The annual Ouse open competition was played out again on Saturday organised by the Ouse Valley Badminton League (Gary Buckby, Emma Littler and Helen Arnold).
The competition offers league and non-league players a social competition and hopes to recruit new players into the league.
Without defending champions Jordan Lott and Tom Hinks the men’s competition was opened up to lots of evenly matched pairings and game of the day was potentially played between eventual winners Terry Baker and Steve Rumsey and Lynn’s Mark Thorpe/Sean Lott. The game was won 15-14 by Thorpe and Lott.
This year’s men’s competition had entrants from not only the Ouse Valley League, but Baker and Rumsey entered who play in the Newmarket and Bury League and the Chappell twins, Fraser and Digby, entered who play over in the March League.
The diversity of players can only be seen as a good thing due to recent funding cuts within the sport.
The men’s competition, won by Baker and Rumsey, was very closely run. No pairing managed to win all of their games and they only beat second place Thorpe and Lott by one point and third place Billy Winter and Dan Warburton by three.
Over in the ladies competition, Norfolk county player Jessi Bateman had teamed up with her stalwart coach Janis Baker, both currently YMCA league players (a club also run by Baker).
This formidable pairing which has worked so well in the league this year, came in first place without losing a game and finishing a clear 20 points ahead of the chasing pack.
Second went to Maria Crompton and Sarah Jay, both having played in the league this year. They were a strong pairing who managed to outmuscle the rest of the opposition.
Moira Hough and Emma Littler finished in third place but only three ahead of Frankie Penfold and Helen Arnold.
The mixed competition featured 10 pairings including the return of last year’s winners Sean Lott and Jeanette Ivey.
Unfortunately this fell down to nine not long after the start as Catherine Redford and Lee Mason had to withdraw due to injury.
With four county players playing in the mixed (Lott, Bateman, Ben Watts and Joe Rolfe) there was always going to be tough competition for the podium places. Bateman and Watts paired together, Lott paired with Ivey and Rolfe with his league partner Emma Littler.
Moira Hough/Cyril Francis and Maria Crompton and son Liam Crompton pushed the aforementioned players to produce some thrilling badminton.
Hough and Francis finished second. Despite losing three of their games they managed to rack up enough points to edge Bateman and Watts into third spot by three points.
Hough and Francis’ club compatriots Rolfe and Littler took home the crown with a flawless display and continued their league winning streak.
Last year’s winners Lott and Ivey were unlucky to miss out on a position but a heavy defeat to Rolfe/Littler meant that they ended up two points adrift of third place.
So many younger players participated. Luc Widdowson was the youngest at 14, followed by Bateman, Reece Law and Rolfe.
Level 2 qualified coach Ben Watts said: “It was great to see young and upcoming league players participating, and they all held their own extremely well!
“The ability of some of our young players is incredible and I feel this bodes well for the future of the Ouse Valley League.”
Visit www.ousevalley badmintonleague.co.uk for all club information. Interested in a coach? Janis Baker and Ben Watts are available at www.janisbaker.co.uk or find Ben Watts Badminton Coach on Facebook.