Class is permanent as Michael and Mark bring home a trio of titles

Michael Watt was in top form at the weekend and returned back to Alpha with two titles.
Michael Watt was in top form at the weekend and returned back to Alpha with two titles.

Michael Watt and Mark Topping brought three titles back to Lisburn from the Baldoyne Badminton Centre

As in many sports, badminton is reaping the benefits of more players competing in Masters or Veterans events.

Two seasoned, former international campaigners from Lisburn Michael and Mark were always going to catch headlines at that level.

Last weekend, Michael won the over 40 men’s singles and doubles titles while Mark prevented Michael Turkington from a double haul of titles, when Topping teamed up with Dorothy McCullough to win gold in the mixed.

It was not all plain sailing for Watt in the singles though. After progressing through the two matches in his group unscathed, beating Gordon Chambers and Dean Dowling without breaking sweat, he raced into a one set lead in the final against Kevin Donnelly.

However, his opponent staged a remarkable comeback and the former international was glad to secure the gold medal by the narrowest of margins 21-19.

Michael was again having to work hard in the doubles and, in his experienced partnership with Michael Turkingtonn found it a difficult task to overcome Alan Colgan and Seamus Halpin in a match lasting 30 minutes. Then the seeded pair were able to secure a victory in their opening match of Group A 21-19 21-18.

They booked their place in the semis taking the first set 21-8 against Chris and Gordon Chambers but there was a few more hiccups on the way as the second set reached its latter stages and Turkington and Watt came through 21-17 with a bye into the final their reward.

They obviously banished their rustiness early in the competition, for Watt and Turkington were to secure their gold medals with a confident 21-10 21-15 victory over Barry and Shane Guildea.

The Over 40 mixed doubles was an extremely close affair with Mark Topping and Dorothy McCullough taking 37 minutes to put out the seeded pair of John Kiernan and Ruth O’Hart, winning 21-17 21-17

That booked their place in the semis with a 21-14 21-19 win over Ronan Tumilty and Brenda Murray Flynn.

With Topping showing glimpses of the skills which had taken him to international honours, the Topping/McCullough pair took just over 20 minutes to beat Seamus Halpin and Karen Ballantine 21-16 21-8.

Their opponents in the final, Willie Stevenson and Sylvia Campion, had an energy-sapping three setter against Michael and Valerie Turkington before winning 21-18 in the decider. And comparitively rested, it was the Topping/McCullough pair who lifted the gold medals 21-12 21-17.

Tony Clarke, meanwhile, had to be content with two silver medals finishing as runner-up to David Kenny in the mens singles over 65.

Then, in the mens doubles, the singles finalists were beaten by Tom McGrath/Jim Morgan 21-16 18-21 21-13.