Bateman brushes aside older county opponents

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West Norfolk Junior Badminton player Jessica Bateman brushed away much older opposition to win the girls’ singles title at the Norfolk Schools Association under 16 competition.

Bateman (12), from Dersingham, was the youngest competitor in the tournament and defeated several older county players on her way to the title.

Having finished runner-up in the initial group, she was joined in the quarter-finals by Jessica Alder (14) who had finished third.

Alder then, unfortunately, played top seed Rachel Copley from Norwich and lost 12-21, but Bateman made it through to the semis where she had her revenge on the only girl to defeat her in the initial group, Abi Davis, and thus reached the final. Despite a two-year age gap, Bateman proved too consistent for the top seed and won easily 21-12 to take the title.

The boys’ singles was played in four groups with the top two from each progressing to the top section and the others going into the plate competition. Joe Rolfe, from Downham, won his group and was joined by 12-year-old Charlie Wakefield from Feltwell who came second. Joe played his way into the final but unfortunately lost to an in-form James Salter from Norwich.

In the girls’ doubles, Bateman and partner, Caitlin Parfitt from Norwich, easily won their group to reach the final, where they played top seeds Copley and Davis. Despite being 11-2 down midway, the girls caught up to take the game to 20-all but unfortunately missed out on the title, losing by 23-21.

The boys’ doubles was split into three sections. Rolfe and Salter were top seeds and duly won their group and the semi-final to reach the final, which they won 21-14 to take the title.

The final event of the day was the mixed doubles, where Rolfe and Alder reached the final then lost out to top seeds Salter and Copley 12-21. Despite being the youngest competitors in the tournament, Wakefield and Bateman did very well to finish fourth after a play-off.

West Norfolk Junior Badminton is sponsored by Roythorne’s Garage of North Wootton.