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THE HAVERING ROUND of the National Schools Badminton Competition was held last week at Hornchurch Sports Centre. The key stage 3 event for pupils in school years 7/8/9 took place on Wednesday and the key stage 4 event for years 10 and 11 was held on Friday.
For the key stage 3 girls event, there were 9 teams taking part and this was run as two groups with the top two teams progressing through to cross over semi-finals and a final. During the group stage, it was Coopers ‘A’ and ‘B’ who topped the groups with Frances Bardsley and Hall Mead coming in runners up positions.
In the first of the semi-finals, it was a convincing Coopers A team who beat Hall Mead 5-0, whilst in the other semi, it was an equally convincing Coopers ‘B’ team that beat Frances Bardsley – again 5-0 – setting up an all-Coopers final for the KS3 girl’s event. Despite the individual matches being much closer, it was another 5-0 win for the ‘A’ team.
The play-off, Frances Bardsley secured a 4-1 victory to finish third.
In the KS3 boy’s event, there were 11 teams entered. After the initial group stages, we were left with the top 8 teams making up the quarter-finals. Coopers ‘A’ was pitched against Coopers ‘C’ in the first quarter-final which despite dropping one game the ‘A’ team came through victorious. In the second match, it was the turn of Hall Mead to play against Campion and despite the 4-1 victory, the individual game scores were very tight. In the next quarter-final, it was the turn of yet others Coopers team, in the shape of the ‘D’ team to play against Royal Liberty. Another convincing 5-0 win for Coopers ‘D’.
The last quarter-final was the closest of them all with everything hinging on the last game.
Eventually, after the last game, it was Coopers ‘B’ semi-finals 3-2 against a tough Abbs Cross team. The first semi-final was between Coopers ‘A’ and Hall Mead. Coopers ‘A’ still only dropped one game to make it to the final whilst in the other match between Coopers ‘B’ and Coopers ‘D’ it was a straight 5-0 win for the ‘A’ team to set up an all Coopers final. In what was their toughest match of the day and in a real nail biter of a game with everything set at 2-2 and 12 all in the final game there was nothing between the teams. However, it was the ‘A’ team who held their nerve to win the last game 15-12 to take the match 3-2. In the 3rd/4th place play-off in another tight game, it was Coopers D who edged out Hall Mead in another 3-2 match.
On Friday afternoon it was the turn of the older players. In the girl’s event, there were 6 teams so this event was played in one large group with everyone playing everyone to determine the final placings. There were lots of really tight games during the league but it was to be the game between Coopers A and Frances Bardsley that was to be the decider. Frances Bardsley took a 2-0 lead before Coopers levelled the match at 2-2 meaning there was all to play for in the deciding level doubles game. There was never more than two points between either side and in the end, it was with a 11-9 victory that gave Frances Bardsley the victory and a well-deserved place in the next round of the event.
The boy’s event was a much bigger competition with 13 teams taking part. Again it was initial group stages with the top 8 teams progressing to the quarter-finals. This again was dominated by the teams from Coopers. Coopers A beat Royal Liberty, Hall Mead beat Emerson Park B, Emerson Park A beat Royal Liberty and Coopers B beat Coopers C. All matches had the same 5-0 scoreline. Coopers A and Coopers B were drawn against each other and despite a gallant effort from the B team, it was the A team who were victorious with a 4-1 scoreline. The other semi-final was much closer and it took a determined Hall Mead to clinch a 3-2 thriller for them to reach the final. In the end, there was nothing that Hall Mead could do to stop the dominant Coopers A progressing to the next stage with another 5-0 victory. Not such a convincing victory in the 3rd/4th match but another exciting game with Coopers B managing to squeeze past Emerson Park A with another 3-2 scoreline to finish third.
Over the two days, there were 95 matches played meaning 475 games were played with 39 teams with a combined number of over 160 players. It was great to see so many people playing and enjoying the competition but also to see the atmosphere in which it was played. The three Coopers teams plus Frances Bardsley will now progress to the next round on to what will hopefully be a much longer journey with teams from the next round progressing further until the top teams in the country play out the National finals. The next round will be played in early 2020.