National badminton glory for two city schools

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TWO Milton Keynes schools have helped to further cement the city’s reputation of being the home of English badminton when they stole the show at the Center Parcs National Schools Championships at the weekend.

Stantonbury Campus and Denbigh fought off very strong competition from eight other schools to be crowned national champions in the years 7/8/9 girls and years 10/11 boys categories.

The tournament took place at the Center Parcs resort in Sherwood Forest and saw the Stantonbury Campus U14 girls team – made up of Dominque Bell, Dominique Bell, Emma Catharell, Holly Impey, Kerry Leaney and Amber Ngo – beat Upton-by-Chester and Higham Lane School in the final round to win the title.

The Stantonbury Campus U14 boys team just missed out on the title after losing their final tie to eventual winners, The Elizabethan High School from Nottingham.

Kerry Leaney, who was part of the winning Stantonbury Campus girls side, said she was ‘absolutely ecstatic’ that they were crowned national champions.

“We’ve got so much confidence from this,” said the 13-year-old. “So we hope to take this into more games and have more success in the future. It’s a great achievement for the whole team and the school.”

Vanessa Blake, team manager for the girls team, echoed her sentiments, saying: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won – it was a really high standard and we had some really tricky games to play. The girls all had a great time and are so pleased with the result.”

The Denbigh School boys team of Jake Phillips, Harrison Simcock, Greg Fung and Kalana De Silva beat Davenant Foundation and Langley School after two close fought matches to clinch the national title in the years 10/11 category.

Harrison Simcock, captain of the Denbigh School boys team, said: “This has given us a really great sense of achievement, and it’s the last year that we’re all eligible to play, so we’re really delighted to have won and made it three national titles in this competition.

Nigel Monoghan, team manager and head of PE at Denbigh, said: “It’s an outstanding achievement. The team has won three times in the last four years of the tournament and that says everything you need to know about their attitude, commitment and dedication to the sport, to the school, and each other.”

Both schools had already won through three rounds of local, county and regional on-court competition to reach the national finals.

The winning trophies were awarded to the teams by Olympic silver medalist, and 2006 world champion, Gail Emms MBE, who had been watching the action throughout.

“The quality of play was impressive,” said the Badminton England ambassador. “The future is looking bright and I’d like to extend my congratulations to Stantonbury Campus and Denbigh for their great performances.

“It was a very competitive tournament so for them both to have reached the finals and come away as national champions is a fantastic achievement.”

The Center Parcs National Schools Championships is one of the biggest school badminton tournaments in Europe. Last year over 1,100 middle and secondary schools entered the tournament, with over 22,000 children getting on court to take part across four rounds of action. Entry for the 2012/13 season is due to open soon. For details see www.badmintonengland.co.uk/CPNSC