Chloe and Arran are treble winners as junior badminton championships return

U11 who competed in the Caithness Junior Badminton Championships. Image: Kerry Mackenzie

There were some epic matches, hard fought rallies and close encounters as the Caithness Junior Badminton Championships returned after a hiatus of more than two years.

Chloe Mackenzie completed the treble at both the Under-15s and Under-17s, while Arran Johnson won the Under-15s treble.

With players having very limited access to indoor facilities for so long and often not having access at all, organizers were very impressed with the standard. However, at times one had the feeling that the extended break had a negative impact on the development of many players.

The championships were held in Wick and Thurso over the course of a week, starting with the U11s through to the U17s.

For many, this was their first taste of the competition, and while some still had to get used to the rules, it didn’t take away from the skill and determination on display.

The U11s played half-court singles to allow players to use that experience as a learning curve. Many players are new to the game, but they have done well in a competitive situation.

Girls’ winner Sophie Mackay showed courage and determination to beat fellow Dunnet clubmate Lexie Mackenzie in a three-set final. Ollie MacDonald managed to beat fellow Wick Clubmate Andrew Baijal in straight sets.

U13 participants were among those who showed a good level of play.  Image: Kerry Mackenzie
U13 participants were among those who showed a good level of play. Image: Kerry Mackenzie

The U13s also played half court singles and their competition included even and mixed doubles. Play was fast and furious again, with many of the U11 players showing their determination in the older age group.

Boys’ singles winner Matthew Cook and girls’ singles winner Ashlyn Gunn had an advantage over their opponents through thoughtful and instinctive play.

The U15s had the biggest entry and their experience on the pitch paid off as Chloe Mackenzie easily won Chloe Begg in the girls’ singles. Arran Johnson had a tougher game against U13 winner Matthew Cook before Arran’s firepower proved decisive.

The U17 girls singles title went to Chloe Mackenzie. Her experience in the South served her well, although Kirsty Henderson struggled all the way with excellent rallies, pushing Chloe to the back of the court and opening a place up front.

The U17 boys’ singles was a family affair between Taylor and Lewis Swan, with Lewis guiding Taylor to the title.

U15 at the Caithness Junior Badminton Championships.  Image: Kerry Mackenzie
U15 at the Caithness Junior Badminton Championships. Image: Kerry Mackenzie

Chloe and Kirsty teamed to win the girls doubles while Taylor and Lewis won the boys doubles.

The mixed was won by Chloe and Taylor in a fantastic three set final match against Kirsty and Lewis.

It was a busy week for the organizers preparing the draws, organizing the events and keeping the competitions running smoothly. They thanked all the volunteers who came to help direct and motivate the children with coaching points and words of encouragement.

Jane Grant, Badminton Scotland Regional Development Officer for the Highlands and Islands, said: “A big thank you to Kerry Mackenzie and Marion McCoustra who worked tirelessly behind the scenes and ran the events through the nights, and in such a short time, dedication and Commitment allowed all of these players to showcase their talent.

“Seeing all these kids, playing, competing and having fun is something we’ve missed for so many months. Thank you to all the local junior club coaches and volunteers across Caithness who managed to get junior badminton back up and running to enable the championships to take place.

“We have a bit of catching up to do but we’re encouraged by the number and quality of youth who visit clubs.”

U17 players took part in some close encounters as they competed for honor.  Image: Kerry Mackenzie
U17 players took part in some close encounters as they competed for honor. Image: Kerry Mackenzie

Results:

U11 girls peloton: 1 Sophie Mackay, Dunnet; 2 Lexie Mackenzie, Dunnett; 3 Myah Macleod, Dunnet. Consolation winner: Olivia Sandecka, Wick.

U11 Boys: 1 Ollie MacDonald, Wick; 2 Andrew Baijal, Wick; 3 Alistair Mackay, Thurso.

U13 Girls Singles: 1 Ashlyn Gunn, Wick; 2, Sophie Mackay, Dunnet; Consolation winner Kate Durrand, Wick.

U13 Boys Singles: 1 Matthew Cook, Thurso; 2 Angus Mackay, Wick; Consolation Winner Liam Gunn, Wick.

U13 girls doubles: 1 Rhea Bruce and Freya Mackay, Wick; 2Kate Durrand and Ashlyn Gunn, Wick; Consolation winners Sophie Mackay and Lexie Mackenzie, Dunnet.

U13 Boys’ Doubles: 1. Matthew Cook, Thurso, and Liam Gunn, Wick; 2 Angus Mackay and Rory Nicolson, Wick; Consolation winners Finlay MacDonald and Dhaill Mackay, Dunnet.

Mixed doubles U13: 1 Ashlyn Gunn and Rory Nicolson, Wick; 2 Lexie Mackenzie and Dhaill Mackay, Dunnet; Consolation winners Myah Macleod, Dunnet, and Matthew Cook, Thurso.

Chloe Mackenzie won two trebles at the U15s and U17s.  Image: Kerry Mackenzie
Chloe Mackenzie won two trebles at the U15s and U17s. Image: Kerry Mackenzie

U15 Girls Singles: 1 Chloe Mackenzie, Dunnet/Thurso; 2 Chloe Begg, Wick; Consolation winner Ava Cook, Thurso.

U15 Boys Singles: 1 Arran Johnson, Thurso; 2 Matthew Cook, Thurso; Consolation winner Charles Fryett, Thurso.

U15 girls doubles: 1. Chloe Begg, Wick, and Chloe Mackenzie, Dunnet/Thurso; 2 Antonia Beattie and Anna Durrand, Wick; Consolation winners Leah Bain and Hallie Bremner, Wick.

U15 boys’ doubles: 1. Arran Johnson and Gregor Mill, Thurso; 2 Qida Du and Alexander Mackay, Wick; Consolation winners Matthew Cook and Dhaill Mackay, Dunnet.

U15 mixed doubles – 1 Chloe Mackenzie and Arran Johnson; 2 Ava Cook and Gregor Mill, Thurso; Consolation winners Matthew Cook, Thurso, and Antonia Beattie, Wick.

U17 Girls Singles – 1 Chloe Mackenzie, Dunnet/Thurso; 2 Kirsty Henderson, Thurso; Consolation Winner Chloe Begg, Wick.

U17 Boys Singles: 1 Lewis Swan, Thurso; 2Taylor Swan, Thurso.

U17 girls doubles: 1. Kirsty Henderson, Thurso, and Chloe Mackenzie, Dunnet/Thurso; 2 Antonia Beattie and Anna Durrand, Wick.

U17 boys’ doubles: 1 Lewis and Taylor Swan, Thurso; 2 Matthew Cook and Arran Johnson, Thurso.

Mixed doubles U17: 1. Chloe Mackenzie, Dunnet/Thurso, and Taylor Swan, Thurso; 2 Kirsty Henderson and Lewis Swan, Thurso.

U15 triple winners Arran Johnson and Chloe Mackenzie.  Image: Kerry Mackenzie
U15 triple winners Arran Johnson and Chloe Mackenzie. Image: Kerry Mackenzie


Would you like to reply to this article? If yes, click here to submit your thoughts and they can be published in print.

Leave a Comment