The island badminton team travelled to Leigh last weekend to continue their promotion push in the England senior county championship.
The team was forced to dig deep as resources were stretched because several key players were missing, but were aware that a successful weekend would keep alive their promotion hopes.
First up was top of the table Lothian seconds, against which the Manx side got off to a perfect start winning all the men’s singles. There was a notable debut performance from Fingal Watterson, winning his match 21-13 21-18.
The island was, however, pegged back in the women’s singles to make the score 3-2.
Adam Colley/Matt Nicholson and Kayleigh Callow/Laura Beggs scored victories in their respective doubles, but Jonny Callow/Baillie Watterson and Phillipa Li/Abi Li couldn’t follow suit, meaning at 5-4 it was all down to the mixed.
Luckily, Neil Harding/Beggs and J. Callow/A. Li were in good form, both winning close matches in three ends to make the final score 7-4.
Next up was the match against Durham and, once again, stellar performances from Colley and, particularly, Baillie Watterson, in the men’s singles gave the team an early 2-0 lead.
But Fingal Watterson was not able to get over the line, losing in three.
Equally, K. Callow and P. Li both found it tough going in the women’s singles, leaving the Manx team 2-3 down.
Colley/Nicholson continued their good form, but this was the only success for the doubles pairings with J. Callow/B. Watterson, Beggs/K. Callow and P. Li/A. Li all losing, making the score 3-6 to Durham.
With all games counting towards the overall standing, Harding/Beggs won a crucial mixed, while the Durham pair proved too strong for J. Callow/A. Li, leaving the overall score 7-4 to Durham.
With three matches remaining in March, the league looks set to go to the wire, and it is conceivable that seven out of the eight sides could gain promotion. The island’s first match against Yorkshire could be crucial in their promotion push.
l The team wishes to thank Isle of Man Badminton Association and Cu-Plas Callow for the continued support.