Sussex put on a fine showing as Badminton England’s inter-counties tournament celebrated it’s 50th year for the county under-17 players.
Over the years it has grown into the most atmospheric and most anticipated team badminton tournament in England.
The Sussex team consisted of Horsham’s Issy Noakes and Vicky Roberts, Freya Hodgson (Hastings), Elysia Taylor and Laura Gilbert (both Worthing), Jonty Russ and Zach Russ (both Haywards Heath), Daniel Hatton (Haywards Heath), Andrew Brownlie (Burgess Hill) and Jude Blackman (Bognor Regis).
All ten travelled to Nottingham, last Wednesday, to prepare for the mammoth four days of badminton.
This year’s tournament attracted 35 counties and with Sussex being seeded, the first group of matches against Northumberland, Hertfordshire and Oxford should have been straight forward.
With three wins in the group they finished top and progressed to the next group of matches that included another group winner, Berkshire and two runner up counties, Devon and Dorset.
The matches against Devon and Dorset were again 9-1 results but both could have been closer as a number of matches went to three ends.
Against Berkshire to play-off for the top four spots, saw Sussex’s opponents boast three under-17 England players to their one and one under-15 national player.
The team showed no respect for reputations and at 4-4 with two mens double matches to be played, Sussex could still win the title, but the went down 6-4.
Sussex were now left to play for the fifth to eighth spots. They lost by one set to Derby with the match score at 5-5 and then narrowly lost to Lancashire 6 -4.
Against Warwickshire, they battled to a fantastic 5-5 match score and won the match because they had one additional set to finish overall seventh country belonged to Sussex.
“It was a fantastic achievement from a young team the majority of whom will be eligible to play again next Easter.
“If you asked any county badminton player why they play the game and what is their most memorable moments on a badminton court, I would guarantee that if they were ever lucky enough to be selected for their county ICT team they would all say that ICT is amazing and this includes players who have gone on and played for their country.
“Although ICT is primarily a badminton tournament it is far more than this.
“It is the opportunity for young people to learn how to cope away from home in a stressful sporting environment; experiencing possible university life as they stay in the halls of residence at Nottingham University for five days and they get the chance to socialise with over 300 like-minded sporty young people.”