98th All England Seniors Badminton 2014
At the prestigious 98th All England Seniors Championships, played at Hatfield last weekend, there was a record 356 players representing 15 countries. With 10 of Avon’s top Masters players taking part there were several notable successes.
Val O’Neill won her first All England mixed doubles title. Playing in a new partnership with Grahame Moscrop (Northumberland) they came through some close games to progress to a semi-final against the Danish pairing of Thea Gyldenoehr and Harry Skydsgaard which Val and Grahame won 21-11, 21-19. In the final they met Vicki Betts (Hants) and Roger Baldwin (Essex) and though behind for most of the first game they came back to take it, going on to secure the victory 23-21, 21-8 and to win the 65+ Mixed Doubles Championship title.
Vicki Betts & Roger Baldwin (RU) with Val O’Neill and Grahame Moscrop winners
Val, from Chew Park BC, was also a finalist at 65+ Women’s Doubles. Playing with Joanna Elson, Beaufort Park BC, Joanna and Val came through their group and had to fight hard to win through in the semi-final against a Lancashire pair, 17-21, 21-17, 21-19 but could not overcome the strong Yorkshire pairing of Pam Firth and Joyce Petch, losing to them 21-13, 21-18 in the final.
Mike Cox also had success, reaching the men’s doubles final with Geoff Williams (Lancs). With both semi –finals going to the deciding end Mike, Beaufort Park BC, and Geoff played theirs against Roger Baldwin and John Whalebone (Essex), they lost the first game 6-21 but came through 21-13, 21-16 to progress to the final. In the final they had a return game against Per-Arnold Hoij (Finland) and Carl-Johan Nyberg (Sweden) whom they had beaten in their group. This was once again an exhilarating match to watch but Mike and Geoff had to settle for runners up spot, beaten by the narrowest margin 22-20, 22-20.
Nigel Birkitt (Beaufort Park BC) and John Gray (Bristol BC) playing in 55+ men’s doubles, must also be congratulated on their achievement. They won their group to face a strong pairing of Trevor Hampson and Martin Francis (Worcs) in the quarter finals and they too were involved in a great match. Played in great spirit with all 4 players performing well Nigel and John won this close contest 23-21, 20-22, 23-21. In the semi-final they faced the Danish No2 seeds of Birgir Steenberg and Per Juul Ulrich. This was a stern test, with Nigel and John once again putting in a great performance, but the Danes progressed to the final winning 10-21, 22-20, 14-21.
With many other good performances and results between them the other players representing Avon were Di Durston, Dave Gribble, Chris Hufflett, Ian Nicholls and Penny Shears.
George Rowdon & Sid Moxon 2014
This was the second year of the George Rowdon / Sid Moxon tournaments in the new format for individual pairs to enter. Played at Hengrove Leisure Centre, there were 42 entries representing 15 clubs.
The Mixed Doubles was played in 2 groups with some very close games. Group 1 winners, Emma & John Gray (Bristol BC) won this in style without dropping a game but all other group places were closely contested with all matches going to the deciding 3rd game. Group 2 also had runaway winners with Louise Malik & Ross Maclennan (Wyvern BC) also topping their table without dropping a game.
In the semi-finals Emma & John Gray (Bristol BC) beat Bridget Jones & Paul Gardner (Academy BC) and Louise Malik and Ross Maclennan (Wyvern BC) beat Cora Bonifacio and Mark Schofield (Academy BC).
Emma and John finished the day still without dropping a game to take the trophy with a win over Louise and Ross 21-14, 21-9. Emma and John were presented with the George Rowdon trophy and Louise and Ross with the Sid Moxon plate by June Malbourn.