BADMINTON: Dramatic Christmas finale at Alpha club

Young badminton prospect Stuart McCollam
Young badminton prospect Stuart McCollam
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A thrilling three-set final of the Under 15 Mixed Doubles brought the curtain down on the 51st Alpha Christmas tournament at the Lisburn venue.

And it was a competition which 10-year-old Stuart McCollam from Moira Primary School will never forget.

Conor Galway and Harmonie Ferguson had lost the opening set to Nathan Cowan and Alex Chan-Taylor 21-18 with little to separate the pairs but came back to take the final into the deciding set 21-18, although neither partnership could gain a real advantage.

Just when it looked as if Cowan and Chan-Taylor were going to claim the title, Galway and Ferguson rallied to win out 24-22.

With events at Under 9, Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 level it was McCollam who was to suffer the disappointment of losing to his doubles partner Matthew Cheung in the semi-final of the Under 13 Boys Singles 21-18, with Jack Armstrong going on to lift that title 21-10 21-15 from Cheung.

However, McCollam came back to beat Cheung in the final of the Under 11 Boys Singles.

Cheung was 11-7 down at the break and had a set point at 20-17, but couldn’t see it out and it was McCollam who could have gone one set up at 24-23 before Cheung took the set 27-25.

The Moira schoolboy raced to victory in the second set 21-17 and was in a commanding position with a lead of 8-4 when Cheung conceded the game due to an ankle injury, giving McCollam his first victory over his Alpha team-mate and doubles partner.

Sarah Cherry lifted both the Under 13 and Under 15 Girls Singles titles, recording a 21-18 21-16 victory over Harmonie Ferguson (Under 13) and Megan Ferguson 21-18 21-14 (Under 15).

In the Under 13 age group the singles finalists proved too strong for Laura Geddis and Eimear McKenna 21-13 21-16, while Jack Armstrong teamed up with Sarah Cherry to win the mixed doubles, beating josh Armstrong and Harmonie Ferguson in the Mixed Doubles Final 21-19 21-17.

Thomas Cherry was a double winner at Under 15 when he defeated Peter Murphy 23-21 28-26 in the Boys Singles and partnered Olie Patterson to lift the Boys Doubles title defeating Peter Murphy and Owen McClure in the final.