The North East Wales Badminton League’s Challenge Cup Competition got under way with a bang, although some of the Committee’s handicapping questionable, with teams overwhelming their opponents, rather than the fixture resulting in closely contested matches.
Playing at home, Buckley A (Scr) demolished Llanferres B (-1) 14 -2 with only both men’s doubles providing game wins for Llanferres. At second men’s Buckley’s Nathan Barron and Ben Betts shared their match against Simon Lovell and Peter Williams with a 21/18 and 17/21 result.
Hawarden B (+4) travelled to Holywell where they were given a mauling by Flint Phoenix A (-10) and went down 13 -3. However it was Hawarden’s legend and player of the match Roy Thompson, at 80 years young early in 2020, who earned two games for the visitors, when with partner Tonicha Font they proved too good for Jordan Donnelley and Catrin Travers, taking their match by 21/20 and 21/8.
The fixture between Buckley B (+7) and Deeside (-6) was more of a balanced event at 6 games all, with Deeside winning by eight points to take the bragging rights. Cerys Brackenbury and Sara Williams were in fine form at first ladies and playing some sublime attacking badminton, overcame the resistance of Steph Noonan and Teresa Richards to win by 21/20 and 21/16.
Prestatyn A (+2) fought all the way in their home match versus Denbigh A (-9) but found the visitors a class act and went down 6 – 10. Match of the evening was at first men’s where Prestatyn’s pairing of Glyn Watson and Terry Wynne were engaged in a long encounter and tense affair with Iain Lovatt and Steve Aylott only for the guests to clinch both games 21/20 and 21/20. Good handicapping!
In the race to top League Division 1, home team Flint Phoenix A just had the edge over close rivals Denbigh A, winning 5 -3. Flint’s first ladies pairing of Sammy Hutt and Georgia Hughes raised their game and in a tight three game thriller gave a disciplined doubles performance to overcome Beki Hutt and Bev Dolman, to win by 19/21, 21/8 and 21/18
With two well matched teams in Llanferres A and Deeside it was always going to be a closely contested fixture. And so it turned out, with the match outcome being decided at the last event of the evening, when for Llanferres, Dave Clough and Duncan Church produced a vintage display of men’s doubles tactics to eventually outwit Mike Cain and Luke McCarry and win by 17/21, 21/10 and 21/15.
Division 2 leaders Flint Phoenix B entertained Rossett B and celebrated with a convincing 6 – 2 win. Undefeated super sub Graham Donnelly was player of the match for Phoenix and together with Ro Spencer, they cruised to a fine 22/20, 21/13 win over the experienced Dave Lovatt partnered by Laura Rogers.
Languishing at the bottom of Division 3, a win was important for Holywell B when they took on visitors and fellow strugglers Llanferres D. However with the teams evenly matched it was almost inevitable that the end result was a 4 – 4 draw with Llanferres D up by 14 points. For Llanferres, youngsters Matthew Swash and Hannah Harrison starred and playing inspired textbook badminton closed out Hilary Roberts and Gil Ashworth, winning 21/12 and 21/13.
The battle to head the division, between Connah’s Quay and Holywell A went quite comfortably 6 – 2 to the Quay. Welsh Junior International Mike Pritchard together with Sue Chisholm were made to work for their victory over Nicky Garnett – Hughes and David Booth; but class prevailed in a hard fought 18/21, 21/17, 21/16 win.