximum scores attainable in each match therefore being 204 points or 252 for the B group. The places in each group were determined by the total points scored over the whole weekend, with some groups involving play-offs to determine the final places. Play started around 9am up to around 7pm on the Saturday and from 9am to 4pm on Sunday.
Although the total number of games was down (to 456) this year this allowed time for play-offs, but players still had to survive at least 24 games each and some as many as 39 (so a rest was well earned by the C1 finalists). Fortunately there were very few injuries this year but for any that didn’t survive or even make it as far as this weekend we hope that they make early and full recoveries and thank those who substituted for them.
Many thanks also go to “Top Spin Tennis” for helping with some of the fallout racket stringing. Also to Phil May for organising this year’s successful badminton and social event which was again a tasty Hog roast on the Saturday night at Stuntney Village Hall, where there was also a small presentation to show appreciation to some of the people (organisers and participants) who have kept this event going over the last twenty years.
In what is probably the strongest B group seen in the event’s twenty years defending champions “Posh Scousers” had a battle royal with “Biff Byford’s Fluorescent Zebrafish” (who get the prize for the most inventive and obscure team name in twenty years) who eventually beat them in a cracking match by 13 points and, including one of only four maximums over the whole weekend (against “2 Matts plus 2”) finished on 951 points. But not to be outdone the Scousers also scored a maximum (against RIF and RAF) and also scored better overall against the other teams to finish on 966 points, just 15 points ahead of BBFZ to take the title for the 6th time in the last nine years. These two were over a hundred points ahead of RIF and RAF on 837, just ahead of “Carpe Diem” on 820 points with 2 Matts slightly off the pace on 734 points.
Last year in the mid-section C1 category, even after a play-off, two teams couldn’t be separated so for the first time ever were declared joint winners. This year they found themselves in the same group but “Cookies crew” (who had also been winners on points difference two year ago) couldn’t quite score enough in a very close finish with only 26 points separating the top four teams with Cookies in fourth on 918 points, 6 points behind “Crossways Baddicts” on 924 points, 7 points behind “Budgie Bashers Reborn” (last year’s other winners) who were just 13 points behind “Totally Smashed” on 944 points. The remaining two teams, “Francky’s 4 seasons” and “All Sports 2013”, were close together but over 200 points behind the top four. This group featured the only two other maximum scores of the weekend - Budgie Bashers (against Francky’s) and Crossways (against Allsports).
In the other C1 group just like Cookies, who pipped them two years ago, “Harvey’s Howlers” couldn’t quite score enough points, even though commitment was not an issue with Sue McKeown sliding under the net after racing at road runner “beep, beep” speed to retrieve a net shot. So, despite beating all the other teams apart from “Rik’s Raiders 2013” who topped the group with 756 points (including the only “white-wash” game of the weekend by Richard Smith and Serena Verney), the Howlers finished third on 699 points, 15 points behind regular contenders “The Pheasant Pluckers” on 714 points. Diankust finished on 619 points ahead of Belglish on 586 points (but credit to Chris Derudre who played the whole weekend despite not being well, having also missed out last year).
For the semi-finals the number of games was halved to ensure there was enough time to play the final and not surprisingly Totally Smashed overpowered the gallant Pheasant Pluckers by 95 points to 72., The other semi-final was much closer and could have gone either way but Rik’s Raiders raised their game to beat Budgie Bashers by a narrow margin 90-88 points and then maintained this momentum to overhaul previous multiple winners Totally Smashed (who may have been feeling their 39 games each at this stage) by 180 points to 154 points to take the title.
With extra entries in the C2 category this year they had to be split into two groups, but a new format was devised so that teams would still play against teams that they would need to beat to win the event or teams that didn’t perform well on the first day could still recover to an extent on the second day. This meant that after the teams had played in the two groups on the first day, on the second day winners and runners-up played in a new group as did the third and fourth placed teams, although only playing against teams that were not in their original groups. Scores were carried forward from the first day and a total score decided the final placings. In the end “Haverhill Bashers” won their group and went on to win overall, 50 points clear on 954 points. “Bit of Pink” (who get the prize for the most garish matching team shirt in twenty years, although Littleport’s club shirts take the league prize) and “Linton” (winners and runners-up respectively from the other day one group) retained their relative positions. Linton narrowed the gap to just 5 points Pink scoring 894 points for second spot and Linton 889 points for third. Then a close cluster saw “Steph’s Stars” fourth on 833 points, “Decroit Demons” fifth on 821 points, “Crossways Chancers” on 814 points (sliding drastically from their runners-up spot after day one) and “What’s the Racket” on 803 points with “The E factor” a more distant eighth on 749 points.
Preparations are already underway for next year’s event which will be held over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd February 2014 and initial thoughts include, below the B (1) group an additional playing category of B2 for the better C1 teams and maybe a hot / cold buffet as a change from the hog roast on the Saturday night – full details will be on www.newmarketbadmintonfederation.org.uk (international page).