I am starting this report with yet another plea for more Masters players to come forward.  It looks as though there will only be one team in this competition next season, as both the 65s and 70s don’t wish to play again, leaving just the Over 45s Team.  Surely for such a large County we could do better ?  Speak to your peers, find someone who would be prepared to captain your team and contact me accordingly.  There are competitions in all age groups from Over 40s to Over 70s.  Teams consist of 4 women and 4 men, other than the Over 65s and 70s, where teams consist of 3 women and 3 men. The Captains have made some nice comments about me, but if we don’t find more interested players ………..

League Teams/Challenge Team

We entered three teams into the main leagues – an Over 45s, an Over 65s and an Over 70s.

The Over 45s did well again, and the Captain, Linda Pearcy, reports :

“The season was full of challenges not just the badminton but off the court too with injuries, operations, snow, cancellations, re-arrangements, people dropping out and so on, but it was still very enjoyable and we had some great performances from our players.   We did have a few positives as well, gaining new players in particular Jo Hammond and Nick Ponting. Most of the matches we won very comfortably, but after just beating Hampshire miraculously with a 6 6 winning draw in the first game of the season, especially having one of our key ladies out injured, we then went on to beat them 10 2 at home!  This we knew secured our place in the finals, which we think we will have a good chance of winning! I would like to thank Penny for all her hard work and support this difficult season, she has been marvellous!”

On a better note they had a very successful Yehlex County Challenge Weekend in Division 1 (as a new Over 45’s team). It was a great weekend which they ended up winning, and are now looking forward to next year back into the Premier.  Many thanks to all the team ….Mike, Zuli, Phil, Dave, Craig, Mandy, Linda, Rhonwen, Rachel and Kirsty.

After winning the south west area Over 45 regional division over the winter months, the Gloucestershire Over 45 badminton team travelled to Hatfield to play in the national finals.  They drew a strong SW Scotland team in the semi final and had some really tough games.  The ladies doubles and mens doubles were played first, with many events taking three ends.  The Gloucester team showed real tenacity to be 6-2 up after these games, meaning that the pressure was reduced for the mixed doubles.  A 9-3 win saw them through to the final where they met defending and 5 times consecutive champions Essex.  This time Gloucester won 2 of the ladies doubles and all 4 mens doubles putting them in command for the mixed doubles.  Three out of four mixed matches went our way to win the title 9-3 – an amazing achievement!  The team were Linda Pearcy (Gotherington), Mandy Joiner (Cheltenham), Jo Hammond (Cheltenham), Rachel McGill (Hereford), Rhonwen James (Gloucester), Mike Haywood (Chalford), Phil Richardson (Chalford), Nick Ponting (Woodmancote), Zuli Tejrar (Cheltenham), Julian Andrews (Lydney) and Dave Evans (Cheltenham).  This was a fantastic end to a season for the Over 45s.

The Over 65s had a reasonable season, and the Captain, Sue Aldridge, reports :

“We were unable to maintain our last season’s unbeaten record.  Two losses out of 7 fixtures means no play-offs for the Over 65s this season.  All team members were committed to every game, and I thank them all.  I also thank our co-ordinator, Penny, she has a tough job !  Sadly I will not be captaining the team next season, and we have no-one willing to take on the job.”

The Over 70s had a disappointing season after their moderate success last year, finishing 6th – but at least not propping up the league.  As always it was difficult to field players and the Captain, Sam Cook,  had to ‘borrow’ ladies from the Over 65s, or play a match with a member short.  Sam does not wish to captain the team next season, and again there is no-one who would like to take on  the job, mainly because of the lack of players willing to play and travel.

General

I should like to thank the Team Managers for all their help in organising their teams – and the snow we had really did cause major problems, particularly for the Over 45s – hopefully next Winter will be a better one !