Alpha host U13 Celtic Challenge as locals shine

Chloe (front) and Paige Woods in action for Alpha.

Chloe (front) and Paige Woods in action for Alpha.

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The U13 Celtic Challenge has become a popular addition to the badminton calendar and this year was no different.

Eventual champions Leinster, Lothian and Wales travelled to compete with host club Alpha.

Che Smyth (back) and Jason Ferguson were on the top of their game against the Welsh pair Charlie Cahill and Alfie Moorcroft.

Che Smyth (back) and Jason Ferguson were on the top of their game against the Welsh pair Charlie Cahill and Alfie Moorcroft.

The local young side, though, deserved a better result than their opening defeat to the winners.

Their top boys doubles partnership of Matthew Cheung and Stuart McCollam were very disappointed to lose to David and Kevin Downey.

The were edged out 21-19 in the first set but won 21-15 in the second. The Lisburn crowd raised the roof for their deciding set but the local lads eventually lost out 21-19.

In a carnival atmosphere, Cheung and McCollam both roared back with singles wins over Vincent Pontenosa and Kevin Downey respectively.

Stuart McCollam (left) and Matthew Cheung in action at the U13 Celtic Challenge.

Stuart McCollam (left) and Matthew Cheung in action at the U13 Celtic Challenge.

Alpha could have made it three singles victories when Che Smyth gave the talented Scott Guildea more than a few problems but the Leinster player finished the stronger in both sets.

Chloe and Paige Woods were also on their game against Leinster’s Leonie Ward and Aine Crowe, despite losing a thrilling game 22-20 in the deciding set.

Alpha’s Ryley Benson and Lucy Mathews were well worth their three-set victory over Thomas Morgan and Saffron Morris in the third mixed doubles. Rachael Todd in the third singles berth came back from one set down to take the second 21-18 but lost out 22-20 in the third.

Similarly, Jason Ferguson fought back in his clash against the young Welsh player Alfie Moorcroft to take the match into a decider but he too missed out on what would have been a deserved win 22-20.

The Alpha squad was Matthew Cheung, Stuart McCollam, Jason Ferguson, Che Smyth, Rhyley Benson,Daniel McElhinney, Laura Comer, Chloe woods, Lucy Mathers, Paige Woods, Rachael Mooney, Rachael Todd.