TWO teams mean double the action each week for ever-expanding Saddleworth Badminton Club.
The first match of the season was for Saddleworth ‘B’ who lost 13-5 to Bury in a clash involving two new teams to division three of the Oldham and Rochdale Badminton League.
Bury have two teams in the Whitefield League so are well versed in the competitive arena. They fielded a strong team and you could see that the partnerships for Bury had the synchronicity that the new Saddleworth ‘B’ partnerships lacked.
Russell Stellman made his first appearance for Saddleworth which was also his competitive badminton debut and Bury’s league experience was the difference between the teams and it showed in the result as they triumphed.
Next up was Saddleworth ‘A’ who beat Kingsway Phoenix ‘A’, formerly Tara Badminton, 13-5 in the second division.
Phoenix ‘A’ had lost two strong players since last season and Saddleworth A has been bolstered by the integration with Lydgate.
The first name on the scorecard for Saddleworth was debutant Waz Haq. The rest of the team seemed more confident knowing they had Waz and Saddleworth took the first two games and the early confidence helped secure a solid victory.
Last season Saddleworth lost both games to Tara.
Within a week of the ‘A’ team’s visit to Phoenix, Saddleworth ‘B’ also made their appearance there.
Thorsten Babetzki, Saddleworth ‘B’ team captain, took a slightly changed squad from their previous match.
There was another debutant in Andy Novotny while Caroline Roodhouse played for the first time in two years.
The tweaks to the team formation certainly paid off with a 12-6 victory for Saddleworth, stalwart Dan Mounsey playing a starring role.
The first home match for either Saddleworth team saw ‘A’ draw 9-9 against old foes Kashmir ‘B’.
Just like with Tara, Saddleworth lost to Kashmir twice last season. Saddleworth kept exactly the same team as the first match and, despite the consistency, they couldn’t register a victory.
Mike Ablott has gone from strength to strength partnering Waz Haq and if both can take their current form into the rest of the season then wins will surely follow.
Despite not being able to beat Kashmir and take the victory, the draw 9-9 was an improvement on two losses last season.