Record entry for annual North Tyneside badminton tournament

Men's and women's doubles winners with their prizes Judith Olsen and Teresa McManus, and Redwan Ahmed and Monsur Khan.
Men's and women's doubles winners with their prizes Judith Olsen and Teresa McManus, and Redwan Ahmed and Monsur Khan.

A record 82 players entered the fifth North Tyneside Adult Social Badminton Tournament at Hadrian Leisure Centre in Wallsend.

The event, run by the North Tyneside Badminton Partnership, has become so popular the organisers had to close the entries two weeks before the official closing date, having reached the maximum possible number of players that could be accommodated.

Players travelled from as far afield as Scarborough, Stanley, Blyth and Sunderland, with numerous local players from North Tyneside and Newcastle.

With an age range of 18 to 76 taking part and no league or county players allowed, the emphasis was on an afternoon of friendly competition.

Volunteers from members of the North Tyneside Badminton Partnership, which organises sessions across the borough for players of all ages and abilities, helped ensure the event ran smoothly.

All matches were initially played in round robin groups so that everyone had a good number of games.

The winners moved into the knock-out semi-finals then finals.

Teresa McManus and Judith Olsen, who narrowly won the women’s doubles in the previous tournament in March, did the same again this time, once again coming through some close matches.

In a hard fought final they defeated Northumbria University social players Chen Ren and Xiatong Yang, who had only just scraped through their semi-final 21-20.

The men’s doubles, with 24 pairs taking part, produced lots of close group matches with a good standard of play.

The winners of the March tournament, Jamil Khan and Shakwath Hussain, had to settle for the runners-up spot this time.

With Jamil hindered by a leg injury, they lost in the final to Redwan Ahmed and Monsur Khan, whom they had defeated at the semi-final stage in March.

The mixed doubles, again with 24 pairs taking part, also produced close matches.

The semi-finals were hard fought games, with Jay Metcalfe and Holly Pendleton and scratch pair Syed Ali Ahmed and Diane Michie coming through to face each other in the final, with Ahmed and Michie winning comfortably.

The winners and runners–up in all events received prizes provided by the North Tyneside Badminton Partnership and Yehlex Ltd.

The event was a huge success and the organisers, Norma and Mike Waterfield, and the volunteer helpers (mainly from Bewicke Badminton Club, which plays in John Spence sports hall) all commented on the competitive yet friendly atmosphere.

Tournament secretary Norma said: “It was great to see the whole sports hall full of people of all ages enjoying competing against players they would never otherwise have played against.

“Then once they had finished their tournament matches, they went on to play more friendly games when courts were free - fantastic to see.

“We had many people asking us when the next tournament is going to be, with particular interest from the older generation, who seem to love a bit of competition.”

One of the older players, who took part for the first time, sent a message the day after the tournament: “I just wanted to say a big thanks to you (Norma), Michael and all the helpers for the tournament.

“It was great and must have taken a load of preparation and organisation and was well worth it.

“We had some really good games and all the players were very friendly. So thanks again for a smashing afternoon and roll on the next on.”

The partnership is now planning a new tournament especially for the over 50s, hopefully in February 2015, as well as the next adult social tournament, which they hope will be in March.