Mar 2015 - Naples badminton visit to Darlington and Sheffield

Tuesday 31st Mar 2015

Hummersknott Badminton Club (HBC) continues to pursue positive International links. At the end of March they hosted a 9 team tournament in Sheffield. This was thanks to funding by "The Key-your potential unlocked" an organisation based in Gateshead and supporting young people across the area. Teams from HBC, Polam Hall School (Darlington), Phoenix BC (Wolsingham), Oxfordshire BA, Worksop Falcons, Mansfield Junior BC, Chesterfield Juniors, Sheffield Juniors and Millennio APD (Cercola, Naples,Italy) were involved. 

During HBC's Italian tour last July one match was in Cercola, Naples, and it was these players led by Team Manager Domenico Romano and his wife Rita who came for the tournament. Naples was visited during the trip which included the signing of a Town Friendship Agreement between Bracciano, Rome and Darlington. Having played in 19 countries, this is the first time HBC have been able to host a return visit.

467 games of badminton were completed and 105 different players went on court during the two day event on 29th and 30th March. Certificates were given to each player with their name, and on the back was a personally signed letter from HRH The Duke of York, who is Patron of Badminton England.. The players appreciated this personal support from Prince Andrew.

On Monday 30th The Cercola players then travelled to Darlington for 2 nights and enjoyed a superb Mayoral Reception at the Town Hall. The afternoon was spent in Durham before returning to Darlington for a meal at Uno Momento, an Italian restaurant where fluent Italian is spoken. The rest of the evening was spent at the Mayor's Mandolin concert at Carmel College, provided by the Mülheim Mandolin Orchestra (MZO), to complete another international friendship link.

Next day seven of the HBC Club travelled with the Italians to Kings Cross for two days sightseeing. Included was also a match with Alexandra Park Schoolwhere the locals provided 16 players to compete against the Anglo-Italian team.

It is hoped that with some help from Erasmus Plus European funding it will be possible to meet up again in Cercola, and once more in Darlington with several teams similar to this Italian one.

Richard Smith (HBC Team Vice Captain) said, "From what I have heard from others and what I think personally, the event on the whole was a massive success. Many, including myself, are eagerly anticipating the next event of its kind. Thanks to The-Key we were able to spark what I see as the beginning of junior national badminton tournaments for the purpose of friendship amongst youths of the Nation".

Report by Philip Boyle.

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