A party of 10 under-15s and two under 13 players travelled to Inverness at the weekend to take part in the Highland junior restricted badminton tournament.
The competition was to be fierce with Stuart Ferns, the current national under-15 singles and doubles champion in the line-up, along with a number of other very strong players from the rejuvenated Highland region.
The tournament started off with the singles and in the under-15 group Finn Watt won his first game 21-11. However, his opponent came back in the second and narrowly won 21-19. Finn fought hard in the third but was beaten 21-16. This put him into the plate event along with all the other first round losers.
Glen Henderson won his first game comfortably against Douglas Cowie 21-4, 21-9 and in the second round met Orkney number two Owen Reid. This was a long hard fought game with Glen losing 21-15, 19-21, 21-16 after a real battle.
Jamie Duffy had a hard first round but won 21-15, 21-17. In the next round he faced the number three seed Josh Holder and lost 21-9 21-14.
Roy Wood won his first round 21-11, 21-8 and then faced the number four seed Duncan Grant from Inverness. Roy again won comfortably 21-17, 21-11 to put him in the semi-finals.
Ryan Wood won his first round 21-11, 21-17 with some great serving and returns.
At the bottom of the draw Lewis Frazer had unfortunately drawn number two seed Chay Ross. Lewis fought hard but lost 21-7, 21-11, putting him into the plate event.
That meant Ryan faced Chay in the quarter-finals and although Ryan fought hard he went down 21-10, 21-11.
The semi-final between Roy and Chay was a hard battle with the bigger and stronger Chay winning 21-10, 21-12. He lost in the final to Stuart 21-18, 21-9.
In the plate event Finn won his first game 21-17 and Lewis won 21-14. They now faced each other and Finn won 21-18, putting him in the plate final. He fought hard against Mathew Reid from Orkney but went down 21-12.
Shetland had four players in the under-15 girls’ section and Lori Robertson won her first match 21-15, 18-21, 21-18. That put her up against the number one seed and although Lori fought hard she was beaten 21-12, 21-14.
Jennifer Sim also won her first match 21-9, 21-19 while Jenni Leask came away with a comfortable 21-10, 21-14 victory.
Karrie Frazer won her first game 21-10 21-14 but lost in the next round 21-4, 21-6 to eventual winner Hannah Duncan.
Karrie was then entered into the plate event, perhaps to make the draw up to an even number. She played very well, winning a close first game 21-19 and the final comfortably 21-12.
In the under-13s the two boys entered were Rory Irvine (Whalsay) and Liam Flaws (Ness).
It was Liam’s first match outside Shetland and he was drawn against the number one seed. He put on a great show but was beaten 21-10, 21-6.
Rory won his first game 21-7, 21-11 and his next round match 21-7, 21-10. In the quarter-finals he lost 21-13, 21-10 to the number one seed.
Liam was entered into the plate event and won his first two games 21-19 and 21-14. He battled through the semi-final to win 21-14 and in the final played superbly, taking the title 21-8 to the delight of his team mates.
In the under-13 boys’ doubles Liam and Rory played very well, winning 21-16, 21-8 and then 21-10, 21-16. In the semi-finals they kept their composure to take a close match 22-20, 21-16 and reach the final.
In the final they faced they fought hard but the experienced pair from Inverness won 21-13, 21-15.
In the under-15 doubles Finn and Ryan met the second seeds and gave it their all but were beaten 21-13, 21-9.
Lewis and Glen met the number one seeds and again battled hard but lost 21-8, 21-8.
Roy and Jamie progressed through their first two rounds 21-8, 21-5 and 22-20, 21-9 to put them into the semi-finals where they faced Stewart Ferns and Chay Ross. They fought hard but were eventually beaten 21-11, 21-9 by the eventual winners.
The under-15 girls’ doubles was in two pools with the original plan for the winning and second-placed pair in each pool to play the semi-finals. But unfortunately due to time constraints it was decided that the winners would play off in the final.
The Shetland pairs of Jennifer and Lori and Karrie and Jenni were both second in their groups and so missed out on the chance to reach the final.
Jenny and Karrie were particularly unlucky after only losing to their group winners 21-19 in the third set and winning all their other games.
In the mixed doubles under-15 section Roy and Jennifer faced the number one seeds and lost 21-13, 21-17.
Unfortunately Ryan Wood and his scratch partner had to play Finn and Karrie in the first round, with Finn and Karrie winning 21-16, 12-21, 21-17.
Glen also had a scratch partner and although they tried hard they were comfortably beaten.
Jamie and Lori had a real humdinger of a game against a strong pair, which they won 25-23 in the third set after some amazing rallies. That put them into the semi-finals where they faced the number two seeds and despite a great performance lost 21-17, 25-23.
In the under-13 mixed doubles the Shetland boys both had scratch partners. Liam and his partner won their first two games easily and lost 21-14, 21-16 to Rory and his partner in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals Rory and his partner gave it everything they were beaten 21-14, 21-8.
On Sunday the Shetland players entered an inter-district team event along with Inverness, Moray and Ross-shire, with eight rubbers in each match.
Shetland beat Moray and Inverness 6-2 in each match which meant a final match against Ross-shire who had also won both their matches.
Unfortunately Shetland were beaten 6-2 after some spirited performances with tired bodies after the previous day’s action.
Coaches Anne and Brian Wood said they would like to congratulate all the players on their excellent performances and for their good behaviour both off and on the court. They hoped the experience would encourage them to work even harder to reach the next level in their development.
A spokesman said Shetland Junior Badminton Association was indebted to Peter Leask for organising all the flights and for John Leask & Sons for the generous continued support of Shetland badminton, without whom it would not be possible to give the young players the experience of playing top opposition outwith the isles.