West Norfolk duo in the medals

MLNF Jess Charlie Essex Bronze
MLNF Jess Charlie Essex Bronze
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Badminton England Under 13 Bronze event, Essex

West Norfolk Junior Badminton (WNJB) players Jessica Bateman and Charlie Wakefield ended the year on a high after winning medals at recent Badminton England under 13 Bronze level competitions in Essex and Nottingham.

At Lakeside in Essex there were entrants from all over the South of England, including Dorset, Kent, Bucks, Berkshire and Sussex.

Jessica (12) from Dersingham, won a gold medal in the girls’ doubles event, playing with her regular Norfolk partner, Caitlin Parfitt. The girls won the event after winning all their games.

Her other success was in the girls singles, where she took home the bronze medal after finishing runner-up in her group, having won two matches easily and losing only one close game by 18-21.

Only the top two from each group automatically went through to the final, but as Jessica’s group had more players in, she had better results than her counterpart in group B, so was awarded the third place bronze medal.

As usual in national tournaments, the boys’ singles attracted a large entry, but only the group winners went through to the last 16.

Twelve-year-old Charlie Wakefield from Feltwell battled hard to win his group, then his last 16 match by 21-13 and the quarter final by 21-12 to reach the semis, where he lost to the eventual winner, Anthony Zhang from Berkshire. Winning the bronze medal for third place was a major achievement for Wakefield against many experienced players.

Wakefield’s younger brother Harry (9) managed to win a game and lost another by only 21-19, which was very creditable against much older opposition.

The brothers teamed up in the doubles, unfortunately losing out in a three way tie in the group stages.

Jessica backed up her success in Essex by winning the singles silver medal at the Nottingham Bronze level tournament just after Christmas.

She fought her way through the group stages to reach the final where she nearly caused an upset against a Bucks opponent, who regularly trains at the National Badminton Centre, losing an exciting and close final by just 22-20.

l WNJB is sponsored by Roythorne’s Garage of North Wootton.