Southend and District Badminton Association held its first annual tournament of the season, the Reg Harris Shield, at Westcliff High School for Boys on the October 6 with 13 entries in the men’s handicap doubles and five in the ladies handicap doubles.
The men’s doubles was divided up into two groups, one of seven and one of six, with each pair playing one game to 21 points.
Group A had seven pairings in it and it proved to be an incredibly tight group. Kesh Naidoo and Alex Cheung (-23) found their handicap too much to recover and along with Adam Whiting and John Hall (-8) only picked up one win. Jinu Jacob and Vinu Kunnath (-6) picked up victories over Kesh and Alex and Adam and John to finish fifth in the group.
The remaining four pairs all picked up at least four victories each and their matches against each other proved pivotal. Mike Weingarten and Phil Crabtree (-9) only lost out to Kesh and Alex meaning five wins put them top of the group. Andrew Strutt and Russell Dobson (-3), Mark King and Russell Blunt (-9) and Matt Tonge and Rob Perry (-13) all finished tied on four victories but Matt and Rob had only picked up 30 points in their two defeats whereas the other two pairs had the same amount on 37. In the end, Andrew and Russell progressed as they had beaten Mark and Russell 21-18 so they went through as runners-up.
There was also little to separate the pairs in Group B as well with three pairs fighting it out for the top two spots. Michael Clark and Jay Crewe (-15) struggled to pull back their handicap and finished bottom with just one solitary win.
Harris Foster-Carter and Oliver Smith (-7) finished fifth with two wins and Adrian Watling and Paul Barber (-3) also won twice but secured 12 more points to finish fourth. Lee Scott and Anthony Weingarten (-13) only lost once which meant they topped the group. Their only defeat was to Alex Penny and Zak Pryor (-17) who had the highest handicap and they finished tied on three wins with Ben Bradford and Colin Campbell (-1), who had the lowest handicap. Zak and Alex’s two defeats were to 20 and 19 meaning they picked up six more points than Ben and Colin and therefore came through as runners-up.
Mike and Phil, winners of Group A, met Zak and Alex, the runners-up in Group B, with the former holding a six point advantage on their opposition for the match. This was quickly eroded as Zak and Alex came back to win the first game 21-16 and they carried this momentum into the second to win 21-12 and seal their place in the final.
The other semi-final paired Lee and Anthony, winners of Group B, against Andrew and Russell, runners-up in Group A, and again the Group B pairing started the match behind. The first game though they soon made up the nine point deficit and stormed to a 21-13 win. In the second game, Andrew and Russell matched their opponents much better but they were unable to take it to a third as Lee and Anthony won 21-18.
In the final, Lee and Anthony started two points ahead of Zak and Alex but the latter had the psychological advantage having already beaten Lee and Anthony 21-19 in the group stage.
That may have played some part in the opening game as Zak and Alex dominated the rallies and took the first game 21-16. The second was a much tighter affair with some excellent rallies and brilliant shots from all players involved.
Lee and Anthony edged it 21-19 to take the match into a deciding third game and they used their momentum from winning the second to comfortably take the decider 21-11. Lee and Anthony take home the Reg Harris Shield and a great first title for 16 year old Anthony.
In the ladies doubles the five pairs played each other in two games to 21 points, with the top two moving into the final. Sarah Hall and Chloe Baker (Scr) dominated in the group stage, winning seven of their eight games to top the group. Their only defeat came against Dawn Muggleton and Debbie Moon (Scr) but they could only secure one other victory as they finished in fourth. Zeenat Haji and Emily Hall (+10) made their debut in a tournament and gave a good account of themselves, also winning two games but finished last as they acrued seven less points than Dawn and Debbie.
That left Farnaz Siddiq and Caroline Trace (+4) and Vikki Walker and Mandie Breed (-3) fighting it out for the runners-up spot. In the end, Mandie and Vikki’s 21-20 victory over Farnaz and Caroline in their second game proved to be the difference as it gave them five wins compared to the latter’s four.
Sarah and Chloe had already beaten Vikki and Mandie 21-16, 21-17 in the group stage and therefore headed into the final as favourites. Sarah and Chloe’s three point advantage helped them on their way in the opening set as they eased to a 21-11 victory.
However, Vikki and Mandie quickly made up the deficit in the second and a tense and tight second game ensued. It went down to the final point which Mandie and Vikki took to win 21-20 and take it to a third.
Again, the third game was equally as close and both pairs gave their all but Sarah and Chloe were just able to edged it 21-18.
A second title for Sarah and Chloe as a pairing.