Schools from across the county converged on the eight courts to compete for four places in the Regional Finals. KLB competed in the KS3 boys completion, playing Sir Thomas Rich’s, Wydean, Balcarras, and Deerpark schools.
- Match One – Sir Thomas Rich’s: Tom Eldridge gave KLB a great start, beating his singles opponent 21-7, backed up by James Austen and Connor Pearce in their doubles, winning 21-12. Jack Warren pushed his opponent all the way in the second singles, narrowly losing 19-21. The crossover doubles saw Tom and James win 21-8 and Jack and Connor take the last game 21-12. Four-one to KLB and a great start to the day.
- Match Two – Wydean: With one win under their belts, KLB stormed the next match 5-0, not conceding more than seven points in any game. Five-nil and two wins.
- Match Three – Deerpark: For this game, James was rested and Josh Sellick stepped in. Another excellent performance from the squad showed our strength in depth. Five-nil to KLB, three down one to go. By this time, it was clear that the Balcarras match would be the crunch. They too had won all their matches and by similar margins.
- Match Four – Balcarras: Tom gave KLB the lead with a 21-13 win over a fellow county player. Game 2 went to Balcarras as James and Connor lost out on the last point, 20-21, and then Jack was pipped at the post, 18-21, in the second singles. At 1-2 down, things were looking tough. After a quick team talk, Tom and James brought the match square at 2-2 with a 21-15 win over their opponents. All eyes on Jack and Connor. The game started very tight with each pair winning single points before conceding serve and initiative. This continued with no pair achieving more than a one-point lead. The players and coaches on the sidelines could barely watch as, at 20-19 up, Jack and Connor finally broke serve and won the game. Three-two to KLB and through to the Regionals.
In all my many years of coaching badminton at the school, I have never been so nervous and so relieved. A massive team performance and a demonstration of real grit and determination. Well done to the boys and good luck in the next round.
The Regional Finals will be held on 16 March in Paignton, Devon, the last stage before the National Finals.
S McRitchie and Cath Chevin, Badminton Coaches