Last weekend saw the start of Badminton Englands Senior County Championships. IOM1 playing in division 2 North, travelled to Bolton to face Lothian 1 and Lancashire 2 who had both been relegated from the division 1 the previous season. The team comprised of Alex Buck, Tobey Cheng, Ben Li, Matt Nicholson, Leah Brennan, Kim Clague, Mia Kirk and Jess Li.
First opposition were Lothian 1 with Cheng and Li playing 1st and 2nd singles respectively. Both got the IOM off to a great start with Cheng winning 21-13, 21-11 and Ben Li winning 21-16, 21-18. The ladies singles proved to be tighter, at 1st singles Jess Li took the first game 21-18, however the Lothian girl fought back to take the 2nd game. In the final Jess came through winning it 21-15. Brennan at 2nd Singles had a very close match narrowly losing 21-18 in the third end. Men’s doubles were next on, Cheng/Nicholson playing at 1st mens started quickly taking the 1st game 21-10, before the Lothian pair edged it in the 2nd game, but in the 3rd game Cheng/Nicholson regained control taking the match 21-10. 2nd Men’s doubles proved to tougher with Lothian taking the win. Island Games Gold Medallists J Li/Clague had a convincing victory 21-10 21-13 at 1st ladies. A new combination at 2nd ladies Brennan/Kirk took a game to settle in with Lothian taking the first end, however as their confidence grew the IOM pair fought back to take the 2nd and 3rd comfortably 21-15 21-13. B Li/Clague at 1st mixed, after losing the first game, fought back to take the 2nd and 3rd games 21-12 21-12. Nicholson/J Li at 2nd mixed followed in a similar way just losing the first 25-27 but taking the next two 21-15 21-15. Last on, Buck/Kirk had a more comfortable win playing well to take the win 21-12, 21-15 giving the IOM a great start to their county campaign with a 9-2 win.
The 2nd Match was against Lancashire 2s which proved to be a tough match. Both mens singles went the way of Lancs as did 2nd ladies singles. Cheng lost a very close battle 21-12 19-21 19-21, but J Li showed her quality at 1st ladies singles winning it 21-7 21-13. After struggling to get into the first game, Cheng/Nicholson had a great second game just losing out 22-24. B Li/Buck had a very competitive match just being edged out 16-21 18-21. Ladies doubles proved to be a strength for the IOM with J Li/Clague taking the match 21-10 21-12, Brennan/Kirk had a much closer match just losing the first game 23-25 then taking control to win the 2nd 21-13. It was tight in the 3rd game however, one of the Lancs player suffered an injury and the pair had to concede the match. At 1st mixed B Li/J Li took the match in 3 ends, Buck/Clague and Nicholson/Kirk both just lost out with the latter pairing losing 19-21 in the 3rd game for a final score of 7-4 to Lancashire 2. Well done to Jess Li for being unbeaten.
Newly promoted IOM2 were playing in Division 3 North and travelled to Chillwell in Nottinghamshire. The team comprised of Martin Cheung, Matthew Gawne, Neil Harding, Steven Quayle, Matt Riley, Annelise Mellor, Emma Nicholson, Kitty Thomas and Charlotte Watson.
Their first opposition were Derbyshire 2. Playing at 1st singles, 15 year old Cheung had a long hard match and was unlucky to narrowly lose 21-12 18-21 21-19. Gawne at 2nd mens singles, after a slow start, narrowly lost the second game 21-9 21-17. Mellor at 1st ladies singles took the first game comfortably 21-12 before the Derbyshire player took the next two games 21-18 21-15. At 2nd ladies singles Watson was always in control taking the win 21-12 21-9. Harding/Quayle had a great win at 1st mens, after losing the 1st game 21-14 they took the next two games 21-17 21-19. 2nd mens doubles and 1st ladies doubles both went the way of Derbyshire. Nicholson/Watson at 2nd ladies doubles held their ground to take the win 21-15 21-18. All 3 mixed were won by Derbyshire with Harding/Mellor pushing their opposition all the way to just lose out 21-17 in the third with the final score being an 8-3 win to Derbyshire 2.
The 2nd match was against Nottinghamshire 3 and the Island got off to a great start with Cheung this time being on the winning side of a 3 gamer at 1st mens singles taking it 14-21 21-19 21-9. There were great wins for Mellor at 1st ladies singles 21-16 21-16 and Watson at 2nd ladies singles 19-21 21-14 21-14, fighting back well after losing the first game. Harding/Quayle had a convincing win at 1st mens 21-11 21-13. The 2nd mens pairing of Cheung/Riley pushed their opposition all the way before narrowly losing 21-19 21-19, Nicholson/Watson at 1st ladies won the first game convincingly 21-12 but Notts took the 2nd game 21-17, the final game was close all the way but the IOM pair edged the crucial points to win 21-19. Mellor/Thomas at 2nd doubles held their nerve to take the first game 22-20 and kept the pressure on to take the 2nd game 21-19. Riley/Nicholson lost 2nd mixed 21-15 21-18 but the IOM took control of 1st mixed Harding/Mellor 21-15 21-8 and 3rd mixed Quayle/Thomas 21-10 before Quayle/Thomas had to dig deep to take the 2nd game 22-20 to give the Isle of Man a fantastic 8-3 win. Well done to Charlotte Watson for being unbeaten.