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Another treble for Mackay in Scottish masters championships

By Iain Grant

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Mark Mackay returned with three more titles from the two-day competition in Perth.
Mark Mackay returned with three more titles from the two-day competition in Perth.

Far north badminton ace Mark Mackay again had the Midas touch as he starred at the Scottish National Masters Championships in Perth.

The 48-year-old farmer from Dunnet returned with three titles to repeat the feat he pulled off at last year's event with his wife Shona.

She was unable to take part as she is rehabilitating from knee surgery following a nasty injury she sustained while representing her native Shetland at the International Island Games in Guernsey during the summer.

Mark was part of a Caithness contingent that picked up a total of seven medals at the age-group competition held over two days in UHI Perth.

Mark won all his matches and dropped just one set in completing another treble.

In the pool games in the 45-50 singles, he defeated Glasgow's Ashraf Annas 21-3, 21-5 and Colin Swan (Lothian) 21-9, 21-10.

He then justified his top seeding as he saw off Neil Whyte, from Forres, 21-12,12-10 in the final.

He and long-time level doubles partner Craig Lamb, from Haddington, were top ranked in the 45-50 age group.

They were not stretched in their pool where they scored straight-sets wins over Swan and Lothian team-mate Steven Fraser and central belt-based Kumar Paul Bishwajit and Moloy Sarkar.

In the final, Mackay and Lamb outgunned Whyte and Adam Wesley (Glasgow) 21-5, 22-13.

Mark paired up for the first time with West of Scotland's Frances McLure in the mixed where they entered the 35-40 age group, played on a round-robin basis.

They opened with a routine 21-9, 21-14 victory over Great Glen duo Steven MacGregor and Shona Ruesch.

They then had a walkover when Humayun Rashid (Midland) and Fiona Simpson (Lothian) pulled out through injury.

In what turned out to be the gold medal decider, they had a real humdinger against Lothian duo Ewan Brunton and Kathryn McGregor.

After prevailing 21-9 in the first set, they perhaps thought it would be a straightforward affair. But Brunton and McGregor battled back to take the second 21-18 and were always in the decider before losing out 21-18.

Mark said: "It was a really good match and they definitely stretched us. We won the first set pretty easily but the next two were very close.

"We were never behind in the third but we were never comfortable."

Elsewhere, Wick's John Durrand won silver in the 35-40 men's singles; Carole Begg, Thurso, won silver in the 45-50 mixed with Orkney's Eoin Ballantine; Jane Grant, Thurso, won silver in the 65-70 women's doubles with Jill Gladwin Greig (Lothian); and Sam Campbell, Wick, won bronze in the 65-70 men's doubles with John McCulloch (Culbokie).

Mark Mackay is among a handful of Caithness players travelling to Newcastle this weekend to take part in the Northumberland Open.

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