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Published: Monday, 19 January 2015 19:02


With 5 teams playing over the weekend at different venues there were mixed fortunes for Avon’s Masters players.

The 45s were playing in Division 1 at Andover. The team was Eve Morgan, Viv Edwards, Cathy Jowett and Gina Grohmann, Paul Chard, Mick Dixon, Dean Leppier and Steve Clayton, ladies sub Wendy Walker.
With a winning Draw over Hampshire, a win over Devon, Surrey, Sussex and the Isle of Wight, it all came down to the last match against Middlesex as to who would be first or second. After a very tough match, Middlesex came out on top and so and after 6 matches the team finished a very successful second place.
All weekend there was some fantastic badminton, played hard and the players enjoyed the stretch of playing different counties who put them through their paces. Congratulations to the first mixed pair of Gina and Mick who had an unbeaten record.

The 50s were less successful. Playing in a Premier league at Milton Keynes, Ian Nicholls was injured in the first match and with no reserve man available and having to concede a rubber in each of the next 5 matches the rest of the weekend was tough. Despite everyone playing well the team will be relegated for next season.

masters1 Jan2015

Our 55+ team was also playing in a Premier league but in Worcester the team was Nigel Birkitt, John Gray, Derek Simmons, Gary Priday, Julian Clapp, Shirley Green, Dot Barrett, Penny Tomlinson, Jackie Addison and Jean Simmons. Winning against Glasgow but losing the other matches, then with all other games finished and trophies being presented for other age groups, the final relegation spot was between Avon and Essex late on Sunday. With the team changed totally for the last match and Avon needing a win to stay up but Essex only a draw it was very tense, Shirley and Dot won their ladies, John and Nigel the men’s, Derek and Jean won their mixed in 3, 21-19 in the third and Julian and Penny won a slightly emotional match in 2 to seal the victory.. So a 4-0 win, the only 4-0 all weekend, to the great surprise and delight of the team and the 55s will stay in the Premier Division and may be the only Avon team in a Premier next season.

The over 60 squad was also at Milton Keynes. With a 2-2 draw against Yorkshire then a 3-1 loss to Lancashire they finished the first day with a good 4-0 win against Berkshire. Sunday not quite so good losing 3-1 to Cheshire and 4-0 to Surrey but again finishing with a win with a 3-1 against Hampshire and it’s not clear whether they have managed to avoid relegation.

The 65+ play a different format, with only 3 men and 3 ladies they play 3 rubbers in each match so less opportunities to rearrange the team. With 5 teams in this Division 1, also in Andover, they had to play the other 4 teams on both days, a tough schedule with Avon having no break on either day. Avon finished in second place after the first day having beaten Devon 3-0, Sussex 2-1, Middlesex 2-1 but losing 1-2 to Essex in the last match of the day. On Sunday starting with Essex and again losing 1-2 despite changing the team around, then a great 3-0 win over Middlesex, second place overall was looking likely, but Sussex made the most of their players and took the men’s and mixed so another 1-2 loss. Second place then depended on the Devon return and both teams changed their players around, Avon won the ladies and Devon the men’s, it was between these two teams for second place and all depended on the last mixed rubber. A narrow victory 21-18 in the third, meant Avon finished a creditable second to Essex with Devon in third. A great weekend of competitive badminton with the 3 ladies playing in all 3 combinations and winning all 8 rubbers of ladies doubles.

Published: Monday, 15 December 2014 18:49
2014 Masters National  

Masters Nationals 2014

At the recent Masters Nationals played at Hatfield, Joanna Elson (Beaufort Park), playing with regular partner Ken Tantum (Notts), has once again won a national title - this time at 0ver 70 Mixed Doubles.

Joanna and Ken were top seeds in a tight group which could have gone to any one of three pairs, in the end it came down to the final match between them and the number 2 seeds which Joanna and Ken won 12-21, 21-10, 21-15.

Playing at Women’s Doubles 70+, in a new partnership with fellow Avon player Anne Heal (RWP), and with Anne making her debut at Masters Nationals, Joanna and Anne played against two established pairings finishing runners up in the competition, only losing out to the winners on game difference.

Once again Avon was well represented at this National Event, with all of the local players achieving some wins in their groups, Two pairings deserve a mention at over 55 Men’s Double’s, Dave Gribble (Bristol and District) with Abdul Gafar (Leics) narrowly lost out to finish second in a strong group and Ian Nicholls (Bristol and District) with James Buckle (Somerset) going one better in the same event to reach the semi-finals losing out to the top seeds and eventual winners 19-21, 21-18, 21-13.

Penny Shears (Beaufort Park) and Val O'Neill (Chew Park) also reached their semi-final at Women's Doubles 65+ losing out in a 3 setter to a Lancashire pairing.

Published: Wednesday, 19 November 2014 17:28

Local successes at Kent Masters Gold Tournament 2014

Once again Avon was well represented at the Kent Masters Gold tournament, with 15 local players entered across age groups from 45+ to 70+, and there were some notable results.

Joanna Elson and Ken Tantum (Notts) were once again in winning form at 70+ Mixed Doubles with no games conceded.

Val Penny Kent 2014

Penny Shears and Val O'Neill playing 65+ Ladies Doubles had their first tournament win together, taking the title, also without conceding a game.

Penny with Roy Barlett (Surrey) and Val with Grahame Moscrop (Northumberland) then met in the semi-final of the Mixed Doubles event with Val and Grahame going through to the final but losing in a closely fought 3 ender.

Mike Cox and Jim Garrett (Kent), playing 65+ Men's Doubles, also won their group without conceding a game but were beaten by a strong pair in the final 21-17, 21-13.

Dave Gribble and Ian Nicholls playing at 55+ Men's Doubles finished in the runners-up spot in their group and were unlucky not to reach the semi-final with the decision going on points difference. Dave played at 55+ Mixed Doubles with Anne Bridge (Surrey) and they topped their group going on to a close semi-final but losing 21-17 in the third end.

The full list of those entered from Avon was, Nigel Birkitt, Debbie Burrel, Paul Chard, Mike Cox, Michael Dixon, Di Durston, Joanna Elson, Dave Gribble, Gina Grohman, Chris Hufflett, Cath Jowett, Ian Nicholls, Val O'Neill, Penny Shears, Derek Simmons. Several of the younger Avon Masters players played at this level for the first time and although not progressing further, did well within their groups.

Published: Wednesday, 29 October 2014 12:05
  Masters Cumbrian Tournament 2014
huffletandbowker Avon Masters players had some notable successes at the first tournament of the new season's Masters Circuit.


Chris Hufflett paired up with John Bowker of Lancashire to play 50+ Men's Doubles for the first time, in Carlisle.

They made a great start with a very close two game win over Carl Sadler and Mark Summers from Yorkshire.

This was followed by a more comfortable win over Greg Canning and Gary Lane from Durham.

With one pair withdrawn through injury, this meant that another win in their last match against Martin Staden, (Kent), and Andy Barwick, (Durham) would clinch the title.

This was achieved once again in straight games.

Joanna Elson was a double title winner taking the 65+ Ladies Doubles with Val O'Neill.

Then, playing at 70+ for the first time, she also won the Mixed Doubles title with regular mixed partner Ken Tantum, (Notts).


 Mike Cox was runner up in the Men's Doubles 65+ with Jim Garrett, (Kent). 

Published: Monday, 21 April 2014 14:31


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.

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