Mackays are unstoppable in Caithness championships
Caithness Badminton Association hosted the second of its annual championships at the East Caithness Community Facility in Wick.
A good entry from both juniors and seniors meant there were many games to get through in the six-hour period, with a demanding schedule for all players.
A strong entry in the men’s singles saw it played in a knockout format with a plate competition which gave the first-round losers more games and a chance of some silverware.
The previous weekend's restricted championships winner, Mark McCoustra, had the game of the day against Wick player Iain Nicolson. This marathon three-set match saw Iain come out on top, winning 21-17, 10-21, 21-14, to set up a semi-final clash against top seed Mark Mackay.
Nicolson’s legs had not quite recovered from his previous round and it was Mackay who secured his spot in the final.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Martyn Cook had a victory over Wick's Euan Jappy to secure his place in the final.
Cook fought hard but Mackay's form continued from his win at the Glasgow masters to take the title 21-8, 21-12.
The plate final was played between Mark McCoustra and Sean Campbell. Another tight three-set match for McCoustra saw him claim victory by 21-16, 16-21, 21-16.
The ladies' singles was played with two round-robin tables. The restricted winner, Morven Coghill, continued her great form from the previous weekend as she beat Lauren Gunn 21-19, 21-16 to go through to the final against defending champion Shona Mackay, who claimed the top spot in group two.
Coghill showed signs of tired legs from her group games and Mackay gave her no opportunity to rest. She took the title in two sets, 21-10, 21-5.
An excellent entry in the men’s doubles saw two groups of four pairs take part with some closely contested games in both groups. Mention must go to the young junior pairing Will Oag and Allan Robertshaw, who put up great fights in all their games and showed that Caithness badminton has a strong future.
Martyn Cook teamed up with young Mark McCoustra for the day and they topped group two convincingly to set a meeting against top seeds and defending champions Mark Mackay and Sam Campbell. They had a tougher route to the final with a three-setter against John Durrand and Iain Nicolson, losing the first set 21-12 before winning the remaining two sets 21-8, 21-9.
The final saw Mark and Sam take control from the beginning and regain their title by 21-10, 21-8.
The ladies' doubles saw five strong pairings which resulted in keenly contested games in the round-robin table.
Beckie Gunn and Morven Coghill teamed up and showed their strength as a pairing, winning all their group games except for one against Carole Begg and Shona Mackay who had also won all their other games in the group. The pair gave the top seeds a fright, taking the opening set 21-19 before Mackay and Begg’s experience began to show and they won the next two sets comfortably – 21-13, 21-8 – to take the ladies' doubles title again.
Rounding off the day was the mixed competition. A good entry saw the mixed being run in a knockout format with numerous strong pairings throughout the draw.
Mr and Mrs Mackay teamed up for the mixed competition and were unstoppable as they made their way to the final to meet Martyn Cook and Carole Begg, who had also shown their top form to smoothly secure their place in the final.
After some fantastic badminton and great rallies, it was the Mackays who took the title for the 10th year running by 21-15, 21-10.
The mixed also saw a plate competition with Mark McCoustra and Sarah Mackenzie meeting Ashley McLean and James Falconer. Ashley and James took home the silverware with a 21-18, 21-13 victory.
Caithness Badminton Association was grateful to the staff at the East Caithness Community Facility for their patience in allowing the final games to be completed.
The next event is the return leg of the annual inter-county challenge against Orkney. The teams will travel over on Saturday, February 15, hoping to return with both trophies.