It’s Alpha Christmas tournament time once again

A young Michael Watt, who recalls playing in the Christmas Tournament.
A young Michael Watt, who recalls playing in the Christmas Tournament.

Last year the Alpha Christmas Badminton Tournament celebrated its 50th Birthday and has deserved its place in the history of the sport in the province.

So many of the province’s top players over half a century have experienced the very special, unique atmosphere which is the Christmas Tournament.

And it is hard to believe that we are at that time again when entry forms are again available.

The days in the Seventies when the early rounds of the competition were held in half-a-dozen or so centres the length and breadth of the province may be gone.

However, those involved in the tournament throughout the years have fond memories.

The three court hall, which is getting a welcome upgrade, provided a very intimate atmosphere for the finals at that time.

And Michael Watt, who continues to play regularly in the Ulster League and is still winning in the appropriately described Masters competitions at home and abroad, is not the only former international who still looks back with great affection on the competition and the undoubted contribution it has made to the sport of badminton in the province.

Many of us will have watched the spectacle that was the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the six members of the Northern Ireland Badminton Squad all played in the Christmas Tournament at some time in their development.

Those involved in the club are sure there will be a few of this year’s competitors who will go on to further honours...or at the very least reflect on the tournament in the years to come.

Entry forms are available from lisburnracquets.co.uk Alpha Page.

The forms should then be returned to Alpha Badminton Club, 36 Belfast Road, Lisburn BT27 4AS or emailed to bcolhoun@lisburnracquets.co.uk or faxed to 028 9262 9674 before the Closing Date of Monday December 29.

The competition will be held on Friday January 2 with the Under 9, Under 13 and Under 17 age-groups with the Under 11 and Under 15 being played on Saturday January 3.