Australia’s premier National Teams trophy, the Ede Clendinnen, was decided yesterday between to two top seeded teams. The three-day tournament Began on the 23rd of February, at the Elphin Sports Centre in Launceston.
The Queensland team took on NSW Thunder where Queensland were up to the task, needing only 7 matches to take the tie with strong showings from Olympic hopefuls Wendy Chen, Simon Leung and Mitchell Wheller. Queensland were also able to use Angela and Jack Yu to great effect, combating efforts by fellow National Junior Squad players Majan Almazan and Rio Agustino. Ultimately Queensland won the tie 7-3 with NSW taking wins in the MS2, WD1 and XD2.
On the other courts were the defending champions Victoria who took on the hosts for 2020 Tasmania. The Tasmanian team was a mix of stalwart players like Badminton Tasmania president Brent Munday and Rowan Henderson, both notching up their 19th Ede Clendinnen championship, and young players. Unfortunately for the hosts, the Victorian Rebels were able to hold steady and win 8 of the 10 matches available in the tie. Notable performances from the Tasmanian team included Abigail Rothery taking the WS2 over Grace Hanratty and a thrilling battle in the WD1 where Meg Graham and Leesa Grundy were able to hold steady in a three-game thriller against Kaitlyn Ea and Lee-Yen Khoo.
Queensland continued to show why their seeding as number two in the tournament was well justified taking a dominant win over third seeds Tasmania 10 matches to 0, and perhaps sending some waves of uncertainty to the defending champions Victoria.
At the same time the NSW Thunder chalked up their first tie victory defeating the WA Wasps 6 matches to 4. In what was a tie that went right down to the last match both teams traded wins across the first six matches before NSW were able to post back to back wins in the WD2, MD2 and WD1. Across all 10 matches, five went to three games with the MS 1 between Seng Low (NSW) and Yinxiang Lin running just shy of an hour (57 minutes). It was no doubt a fiery match up and maybe signs of a rivalry to come?
After their well fought victory against the WA Wasps, the NSW Thunder came up against defending champions and number 1 seeds the Victorian Rebels. The Thunder held their own trading wins with the Rebels for the first 6 matches and upset victories to Majan Almazan (NSW) over Olympic hopeful Louisa Ma (VIC), Tiffany Ho (NSW) over Yingzi Jiang (VIC). However, the Rebels held firm and steadied to take the final four matches convincingly.
Queensland’s second venture onto the court on day two saw them match up against the WA Wasps and take the tie 8 matches to 2 with a dominant 17-minute performance from Angela Yu against Alicia Xu, the equal fastest singles match of the entire tournament. The Wasps put up brave fights in the MS2, MD2, WD 2 and XD1, all of these going to three games. The win put Queensland in prime position to snatch the Ede Clendinnen Shield and prevent the Victorian Rebels from back to back victories.
The final day of competition with NSW, Tas, Vic and WA all playing their final ties before play offs.
Taking on the locals, NSW Thunder put together an overpowering performance against Tasmania, taking the tie 9 matches to 1, the fastest match of the tournament went down in the WD2 with the pairing of Tiffany Ho and Jennifer Tam powering through Amelia Needer and Annalea Reid in 14 minutes 21-3, 21-4. Brent Munday and Meg Graham were able to salvage a win in the final match, taking down Michael Lim and Victoria He in a three-game epic 22-20, 21-23, 21-15. With the win over Tasmania NSW Thunder locked in their third-place finish at the 2020 Clendinnen Trophy.
Similar to Queensland’s performance against WA on day two, the Rebels were able to secure their play off for the Ede Clendinnen Trophy with an 8 to 2 win over the Wasps. The Wasps were able to take victories in the MS 1 and WD 1 in an otherwise dominant Victorian performance.
The battle for fourth place was on between the host team Tasmania and the WA Wasps and in what began as a great contest looking to go down to the wire, the Wasps were able to pull away. Six of the 10 matches went through to three games and the majority ending in a final game with 3 points or less between winner and loser. The Wasps were able to take the tie in the ninth match between XD 2 pair Crystal Diep and Jason Lee defeating William Ponsonby and Leesa Grundy after a shaky start 10-21, 22-20, 21-19.
With the bottom three placings all tied up this left the two undefeated teams to take on each other for the Ede Clendinnen Shield. The defending champions Victoria had hit bumps on their journey and appeared fallible when compared to Queensland impressive run into finals day, the contest was shaping up to be one that would go down to the wire and it did not disappoint. The Victorian Rebels were able to take the first three matches, putting themselves in a strong position to have the trophy returned to Victoria, however Queensland were led strongly by consecutive six-time Oceania WS Champion and Olympic hopeful Wendy Chen. Wendy was able to take a gritty three game win against Yingzi Jiang in the WS1 (21-18, 18-21, 21-15) and pair up with Angela Yu to take the WD 2 and putting Queensland right behind Victoria 3 matches to 2. It was Victoria’s men, Nathan Tang and Peter Yan, Ming Chuen Lim alongside Captain Coach Ashwant Gobinathan, who hit back with both MD pairs taking their wins respectively over their Queensland challengers. The match in the balance for Queensland to keep their hopes alive was the WD 1, Deyanire Angulo and Jessica Lim from Queensland had a task on their hands taking on Kaitlyn Ea and Gronya Somerville from Victoria. Unfortunately for the Queensland pair they were unable to take the win, and this meant that Victoria had won the Clendinnen trophy for 2020. Queensland however would not go down without a fight and the remaining two mixed doubles matches went their way leaving the overall tie scorecard at Victoria 6 – Queensland 4.
A big congratulations to all the teams involved, another fantastic tournament with plenty on the line for all teams. The tournament could not have gone ahead without the time dedication and efforts of all the volunteers, technical officials, coaches and team managers. On behalf of the players Badminton Australia would like to extend its gratitude for the tireless efforts from all of the parties involved.
Photo Credit: Paul Scrambler, The Examiner
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