Isle of Man 1 win Division Three North

Tuesday 10th May 2022 6:00 am
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The Isle of Man 2 badminton team that missed out on promotion from Division Four Central by four points. (Back row l-r) Joe Burrows, Neil Harding, Adam Pyatt-Coppell, Benjy Li, Baillie Watterson. (Front) Annelise Mellor, Kayleigh Callow, Charlotte Watson and Emma Nicholson

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The two Isle of Man teams contesting the county league badminton championships wrapped up their respective seasons recently.

Isle of Man 1 travelled to Newcastle for their promotion quest as only the winner of the league was guaranteed promotion.

It came down to a three-way contest between the Manx side, Lothian 2 and Nottinghamshire 3. Unfortunately Derbyshire 3 and Staffordshire 3 conceded their matches so it left IoM 1 to play Nottinghamshire 3.

With Lothian having beaten Notts 7-4 on the Saturday, IoM knew if they could beat Notts 8-3 or better they should take the league title.

The island came out firing on all cylinders in the singles with straight set wins for Ben Li 21-3 21-4; Alex Buck 21-17 22-20; and Leah Brennan 21-17 21-9. Tobey Cheng took a well-fought 21-10 17-21 21-17 victory, as did Kitty Thomas 21-10 17-21 21-12.

The men’s doubles saw two great wins for Ben Li/Tobey Cheng 21-11 17-21 21-12 and Matthew Nicholson/Steven Quayle 21-11 21-11 to give the Isle of Man a 7-0 lead.

The women’s doubles continued the winning streak with Cristen Marritt/Mia Kirk winning 21-14 21-17 and Brennan/Thomas 19-21 21-19 21-17.

These were followed by the mixed combinations keeping the pressure on with wins for Li/Marritt 20-22 21-9 21-14 and Nicholson/Kirk 21-11 21-12 to give the island a fantastic 11-0 win. This meant they had remained unbeaten during the entire season, gaining promotion to Division Two North for the first time since the leagues were restructured in 2015.

Playing in Division Four Central, Isle of Man 2 travelled to Worcester to play Bedfordshire 2, Wiltshire 3 and Northamptonshire 2.

Their first match was always going to be tough against runaway league leaders Bedfordshire 2, and they picked up two great wins courtesy of Neil Harding/Baillie Watterson 23-21 21-18 and Kayleigh Callow/Annelise Mellor 15-21 21-8 21-17.

The Manx were unlucky not to win more games with five of the other matches going the distance over three sets.

Next up was Wiltshire 3 and Adam Pyatt-Coppell got the first points on the board for IoM with an 24-22 21-17 success.

Both women’s singles were won by the island, Callow taking hers 21-13 21-18 and Mellor an even more convincing 21-11 21-12.

Harding/Watterson continued their winning ways with an 21-14 22-20 victory.

Women’s doubles resulted in resounding wins for Emma Nicholson/Charlotte Watson 21-13 21-10 and Callow/Mellor 21-7 21-17.

Isle of Man showed their strength in depth with mixed doubles wins for Harding/Nicholson 15-21 21-8 21-10 and Joe Burrows/Watson 21-14 21-11 to give the side a great 8-3 overall victory.

Their final match, on the Sunday, was against Northamptonshire 2. IoM2 started off as they meant to go on with straight-set singles wins for Burrows 21-12 21-15, Pyatt-Coppell 21-11 21-12, Benji Li 21-9 21-10, Callow 21-5 21-3 and Mellor 21-17 21-17.

Both men’s doubles were won in straight sets, Harding/Watterson 21-16 21-15 and Pyatt-Coppell/Li 21-16 21-15, while the women’s first doubles pairing of Nicholson/Watson won 21-15 21-16.

Northamptionshire conceded second women’s doubles because of an injury to one of their players.

The mixed completed the job with wins for Harding/Nicholson 21-10 21-11 and Burrows/Watson 21-15 21-19 to give the island a brilliant 11-0 win to finish their season in third place.

They missed out on promotion by four points, which was a marked improvement on their position prior to Covid.

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