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International Tournament 2005

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Newmarket Badminton Federation hosted their twelfth International Badminton tournament, for the second year held at Littleport 19th & 20th Febrauary 2005, with Andy Rutherford and the staff working well to feed and water the competitors. Sadly for the first time in the event’s history there were no entries from Belgium, however the tournament remained cosmopolitan including Birmingham, the Wirral (Cheshire), Lithuanian and German entries.

Eleven teams (each of four players) played in two groups, reflecting the relative playing standards, based on the Belgian playing categories. The top, B group (County standard) actually combined with the next C1 group (good First Division standard) to form a league of six teams who played in a round robin (i.e. each team played each other). The C2 category (First Division downwards) consisted of 4 teams. Each team consisted of two men and two women. A significant change in format this year meant there were no Men’s Singles, so in addition to the usual 2 men’s doubles and 2 ladies’ doubles, the mixed was extended so that instead of just playing against opposite numbers, all pairs played against each other. Games were to 15 points so a maximum of 180 points could be scored 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 and 9am to 3pm on the Sunday.

Both groups were amazingly competitive with the outcome in the balance right up to the final rounds. In the top group the perennial runners-up Posh Scousers (Steve Aylott of Dark Ravas last year joined by Brian Calvert, Lucy Hunter and Viv Winters) again needed to beat last year’s winners Ely Victoria One by a good points margin, Ely (Sandra Arnold, Dawn Butterfield, Gareth Gibbs and James Wilson) already having scored the weekend’s highest total of 172 points. This year fortunes were reversed as they did so by 30 points to take the group on 793 points, decisively 50 points ahead of Ely. Despite some impressive Lithuanian (Paulius Geleziunas) and German (Gundrun Alsemeier) shot-making Mix ‘n’ match (with Beth Bromley and St. Edmunds’ Richard Smith) slid to perhaps a surprising third place on 733 points, separating the Ely Victoria teams with Ely Victoria Two (Mandy Moore, Karen Partridge, Giles Taylor and Newmarket’s Ollie Simms) in fourth place on 716 points. Melbourne swingers (Andy Goodall, Trevor Lunnon, Pauline Tarbit and Nicky Lewis), as last year, were fifth on 667 points with the youngsters of Matthew Bond’s 007 crew (including James Samuel, Louise Tarbit and Katie Roberts) off the pace with 523 points and the weekend’s 2 lowest scores of 85 and 89.

In the lower group last year’s runaway winners Dicko’s Kids (Newmarket youngsters Lisa Brotherton and Simon Martin and the not quite so young John Dickinson and Angela Anderson) went into the last round against John Harvey’s Howlers ahead, including the highest score in the group of 165 points. Lisa and Angela got them off to a great start maintaining the only Ladies doubles 100 percent record of the weekend. But things then started going pear-shaped for the Kids who dropped points on the Men’s and the Mixed as the Howlers turned it on to punish them by 135 points to 97 (the second lowest score in the group) which gave the Howlers 585 points and the title. Just reward for St. Phillips’ Janet Willing, Elaine Gower in her first tournament , making it a Wirral double and Martin Wilson who only dropped one game and 5 points over the whole weekend. The Kids were just 18 points behind on 567. Although Birmingham’s Karen’s Beavers (Andy Hall, Flash Chaggar - honest, Audrey Totney and Karen Thorpe) had started well, beating the Howlers by 5 points, they could not sustain this and finished one place lower then last year in third with 555 points. Littleport Dreamers (Sarah and Tim Neeves, Debbie Walters, Joanne Potter and Haverhill’s Phillip Beadling) finished similarly to last year, fourth on 512 points. The Allsorts (Phillip May in his annual outing, Linton’s Martin Little and Ely’s Bebe Holmes and Sue Turner) were well off the pace on 458 points and the group’s lowest score of 91 points.

In the end some 60 more games were crammed in than last year - 300 games in 25 matches. A mere 24 games for each player in the lower group and a staggering 30 games for those in the top group. This would explain some painful expressions and the contagion of elasticated bandages on the second day, but despite the aches and pains, thanks has to go to Sandra Arnold, Dawn Butterfield , Trish Thorpe and Tracey Penrose for organising this year’s successful event.