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A battling Au Yeung goes close to taking Golden opportunity; BADMINTON.

THE annual Northumberland Championships, part of the Badminton England Senior Gold Circuit, saw 50 of the country's best players on the circuit congregate at the Tyneside Badminton Centre.

The men's singles entry featured 10 of the top 30 in the domestic rankings and was bolstered this year by the presence of the top two in the Scottish domestic rankings in Matthew Carder and Ben Torrance.

The men's singles was weakened by the absence through injury of both top seed Joel Douse and the fifth seed and defending champion James Farmer.

This offered an opportunity to progress in the top quarter of the draw - and Newcastle University's Josh Au Yeung seized his chance Au Yeung capitalised on an excellent first-round win over Yorkshire's Martin Drabble - 28-26 in the third - by making the semi-final.

Second seed Josh Young from Teesside made it through without the loss of a set, as did Torrance.

However, Carder was pushed to a third set in the quarter-final by Warwickshire's Andy Wainwright before also justifying his seeding.

Northumberland's young guns also put up a good show.

Garrylee McMullen won his opener before losing a tight opening set to Carder 21-19 before the Scot imposed himself in the second.

Philip Pahatouridis put in an excellent performance against seventh seed Patrick Adair - ranked 22 in the country. He took the opening set 21-15 before Adair levelled 21-18 to take it into a decider which was nip and tuck throughout until a good crosscourt forehand kill took Pahatouridis to match point at 20-18.

Adair dug deep though to level at 20-20 and the chance was gone as he clinched it 23-21.

The semi-final saw Yeung up against Torrance, who took the opening set to 13.

A spirited effort in the second saw Yeung make a good start to lead 5-2 - only to be pegged back by the Scot who led 11-8 at the interval.

Back came Yeung with another burst of attacking play and he led 14-11 before Torrance gradually assumed control to take the set to 17 - and with it the match. Young had meanwhile taken the opening set 21-19 against Carder but the Scot was not to be denied, imperturbably gaining control to take the next two sets 14 and 12.

The final was to follow a similar pattern with Torrance taking the opener before Carder again rallied to take the deciding third set comfortably 21-12.

The ladies' singles saw top seed Grace King retire having turned an ankle in the third set of her semi-final against Julie MacPherson from Lothian, who went on to defeat Surrey's HelenDekker in the final.

The women's doubles was also dominated by the Scots but MacPherson, partnered by Glasgow's Eleanor O'Donnell, could not make it a double - losing out to fellow Scots Rebekka Findlay and Kirsten Geals in two sets.

The men's doubles featured arguably the best game of the tournament when Drabble and Durham University's Mike Roe just edged Carder and Torrance 21-19 in the third set in the semi-final.

The Scots were to gain revenge in the final, however, Josh Neil and Alex Dunn combining well while Drabble and Roe could not maintain their form of the previous day, going down in two sets.

The mixed saw Neil and Findlay each complete a double of doubles victories and they took it without the loss of a set. FINAL RESULTS - men's singles: Matthew Carder (Lothian) beat Ben Torrance (Glasgow) 17-21,21-16, 21-12. Ladies' singles: Julie MacPherson (Lothian) beat Helena Dekker (Surrey) 21-11,21-14.

Men's doubles: Alex Dunn (Lanarkshire) and Josh Neil (Glasgow) beat Martin Drabble (Yorkshire) and Mike Roe (Cheshire) 21-18,21-7. Ladies' doubles: Rebekka Findlay (Glasgow) and Kirsten Geals (Lanarkshire) beat Julie MacPherson (Lothian) and Eleanor O'Donnell (Glasgow) 21-12, 21-8. Mixed doubles: Josh Neil (Glasgow) and Rebekka Findlay (Glasgow) beat Martin Drabble (Yorks) and Kirsten Geals(Lanarkshire) 21-17,21-11.

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Northumberland's Josh Au Yeung
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 27, 2016
Words:645
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