Meet MK’s new elite team

Peter Mills
Peter Mills

The first pieces of the National Badminton League fell into place on Monday, with Milton Keynes’ newest team landing three stars they hope will lead them to the title.

The first player auction saw the six newly formed clubs vie for the top talent on offer for the inaugural season, which gets underway in November.

MK Badminton won three player auctions on the day - landing Paul van Rietvelde, England National Men’s Doubles champion Peter Mills, and hottly-tipped youngster Sophie Brown.

Van Rietvelde, 23, is current Scottish National Senior Men’s Doubles Champion and was the first player to be bought by MK Badminton, tweeted: “I hope that as the first bought for Milton Keynes that I can be regarded as the captain of the ship!”

And the enthusiasm was echoed by his new team mate Mills, who wrote: “Come on, let’s take the title!”

Mills recently broke into the top 20 of the world rankings along with doubles partner Chris Langridge, who signed for Surrey Smashers, as more than £100,000 was spent by the six teams.

And 21-year-old Brown has developed through the Yorkshire Junior Badminton system and developed into one of the strongest Junior Doubles players in Europe.

Coach Jurgan van Leeuwen said: “We had a plan to buy certain players who were popular with the other teams too.

“We are delighted to have some experienced players, blended with young players. I’m chuffed with the outcome.”

With the auction stage out of the way, MK Badminton will now concentrate their efforts on filling their line-up.