Runcton Holme’s Joe strikes national badminton gold

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West Norfolk junior badminton player Joe Rolfe, from Runcton Holme, won gold and bronze medals at an under-18 national Badminton England tournament last weekend.

Rolfe, 16, who is personally sponsored by Top Spin Tennis, played in the under-18 bronze level tournament in Kent, and was joined by Jessi Bateman, 14, who was playing up an age group.

Rolfe and his partner, Alex Rolph, from Suffolk, were second seeds in the boys’ doubles, and duly won their group to reach the last four.

There they had a close match, winning 15-13 in the third end.

The final was an even closer match, but they held their nerve at the end to win 15-7, 12-15, 16-14 to take gold.

In the boys’ singles, Rolfe won his group, then his quarter-final to face Henry Caplin, from Suffolk, in the semi-final, and despite winning the first game 15-12, he then lost the next two, 15-9, 15-10, to take the bronze medal, with Caplin going on to win the title.

Daniel Hughes, from Downham, was unlucky to be drawn in the same group as the top seed, so despite winning one match comfortably, he lost to the number one from Surrey 9-15, 10-15.

Bateman and her partner Caitlin Parfitt won the bronze medal in the girls’ doubles after being involved in a three-way tie for runners-up, missing out on the silver medal by just one point on countback.

Bateman unfortunately faced the second seed, and eventual winner, Holly Smith, from Essex, in her group, so despite winning her other match, she did not progress to the knockout stages.

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