7th European Senior Championships

Amersfoort (Netherlands)

May 15th  to  May 20th  2006

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO TONY EVANS FROM HARTLEPOOL ON

WINNING GOLD IN THE 55+ MIXED DOUBLES with MAUREEN RIMMER

& BRONZE IN THE 55+ GENTS DOUBLES with JOHN COCKER.

 

Below is a report from Tony.

 

This was our first trip to the Netherlands so Kath (my wife) and I set off to travel to the Championships from Durham Tees Valley Airport on Saturday the 13th May expecting to see, on our arrival, lots of clogs, tulips and windmills.

 

The flight was on time and we arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on schedule and duly transferred onto the local inter city rail service to Amersfoort which was about 30 minutes away. Arriving at Amersfoort after a diversion via Utrecht, even over there they have to undertake rail-engineering works; we prepared ourselves for the first major test. Would the transport be there to take us to our hotel? We were relieved to see someone already waiting, a gentlemen from Latvia, who had also just arrived. Much to the relief of everyone a mini bus soon turned up and whisked us away to the Hotel Van der Valk in Luesden. Luesden is a small village just outside Amersfoort, which was to act as the main base for the England Team for the next week.

 

For the first time in a European Seniors Championship there was to be a new ‘younger’ category of +35, although there was disappointingly no +65 category. The English team consisted of over seventy-five players and was to be one of the largest contingents from any of the participating countries. This shows the vast amount of interest and support for Seniors badminton in England. It really was good to see different faces in the England team not only in the new age group but also in some of the ‘older’ categories.

 

Sunday was designated as a practise day and gave us all our first chance to look in the hall, get a feel for the playing conditions and see the layout of the courts. The hall had been set up with a total of six courts arranged in two banks of three with no net between the two banks. Most people took advantage of the practise time and although from one end it was a little difficult to see the shuttle, because of the ceiling lights, it was generally accepted that the hall was not too bad. Most of us have played in a lot worse.

 

Play commenced as scheduled on Monday and to the organisers credit the timings during the day were reasonably accurate, a feature that was in evidence throughout the week up until finals day. Due to the way the transfer bus was scheduled, to and from the Hotels, the hall itself was reasonably full of spectators on most days. This made for a good atmosphere with plenty of audience participation. During the week one competitor from England was so keen that he and his partner even turned up to play in an event one day early. In the early evening of Monday the organisers had arrange for a short official opening ceremony to take place with school children and trumpeters from Amersfoort making it a memorable event. However Monday did see the start of the injury list with one Polish competitor suffering from a torn Achilles tendon.

 

During the week most competitors took the chance between their games to visit Amersfoort with its mixture of old and new. Some even took the opportunity to take the canal tour which was a very pleasant hour spent touring round the medieval sights of Amersfoort. For the more adventurous amongst us Amsterdam was only a short train ride away and again a large number of people took the chance to look around this magnificent city. Some even found themselves, I’m sure accidentally, ‘window-shopping’ in the, let’s say, more notorious parts of the city.

 

However back to the badminton. Friday was crunch day with medals at stake. Dependant on success it was either a Bronze medal or the chance on Saturday to play for Gold. England, at this point, was way ahead of the rest of Europe in the race for the medals. We had the chance for some 40 medals with Germany in second place with 17 chances and surprisingly Denmark in third place with 13 chances. I had mixed fortunes. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to play for Gold in the Mixed with Maureen but had to settle for Bronze in the Men’s doubles with John. During play, in the semi finals of the Women’s +60 singles, the crowd went wild when we saw the umpire issue a first yellow card when one of the German ladies loudly uttered an ‘expletive’. Who said that Seniors aren’t competitive, what would the grand children think?

 

Fridays schedule was to be completed by 6-00 p.m. as the traditional end of tournament get together was scheduled for that night. After play finished we were all transported back to the hotel to get ‘scrubbed up’ and then transported back to the hall for the night’s entertainment. The hall committee had done a fantastic job transforming half the hall into a casino, bar, dance hall and restaurant in the space of about two hours. The buffet, which was provided by the local Chinese restaurant, was excellent and the entertainment was top class with a mixture of ‘chorus girls’ and a live band providing dance music. For the more daring there was even a chance to win (or more commonly lose) some money on the roulette and black jack tables.

 

Saturday came. Play was to commence at 12 noon and no one was sure what the hall layout was to be, except that it was to be reduced to three courts. The playing schedule had been split into three sessions with twelve matches in the first two and six in the third and last session. Each session was to be followed by its medal presentation ceremony.

 

I arrived at 10 a.m. as Maureen and I were to be in the first batch of matches on court. The layout had not changed so all six courts were still available for knocking up. From 10 a.m. until about 11:30 a.m. the courts began to fill with people hitting shuttles. At 11:50 a.m. the courts were cleared and the atmosphere in the hall went very tense. Then without warning the light were put out on the ‘back’ three courts. Suddenly it looked as though the bad end, for the last five days, had just become the good end.

