Alpha’s Beth Stephenson reached the semi-final of the Under 17 Gold Series at Milton Keynes.
Having finished runner-up in the Ulster Under 17 Championships recently, she will surely gain some degree of satisfaction from being beaten by the eventual champion.
In safely negotiating the round robin group stages with a straight sets victory over Gemma May Atkins 21-8 21-5 Beth caused an upset by beating one of England’s brightest prospects Hope Warner, ranked No10, from Leicestershire, coming back from a one set deficit to book her place in the quarter-finals. Results: 15-21 21-19 21-14.
There she took just 27 minutes to spoil the party of Kate Walker beating the Yorkshire player 21-17 21-7 only to lose to Abbygael Harris ranked number five in England at the Under 15 age group in the semi-final.
Beth who won the coveted Ulster Open title last season came close to snatching the opening set from the Staffordshire youngster who took a one set advantage 21-19 and the second was an equally close affair before Miss Harris - who had lost to Beth’s clubmate Rachael Woods in the Nottingham Under 15 Gold event - secured her place in the final against Natasha Lado, the number one seed.
The Staffordshire youngster went on to lift the coveted crown 16-21 21-15 19-21 in 46 minutes
In the Girls Doubles Beth partnered Clodagh Dunne to an excellent straight sets victory over Chelsea Huang and Amy Keady and knocked out the seeded pair in Group B Lucy Dong and Alice Xu 21-19 21-10 only to suffer a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Hope Warner and Ellie Wheatley 21-12 21-12.
Beth also made a good start in the mixed doubles, partnering Brian O’Mahony, recording a fine victory over Jack Tierney/Ruchika Madhotra 21-19 24-22 in a match lasting 32 minutes and followed this up by knocking out the seeded Andrija Kraljic and Clodagh Dunne 24-22 in the deciding set having lost the first 21-12.
They were to miss out on a semi-final place when they came up against the No3/4 seeds Jack MacGregor and Freya Patel-Redfearn losing 21-10 21-11.