Graham Henderson, who began his association with Alpha Badminton Club as a 19 year-old and went on to win a haul of Ulster and Irish titles during the 1980 and 1990s during what was something of a halcyon era at the Lisburn club before being a member of three Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games sides in 1994, 1998 and 2002 continues to turn the clock back by pitting his skills in European and World Senior competitions.
Last year won a gold meddal with Mark Topping in the Men’s Doubles 55+ at the European Senior Championships in Spain and also brought home silver in the Mixed Doubles 55+ partnering Pamela Peard.
At the recent BWF World Senior Championships in Katowice the Peard/Henderson partnership battled their way through to the quarter-finals of the Mixed Doubles 55+ narrowly missing out on a medal but began well, defeatingWanchai Kijleatvivat/Tippawan Phosri 21-15, 21-18.
In the next round they faced England pair Kyle Nethercott and Tracy Walker and recorded a fine 21-15 21-17 victory to book their place in the quarter-final where their medal bid came to an end at the hands of the German pair Jurgen Schmitz-Foster and Petra Teichmann 21-11, 21-16.
Despite being seeded No2 in the Men’s Doubles 50+ Graham and Mark came up against an unseeded pair from Indonesia, Puryanto Tan and Suganyanto Hadi Wahono.
In the opening set there was little between the two but Henderson and Topping seemed always to be playing catch up and were never in front.
Nevertheless after having to pull back from 8-2 and then 17-12 down they were disappointed that they could not wrestle the set from their opposition as they stood poised to snatch the opener at 21-21, only to see the Indonesians capture the set 23-21.
The second was even tighter and the Ireland pair enjoyed a 3-0 lead before the Indonesian pair enjoyed a 9-6 and 16-13 advantage.
But this time it was Graham and Mark who were to snatch the set, 21-19 and the match was all square.
The decider was even tighter than the previous two sets with neither partnerships able to pull away and it was Mark and Graham who put themselves in the position of getting over the line by leading 18-16 only for their opponents to take the next five points to book their place in the next round in a match which lasted just short of the hour mark.
Former Alpha doubles specialist Mark Topping also got through to the quarter-final of the Mixed Doubles 50 class partnering Dorothy McCullough but the No2 seeds had their bid for a semi-final place ended at the hands of Morten Christensen and Hanne Bertelsen losing out 21-16 21-16.
Meanwhile, the BWF Para Badminton World Championships got underway in Basle, Switzerland earlier this week.
Alpha’s two-times World and European Para champion Niall McVeigh was hoping to follow on from his performance in the Forza Irish International in June when he safely negotiated his group with a win over Raja Magotra and caused No3/4 seed Man Kai Chu more than a few problems before going down 21-17 21-18 only to lose the tightest of three set matches against Brazil’s Victor Goncalves Tavares, the 5/6 seed 18-21, 21-12, 21-19.
Niall had also teamed up with Isaak Dalglish, one of England’s top young prospects, and they ended the hopes of No2 seeds Nagor Krishna and Rajo Magotra 21-18, 21-18 only to themselves suffer a 21-13, 21-13 defeat at the hands of top seeds Man Kai Chu and Chun Yim Wong in the final.
Another of Alpha’s top Para players in the Short Stature 6 class, Andrew Moorcroft, got out of his qualifying group stage in the Irish championships with a fine 21-15, 10-21, 21-18 win over Wyatt Lightfoot before going down to the experienced Alexander Mekhdiev 21-17, 21-11
In Basle Niall impressively ended the hopes of Wyatt Lightfoot (Canada) 21-13 21-11 but his final group match was due to be against Krysten Coombs, the former champion from England, who is bidding to regain the coveted title.
The pair have played each other on a host of occasions but more recently it has been the English player who has come out on top and Niall will be particularly keen to bring this run to an end.
Similarly in his opening group match Andrew Moorcroft won his group B match convincingly, beating Luke Missen 21-6 21-17 but he will have a very difficult match against the No5/8 seed Chun yim Wong, the seeded player in the group.
In the doubles Andrew has teamed up once again with Scotland’s Robert Laing and were to have a difficult opening clash against No2 seeds Vitor Goncalves Tavares/Miles Krajewski.