Jude Blackman, Harry Morgan, Zach Russ, Elysia Taylor and Owen West-Bourne travelled to Redbridge Leisure Centre, Essex, to play in the BE U15 Nationals held on 28th and 29th March, 2015.
Zach Russ teamed up with Grace King in the Mixed Doubles event. Seeded number two, the pair opened their campaign with a straightforward 21-7 21-9 victory over Jamie Cackett and Natalia Mitchell.
In the second round Zach and Grace then faced fellow Performance Centre player Jude Blackman and his partner, Natasha Lado. Zach and Grace eased to a comfortable 21-12 21-16 victory to proceed to the quarter-final.
The quarter-final brought a match against another Performance Centre player, Elysia Taylor, and her partner, William Jones. Seeded five of eight, Elyisa and William fought hard in the first game, narrowly losing 21-19. Zach and Grace then closed out the match with a 21-14 win in the second.
A serious injury to Grace meant that the pair were unable to play their semi-final against the three of four seeds, Rory Easton and Helen Kelly. Rory and Helen received a walkover, leaving Zach and Grace with frustrating bronze medals.
Seeded number one in the Boys’ Singles event, Zach topped his qualifying box with a 21-6 21-7 victory over James Moreton-Smith and a 21-4 21-6 victory over Raymon Ramakrishnan.
The number one seeding earned Zach a bye through round one of the knockout stages.
In round two he faced Samuel Williams. Zach raced to a 21-7 21-8 victory to earn a place in the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals brought a match against the five of eight seed, Oliver Chapman. Zach maintained his form and won in straight games 21-13 21-7 to set up a semi-final showdown against the three of four seed, Rory Easton.
Zach controlled the match against Rory, moving to a 21-11 21-16 victory and securing a place in the final.
Zach’s opponent in the final was the number two seed, Harry Huang. Zach raced to a 21-13 win in the first game. The second game was much tighter, with Zach eventually edging it 25-23 to win the gold medal and the national singles title.
Zach teamed up with Luke Donegan in the Boys’ Doubles event, and the pair were seeded three of four.
Zach and Luke won their qualifying box with a 21-13 21-11 victory over Joshlee Bong and Jack Tierney, and a 21-6 21-5 victory over Nikhil Kalapala and James Moreton-Smith.
A quarter-final match against Elliot Dyer and Mark Pearson was comfortably handled with a 21-6 21-6 victory.
This set up a semi-final against the number one seeds, Rory Easton and Jack Macgregor. Zach and Luke defied the seedings to win in straight games 21-17 21-11 and earn a place in the final.
The final brought what, on paper, looked to be another tough match against the number two seeds, Harry Huang and Ethan Van Leeuwen. Zach and Luke maintained their composure and form to win in straight games 21-15 21-16 to secure the gold medals and Zach’s second national title.
Congratulations to Zach from all at the Performance Centre on an outstanding performance in winning the singles and doubles U15 National Championship gold medals and mixed U15 National Championship bronze medal.
Well done to all of the other Performance Centre players who worked all season long to earn a place and a chance to compete in the U15 National Championships.
Full details of the tournament can be found on the Badminton England results site.