Wow, Wow and even a triple Wow! WHAT A TOURNAMENT.
53 players from 9 Counties contested the Great Orme Junior Even Age Tournament, the first of the Great Orme Series. Some players were playing in a tournament for the first time whilst it was also the return of other players but they all contested the event without any histrionics, meaning those that won, won with grace and those that lost, lost with dignity, to which I thank all 53 players.
The tournament started with the combined U-12/14 girls singles. The U-12 winner was Samara Britto (Great Orme, Conwy), Ana Williams (Great Orme) was the runner-up by beating Poppy Williams (Shropshire) 23/21 in their game. Chloe Yu (Great Orme, Conwy) won the U-14 girls singles with the runner-up Mia Pleass (Great Orme, Conwy, Katy Owen (Great Orme) was 3rd.
The U-12 & U-14 girls doubles was also merged. The winners of the U-12 event were Samara Britto & Poppy Williams, the U-14 was won by Chloe Yu & Ana Williams with the runners-up being Mia Pleass & Katy Owen.
Running alongside the girls was the U-12/14 Boys Singles and doubles. From Group A went U-12 Finn Gregory (Cheshire), U-12 Yashas Harsha (Great Orme, Conwy) and Anish Parampalli (Shropshire) and from Group B went Eden Harris (Gwent), Nikolas Joynes (Cheshire) and Min Yen Hsieth (Shropshire). In the first semi-final Yashas defeated Nikolas whist Finn Gregory beat Eden Harris. The final was a long hard match with Yashas Harsha beating Finn Gregory 21/19, 21/23, 21/15. The U-14 boys singles was won by Anish Parampalli who beat Min Yen Hsieth 15/13, 15/9. The combined doubles was won by U-14 Anish Parampalli & Min Yen Hsieth (Shropshire) with the runner-ups being Yashas Harsha & Eden Harris the Cheshire pairing of Finn Gregory & Nikolas Joynes took the U-12 runners-up medals.
The U-16 girls singles was won by Serena Yang (Cheshire) after beating Amelie Chandran (Great Orme, Conwy) in the final game. Isabel Williams (Great Orme, Conwy) was 3rd. Not to be outdone by her sister in the U-12’s Isabelle partnered Amelie to win the U-16 girls doubles beating Serena & Samara Britto in the final.
The U-16 boys had three groups and from Group A went Johan Varghese (Flintshire) and Oliver Price (Cheshire) Group B Daniel Hannah (Flintshire) and Jethro Seng (Liverpool) Group C Ryan Wong (Shropshire) and Rhys Roberts (Flintshire). The first quarter-final was between Rhys Roberts and Jethro Seng with Jethro winning, the second semi-final was between Ryan Wong and Oliver Price with Ryan winning. This put the winning players into the semi-finals with Jethro playing Johan with Johan winning and Ryan beating Daniel in a long 3 set match. The final was won by Johan Varghese.
This took the tournament into the U-16 doubles with Jethro Seng playing with Varghese winning group A with Robbi Roy & Rory O’Keefe (Cheshire) also going through to the semi-finals, also into the semi-finals went Daniel Hannah & Rhys Roberts (Flintshire) and Sambhay Joishy & Afnan Khan (Gwynedd). The semi-final were won by Jethro & Johan who beat Sambhay & Afnan and Danial & Rhys who beat Robbi & Roy. The title was taken by Jethro Seng & Johan Varghese.
Now it was the turn of the biggest group the U-18 boys singles. From group A and into the quarter-finals went Oliver Chandran (Great Orme, Conwy) and Serena Yang (Cheshire winner of the U-16 girls singles), from group B Isaac Williams (Great Orme, Conwy) and Ping Ping (Ruthin School), from group C Cai Rowlands (Llanfairfechan, Conwy) and Raymond Chan (Ruthin School) and from group D Danial Hung (Ruthin School) and Jac Goodwin (Stella Maris, Conwy).
The quarter-finals were won by Serena Yang who beat Raymond Chan, Danial Hung who beat Ping Ping, Cai Rowlands who beat Oliver Chandran and Isaac Williams who beat Jac Goodwin. Serena Yang carried on her impressive tournament by beating Daniel Hung in the semi-finals with Isaac Williams beating Cai Rowlands. This pitched the best two players together in the final with the winner being Isaac Williams.
To end the tournament was the U-18 boys doubles with Oliver Chandran & Isaac Williams (Great Orme, Conwy) and Ryan Wong & Alex Thompson-Hamilton (Shropshire) going into the knockout stage from group A, group B Cai Rowlands & George Williams-Frost (Llanfairfechan, Conwy) and Simon Chan & Jeremy Chan (Ruthin School) and for group C Ping Ping & James Yip (Ruthin School) and Benjamin Bromwich & Cathal Johnson (Flintshire). The Quarter-finals pitched Benjamin & Cathal against Simon & Jeremy with Benjamin & Cathal winning to play Oliver & Isaac in the semi-finals and Ryan & Alex against Ping Ping & James with Ryan & Alexander winning to play Cai & George. Into the final went Benjamin & Cathal who beat Oliver & Isaac and Ryan & Alex who beat Cai & George with the final being won by Ryan & Alex.
Pre Covid I used to have some fun with making a so called “player of the tournament”, but this tournament has given me a problem as instead of one player of the tournament there happens to be 53, that’s right there are 53 “players of the tournament”.
I will however mention Johan Varghese for his stroke play and to Serena Yang for her stylish play, this is not being detrimental to the other 51 players.
I want to thank a few people and they are, of course, 53 players and all their parents/grandparents and club coaches/secretaries. I thank all those involved with Ruthin School, Ruthin and St Peters School Junior Badminton Club, Rossett, Wrexham. Thanks go to Pam Gibbons for running the cafe and to the invaluable help from Samantha Chandran and Rhian Owen in the running of the event.