This seasons Junior League concluded at Alsager on Sunday (4th March). As a reminder, the results from the February session are aggregated with those from Sunday over 6 matches to provide a final table and hence a winner of each of the four divisions operating this season. The detailed results are on the web site under the Junior League menu item.
Division 1 was a shootout between Alsager and Congleton. Shavington had two teams in the division and the match between them was of interest. The two teams were very equally matched and the B team ran out winners 4-2. Alsager could only draw against this younger set of players so very well done Shavington B. Alsager also drew their match with Congleton which was probably expected. Congleton had beaten both of the Shavington teams by this time. The final analysis gave Congleton the championship with 11 points leaving Alsager as runners up on 8 points.
Division 2 saw a return to form of the historically strong Canute team. They finished on 10 points 2 ahead of nearest rivals Nantwich. Wizards managed third place and a very young Shavington C team found it a bit too hard finishing bottom. Canute did draw two matches but mainly because they could only field 3 players and hence conceding.
Division 3 saw the ever improving Crosses outfit once again mature into a good team. They won the division in reasonable comfort compiling a maximum 12 points and conceding only 6 games across the whole 2018 results set. Wizards B and Nantwich came closest with 7 and 5 points respectively. Canute’s B team propped up the rest remaining point less.
Division 4 – typically the preserve of our very young players who are just entering competitive badminton – was won by Wizards C who dropped only one point in 2018. Weaverham fought hard and took 9 points, with the Wizards D and Shavington D teams enjoying the experience. They will grow into very fine players.
As always at the conclusion of the Junior League we want to say thank you to the many who come along and support the kids, by chaperoning, scoring, soothing bruised egos or administering. This year two ‘coaches’ were parachuted in to manage teams at the very last minute so well done Emma from Canute and Kim from Weaverham. Without people like that the Junior League wouldn’t happen. Carl McGregor-Ogden has once again done a sterling job of managing the paperwork and the web site results service. The team coaches did a great job of bringing their players along and improving them relentlessly over the seasons. It is when you step back and see players over a number of seasons go from small kids who can barely see over the net, to adult standard players that the value of coaching is truly appreciated. Well done coaches. Chairman David Sumner said all of this in his presentation speech. We are now thinking ahead to next season, planning for that will begin in May. We are growing slightly concerned that there seems to be a reduction in junior players generally. Once again we would implore senior clubs to consider setting up a junior section as a feeder. We are very interested to hear from anyone who might consider doing a coaching qualification, and we would explore the possibility of help with funding. Successful models exist such as Crosses juniors and seniors, Shavington Juniors and South Cheshire, Alsager juniors and seniors, Nantwich and Malbank, Canute juniors and seniors, Weaverham juniors and seniors, Congleton juniors and seniors. There is lots of advice in these places for you to follow.