Juniors successful in Highland tournament

Orkney hosted the Junior Highland restricted badminton tournament at the weekend and 27 players travelled from Shetland for the event.

The format was slightly different this year and the singles comp­etitions took place on Saturday with all eight courts of the Pickaquoy Centre busy from start to finish. The level and mixed doubles events came on Sunday.

In the under-18 competition Abbey Irvine produced a great result in the first round of the girls’ singles when she defeated Bronwyn Ross (Caithness) in three sets 12-21, 21-19, 21-19. She then went out to top seed Rebecca Reid (Orkney) who also defeated Lauren Hogg.

Shetland’s other girl in the singles, Sarah Leask, did really well to win a close three-set first round match before losing to team-mate Lauren. Second seed Stephanie Keith reached the semi-final but lost to Caithness’s Lauren Gunn.

Alan Johnson produced one of the best performances of the boys’ singles, pushing top seed Gary Nicolson of Orkney all the way before narrowly losing 21-13, 10-21, 18-21.

Calum Johnson and Jordan Morrison both won their first matches while Joe Morrison and Sandy Kay lost theirs and went into the plate event.

The girls’ doubles was played in two groups. Both Shetland pairs ended up in the same group with Stephanie and Lauren winning all their matches. Abbey and Sarah won an exciting three- setter against Fern McDonald and Robyn Hughes of Caithness and just lost out to Orkney’s Alison Shearer and Gemma Smith, again in three sets.

Stephanie and Lauren started out well in the final, taking the first set. The favourites began to find their feet and won the second set comfortably with the Shetland pair looking completely out of sorts. To their credit Stephanie and Lauren regrouped and found their form again in the third set to take only Shetland’s second title of the weekend 21-16, 11-21, 21-15.

Shetland’s boys found the going tough in the level doubles. Jordan and Calum lost out in three sets to scratch pair of Joe Morrison and Neil Anderson (Orkney). Shetland’s top pair Alan Johnson and Sandy Kay can be fairly satisfied with their performance against the very strong first seeds.

Abbey and Joe put up a great fight in their first round match in the mixed doubles before going down in three sets to Caithness pair Fern McDonald and Ben Nicolson 18-21, 21-14, 19-21. Lauren and Sandy lost to the eventual runners-up while Sarah and Calum played well and lost in two close sets against the strong Caithness pair Lauren Gunn and Andrew Cumming.

Jordan Morrison played with Susan Hill (Caithness) and were unlucky not to progress after a thrilling three-set match which they eventually lost 24-22, 15-21, 21-23.

Shetland’s top couple Stephanie Keith and Alan Johnson made it through to the semi-final where they lost to Orkney’s Chelsea Cook and Gary Nicolson.

In the plate events Sandy won the boys’ singles and he then combined with Lauren to take the mixed.

No reports were submitted for the under-13 and under-15 competitions.

A spokesman said Shetland Badminton Association would like to thank sponsors John Leask & Son once again for their invaluable support, Beth Johnson and Marcia Irvine for all their help over the weekend and also thank the players for their efforts.

Sunday sees the annual tournament for under-15s and under-18s at Clickimin while the under-18 and under-13 inter-county matches against Orkney will be held at Sandwick School games hall next Saturday and Sunday respectively.


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