The latest North Tyneside Social Badminton Tournament, held at Hadrian Leisure Centre in Wallsend, was another hugely successful event, attracting 56 players from all over the region, with an age range of 14 to 74! As well as many familiar faces taking part, it was very pleasing to see a good number of new players!  As usual with these social tournaments, the aim was to cater for the casual, social players who enjoy some friendly competition and playing against different people.

Everyone got plenty of games, as the first rounds were played in groups before knockout semi-finals and finals. Northumberland County Secretary Norma Waterfield, who helped organise and run the tournament said:

“What is so good about these tournaments is the fact that players mix – when their group games are finished, they take the opportunity to play with others who have also not reached the knockout stages.  It is all very friendly yet competitive.  There were plenty of very close, exciting matches, and it was great to see players of all ages on the same court enjoying their games.”

Regular competitor Mark Henderson, who just loves playing badminton and competing in these tournaments, ended up a double champion, winning both the Men’s and Mixed Doubles events. Mark and his Men’s Doubles partner Kevin Mann actually finished runners-up in their group, losing to Alan Lam and Jon Mao. Then both of these pairs went on to win their semi-finals, meeting again in the final, where this time Mark and Kevin came out on top, winning easily 21-5. 15 pairs took part in the Men’s Doubles, playing initially in 2 groups.

New players Yum Yum Guo and Monica Zhon played extremely well throughout their Ladies Doubles group matches, which featured a record 10 pairs, defeating the older and more experienced Jo Donaldson and Lillian Allison 21-14 in a very good final. Joyce Buchan, the oldest competitor at 74 years of age, teamed up with Mark Henderson to win the Mixed Doubles, with initially 22 pairs playing in 4 groups. They overcame much younger Chinese players Alan Lam and Oliver Mao 21-10 in the final, demonstrating how age and experience can triumph over youth!

Holly Robson, Badminton England’s Relationship Manger for the North East, presented the Ladies and Mixed Doubles trophies, and also the Over 60s Awards “For Outstanding Performance by Over 60s”.  These went to Jo Donaldson and Derek Gilhespie. Holly commented:

“It was great to come along and see the tournament in action. I spoke to a number of different people, all of whom said they really enjoyed the tournament as it was a really good opportunity to play competitive matches against people of a similar standard, and they love the atmosphere as, although it’s competitive, it’s sociable and friendly, and you get the opportunity to meet lots of new people.”

Jo Donaldson, who played despite being under the weather, was delighted:

“The tournament was simply one of the best. The range of games was great, with many old faces and lots of new ones.”

She also thanked the volunteers (from Bewicke Badminton Club and the North Tyneside Badminton Partnership) who organised and ran the tournament:

“We couldn’t hold these days without them. They all so willingly give their time so we can enjoy a challenging, fun packed, friendly day. So massive thanks to them all.”

Badminton is a great sport for all ages and abilities, from Primary age children up to OAPs!  Anyone who would like to know more about opportunities to play socially, casually or in an affiliated club, can contact the County Secretary by emailing normawfd@blueyonder.co.uk.

To find out what sessions are happening in North Tyneside for adults and juniors visit the Sport North Tyneside website by clicking here.