The last night of the season saw the very first running of the club tournament, with a great turnout by the members, all competing for the Ellie McAusland Trophy.
A really fun night of competitive Badminton ensued, and it was great to see so many members with their ‘game faces’ on! The first round robin stage threw up some really interesting pairings and some very tight results, a testament to the handicap system and to Mark, who set the handicaps. A big thank you to Mark for all of his hard work pulling the event together!
The handicaps proved so good, that in the very last end of the round robin stage, Gaby made her way into the quarter finals by just one point!
The Semi Finals saw the pairings of Pete Dee and Heather taking on Carole and Matt Stevens, followed by Dave and Jack versus James Hirst and Clinton . Whilst the mixed pair of Matt and Carole never really got going, to allow Pete and Heather a relatively comfortable passage into the final, the other semi final was a different matter!
With a handicap of just +5 to Jack and Dave, it was always going to be tight. James and Clinton had the upper hand after overhauling their opponents in the latter stages of the game to lead 20-17, just one point from the final. Jack and Dave however, decided to make them work for it and stormed back to 20-20. Sudden death is never easy, but both pairs played to win, and in the end James and Clinton snuck through.
So an intriguing final match up of a mixed pair versus a mens pair got underway, with the other club members watching on. Pete and Heather had a +10 advantage to maintain, but the very talented pair of James and Clinton had everything to play for. Points went to both pairs at regular intervals, and at 16 – 13 to Pete and Heather it looked like a very very close end was in sight. The youthful Heather and cunning old fox that is Pete Dee, did all the right things over the next couple of points, by making their opponents have to hit winners if they were to overhaul the mixed couple. In a very tense final few moments it was great to see Pete hustle around the court, clearly ‘wanting’ the win. In the end the determination of Heather and Pete won through.
It could not be a more appropriate result to see Heather win the trophy, named after her niece, who devastatingly passed away shortly before Christmas aged just seven weeks old. Our collective and heartfelt thanks go to Stuart McAusland and his wife Alison, for giving their blessing, and allowing us to name this new trophy in their gorgeous daughters honour.
Big thanks also go to Jack and Mike for their assistance in putting this together.
The trophy will be presented to Pete and Heather by Stuart at the Presentation Night/AGM to be held at Don Paddys in Uppingham on Tuesday 14th. Please try to make it along. There will be free food!