Round-Up: The Best of the Domestic Action From April

April was another action-packed month with domestic lawsuits in courts across the country.

Young stars competed in the U18 Inter Counties Tournament, while at the senior level the regional divisions of the County Championship came to a dramatic conclusion with the play-off stage.

Here’s a recap of our domestic winners from the last month.

Inter Counties Tournament

Earlier this month, the U18 inter-county tournament returned after two years due to the pandemic.

Some of the country’s most talented young shuttle drivers traveled to the University of Nottingham for one of the premier events on the junior calendar, with Babolat returning as official kit and badminton partner.

And the atmosphere on the pitches was as loud and proud as ever as 22 counties traveled to the Midlands, all aiming to reclaim the prestigious title.

After three days of intense competition it was Yorkshire who were crowned Inter Counties champions after some strong performances from their entire squad.

It was the first tournament win for the White Rose since 2012 after finishing third in the last event in 2019.

Comprehensive victories over eventual third-placed Leinster (9-1) and second-placed Cheshire (7-3) ensured they topped the final group stage and won the championship.

Officials, coaches and players in attendance were delighted to be back at the event after a two-year absence. A spokesman for Team Avon commented: “Our team had a great time from start to finish and we look forward to returning next year.

“Thank you for all the hard work Badminton England has put in to ensure the tournament can take place this year and for all the hard work before and during the event.”

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District Championships of Masters

It wasn’t just the young shuttles that took center stage this month as the 2021-22 season of the Masters County Championships came to a close.

The finals of all seven age categories, from over 40s to over 70s, took place over the last full weekend in April, with the semi-finals taking place on Saturday before the grand final on Saturday.

Captain Ed Twigg led Staffordshire to the Over-40s title, while Gloucestershire were crowned Over-45 champions after beating Surrey 10-2 in the final.
In the Over-50s, Hampshire took the crown, while Essex took the Over-55 title after beating Yorkshire 8-4 in the final.

Surrey won the Over-60 title after a 9-3 win over Hampshire, while the Over-65 Championship was won by Lancashire after both Graham Holt and William Hamblett set perfect records by winning all six gums .

In the last category, the over-70s, Leicestershire won the tournament after a thrilling 5-4 win over Kent in the final. David Watts and Carole Spencer led the field, both winning five of their six games over the finals weekend.

Senior County Championship Playoffs

Towards the end of the month, promotion to the SCC Premiership was at stake for several clubs with the play-offs at the National Badminton Centre.

Four counties, Kent, Northumberland, Dorset and Lanarkshire made their way to Milton Keynes knowing they were just three games away from securing best badminton for next season.

Kent led all after Saturday’s action with a 9-2 win over Northumberland and a 7-4 win over Lanarkshire to earn them the required top two finish.

But the defeated Northumberland and Lanarkshire sides were still in contention, having both also racked up victories against Dorset. That set the pair up for a promotional showdown between the two on Sunday.

In the end it was Northumberland who secured promotion to the SCC Premiership after beating Lanarkshire 7-4.

The match was even after eight gummies but Northumberland won the final three doubles to secure victory, with Rachel Frobisher and Edward Burgess’ mixed doubles victory ending the competition.

In the final tie of the weekend, Kent celebrated promotion but secured top spot in the group after a 7-4 win over Dorset.

Kent shuttler Max Flynn was the weekend’s top-performing singles player, winning all nine of his gummies while notably losing just one game in the process.

Philip Pahatouridis was also in fine form, winning six of his eight games for Northumberland to help them finish second.

Kent and Northumberland will replace Sussex and Leinster in the SCC Premiership next season after both have been relegated this season.

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