This weekend sees the Leinster U17 and U13 Yonex Opens taking place at the Baldoyne Badminton Centre and Alpha’s Matthew Cheung and Jeffrey Rong will both be bidding to maintain their early season form.
Matthew is seeded No1 in the three Under 17 competitions, and partnering Vincent Pontanosa and Sophia Noble in the Boy’s and Mixed Doubles while Wallace pupil Stuart McCollam is also seeded in the Singles, Doubles (with Dylan Noble) and Mixed (with Julia O’Reilly).
It is great to see an entry of 39 in for the Boy’s Singles and Cheung could expect to face Stamullen’s Scott Guildea in the semi-final, though Stuart’s performance last weekend should see his confidence at the highest it has been for quite some time.
Meanwhile in the bottom half of the draw, Terenure’s Ben Lawlor is due to face No2 seed Vincent Pontanosa but the most encouraging factor of the large draw is the entry from the Alpha Badminton Club with Yashwin Shyam, Joshua Tang, Christopher Chee all in the U17 draw.
Sophia Noble has certainly made an impressive start to the season by knocking out seeds in the recent European Championships and is seeded to capture a hat-trick of titles and Alpha’s Chloe Woods could just face her in the 2 nd round, if she can overcome Whitewell’s Michelle Shochan.
They have gone head to head on four occasions with Chloe having won their first two contests while Michelle has come out on top in the U15 Irish Nationals in January and earlier this month in the Ulster U17 Open so it is all to play for.
Meanwhile Chloe’s younger sister Paige has an opening round against Ella McGrane with Paige having won their only previous encounter in 2017.
Meanwhile Roisin McKenna has also been enjoying a rich vein of form of late and should win her opening match against Listowel’s Deina Vesko though she could then face Sinead O’Sullivan, the No3/4 seed, two players she has not played before.
Laura Bell will get her challenge off to what should be a winning start with a victory over Lucy O’Halloran and in the recent Ulster U17 Open she recorded a fine 21-16 22-20 victory over Saumya Kothiyal only to face the outstanding Sophia Noble in the next round.
Alpha’s Jeffrey Rong is seeded No2 in the U13 Boy’s Singles, behind Andrew Hassett but when the pair met in the Ulster U13 Open in the middle of last month, it was the Alpha player who was to come out on top, winning 14-21 21-19 21-11 so he will be looking more of the same.
Rong is an outstanding young prospect and will be confident of reaching the final of the Boy’s Doubles partnering Andrew Hassett and the Mixed Doubles when he partners Kimberley Pearson when their opponents are likely to be Andrew Hassett and Nicole Joy.
Again it is great to see Kaden Tang also in the draw and gaining valuable experience while Amber Buchanan is seeded No2 in the Girl’s Singles behind Nicole Joy who beat her in the final of the Ulster U13 Open and should get her bid for the title off to a good start facing Alana Savio.
Nicole Joy and Zara Pender beat Amber and Kimberley Pearson 21-10 21-13 in the Ulster final and are seeded to meet each other again in the final.