25 Nov Center Parcs National Schools Badminton Competition
The Havering Schools Badminton competition, which is the first round of the Center Parcs National Badminton Competition, was held at Hornchurch Sports Centre on 18th and 19th November. Over the two days 11 different schools took part with over 160 competitors covering two different age groups. The Center Parcs competition is a huge event starting with small local rounds with winners progressing onto county and regional rounds before the grand final held in April 2016 at Center Parcs.
On the Wednesday it was the turn of the girls and the first age group was the combined years 7,8 and 9 competition. There were 10 teams taking part: Coopers, Frances Bardsley, Hall Mead, Emerson Park, Bower Park, Sanders, Chafford, Abbs Cross and two teams from Sacred Heart. The teams were divided into two groups of five and each group played all the other schools in their groups. The teams that finished first and second in their group progressed through to the semi finals. The first semi final was between Coopers and Frances Bardsley with the second semi final being between both the Sacred Heart teams. Coopers had a convincing win against Frances Bardsley 5-0 and then Sacred Heart A team beat their B team in another convincing win 5-0. Sacred Heart ran out very convincing winners with a 4-1 victory to claim victory and a place in the next stage of the competition.
In the afternoon it was the turn of the older girls (year 10/11) to take part again with 10 teams participating. The schools taking part were Coopers, Sacred Heart, Hall Mead, Frances Bardsley, Abbs Cross, Chafford and Bower Park had an A, B and a C team. The competition was held in the same format which resulted in semi finals between Coopers and Hall Mead and Frances Bardsley and Bower Park A. Coopers won their semi final convincingly but Bower Park had much more of a struggle in their match narrowly claiming their place in the final. Having already played in the earlier group match where Coopers had beaten Bower Park 5-0, Bower were determined to make the game a tough one and although Coopers did win 4-1 the match was a much tighter affair.
On the Thursday morning it was the turn of the year 7,8,9 boys and yet again there were 10 teams taking part: Emerson Park, Hall Mead, Bower Park, Chafford, Sanders, Albany, Abbs Cross, Campion and two teams from Coopers. Again same format with semi finals between Hall Mead and Emerson Park and the other between the two Coopers teams. Both finalists had convincing wins setting up a really tough final between Hall Mead and Coopers A. The standard of this final with several county players was extremely high and it was great to see such competitive badminton from these youngsters. The first match went to Hall Mead but then Coopers claimed the next 4 to gain their place in the next stage of the competition.
It literally was saving the best to last with some of the tightest groups and matches possible. This time 9 teams took part, Coopers had 2 teams, Emerson Park, Bower park, Abbs Cross, Chafford, Sanders, Campion and Hall Mead. In group 1 Coopers were comfortable winners reaching the semi finals with ease with a strong Abbs Cross team claiming second spot. The other group was really exciting with the top three teams dropping one match each meaning that there had to be a count back on games. This meant that Emerson Park topped the group with Campion second narrowly pushing Coopers B into third place. Coopers cruised to the final and Emerson Park joined them after their victory against Abbs Cross to set up the tightest final possible. Emerson narrowly took the first game 15-12, Coopers won the second 15-7. The next game went the way of Emerson with another 15-12. Coopers then took the fourth game 15-7 making the match 2-2. The last game of doubles was the decider and the game literally ebbed one way and then the other as it neared the end. It was in the end Coopers who stole victory 15-13 to gain them their place in the next stage of the competition.
“It is always great to see so many people competing in this event. The players umpire the games themselves and for many it is their first taste of competition. I would like to wish Sacred Heart and the three Coopers teams the best of luck in the next round. Havering has a strong history in the competition with several schools reaching the National finals in the last few years so we hope that our representatives can do the same this year”.