 

At last 12 noon arrived and the first three matches were called to the meeting area. Maureen and I took to the courts amid a fanfare and enthusiastic synchronised clapping from the crowd. How anyone could stay unemotional at this point is any ones guess. Twenty-Two minutes later we were European champions, what a fantastic feeling. This was to be the first Gold of the Championships, which fittingly went to England.

 

The matches and presentation ceremonies went on throughout the day and it became obvious that, for the first time, the timings had gone askew. The scheduled finish of 7:00 p.m. was going to be a distant memory as play finally finished at about 9:30 p.m. This caused some problems as most players had booked meals with other players for early in the evening. Thanks must go to the Danish Team who provided a top quality meal and showed great hospitality, at their hotel, very late on that Saturday night, to a contingent of the English Team.

 

All the England players that I saw play throughout the week did the team proud and whether or not they won medals they were a credit to England for their spirit and effort. I do not wish to name individuals but there were some heroic performances in many of the events. I am positive that everyone had a great time and will take back many happy memories.

 

Perhaps the best memory to recall will be the success of the England Team as a whole. At the last Seniors Championships in Spain we finished second to Denmark by one medal. This time we finished some seven medals in front of every other team. WELL DONE EVERYONE!

 

On a personal note I would like to thank Kath, for her support, and my many training partners who helped me in the lead up to the tournament. Because of a knee injury two months ago I didn’t think I would be in the Netherlands so two medals was an unbelievable bonus for me.

 

As for the clogs, tulips and windmills I’m afraid I have to report some disappointment.

One man in clogs, no tulip fields at all and only about six windmills in the whole nine days I was there.

 

Tony Evans.

Hartlepool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


English Medal Winners

 

 

+35 Age Group

 

 

Gold

Women’s Doubles

Lorraine Cole  &  Tracey Dineen

Silver 

Men’s Singles

Chris Shepperd

 

Men’s Doubles

Keith Goodey  &  Chris Shepperd

Bronze

Men’s Singles

Alistair Jones

 

Women’s Singles

Betty Blair

 

Men’s Doubles

Julian Priestley  &  Chris Wray

 

 

 

+40 Age Group

 

 

Silver

Men’s Doubles

Martin Haddon  &  James Teale

 

Women’s Doubles

Sue Crompton  &  Viv Gillard

Bronze

Mixed Doubles

John Bowker  &  Kathy Isherwood

 

 

 

+45 Age Group

 

 

Gold

Men’s Doubles

Tim Hudson-Church  &  Eric Plane

Silver 

Men’s Singles

Jack Webb

Bronze

Women’s Singles

Linda Wood

 

Women’s Doubles

Sue Hurst  &  Debbie Rigby

 

Mixed Doubles

Tim Hudson-Church  &  Debbie Rigby

 

 

 

+50 Age Group

 

 

Gold

Women’s Singles

Christine Crossley

 

Women’s Doubles

Christine Crossley & Christine Black (SCO)

 

Mixed Doubles

Bill Hamblett  &  Reggie Baker

Silver 

Women’s Doubles

Pam Dallow  &  Reggie Baker

 

Mixed Doubles

Peter Emptage  &  Pam Dallow

Bronze

Women’s Singles

Reggie Baker

 

 

 

+55 Age Group

 

 

Gold

Women’s Doubles

Janet Fletcher  &  Sue Ely

 

Mixed Doubles

Tony Evans  &  Maureen Rimmer

Silver 

Men’s Singles

John Gardner

 

Women’s Singles

Janet Fletcher

 

Men’s Doubles

John Gardner  &  Peter Emptage

 

Women’s Doubles

Sue Whittaker  &  Maureen Rimmer

Bronze

Men’s Doubles

Tony Evans  &  John Cocker

 

Mixed Doubles

Bob Bell  &  Pam Firth

 

 

 

+60 Age Group

 

 

Gold

Men’s Doubles

Harry Shadwick  &  Michael Coley

 

Mixed Doubles

Harry Shadwick  &  Brenda Andrew

Silver 

Men’s Doubles

Jim Garrett  &  Ian Brothers

 

Women’s Doubles

Beryl Goodall  &  Brenda Andrew

 

Mixed Doubles

Jim Garrett  &  Muriel Burgess

Bronze

Women’s Singles

Beryl Goodall

 

Mixed Doubles

Ian Brothers  &  Barbara Gibson

 

 

Final Medal Table

 

 

Gold

Silver  

Bronze

Total

England

14  

12  

34½

Denmark

6

  2

19

27

Germany

5

  6

14  

25

Switzerland

3

  0

  0  

  3

Poland

2    

  3

  0  

  5

Israel

        

    ½

  0  

  2

Netherlands

1    

  2  

 

 

Russia

1

        

    ½

  3

Norway

1    

  0  

  1

  2

Scotland

  ½ 

  1  

  1  

 

Bulgaria

  ½ 

  0

  0  

    ½

Sweden

0

  0

 

 

Austria

0

  0

  1

  1

Latvia

0

  0

  1

  1

Belarus

0

  0

    ½

    ½