Friends’ school has a strong reputation for badminton. Teams are entered in Ulster Schools’ competitions with both boys and girls playing in Year 8, Minor, Junior and Senior League and Cup competitions.
Eight teams were entered in the league and cup. Year 8, minor and senior ‘A’ teams played in both competitions while a junior cup team and senior ‘B’ league also competed.
The year 8 team, Rachel Barnes, Olivia Reid, Alice Murphy and Liz Gunning cruised through their events winning all matches. In the league, played before Christmas they won their section at the ‘round robin’ tournament to qualify for the final where they also finished top. In the cup the girls’ defeated Banbridge Academy and Hunterhouse College 6-0 to qualify for the Ulster Final. The team again proved too strong for their opposition notching up another 6-0 against Wallace. Very strong performances throughout the season came from Rachel Barnes and Olivia Reid. The team enjoyed their matches and gained experience for the years to come.
The minor team, Rachel Mason, Lisa Collim, Anna McFarlane and Hannah Agnew also had a very successful season reaching the Ulster Finals in both competitions. The girls won four out of their five league matches 6-0. The league semi-final against Coleraine High School was a tight affair ending in a 3-3 draw with Friends’ winning by one set. In the final the team had a very hard fought match with Wallace also ending in a 3-3 draw and six sets each. Unfortunately this time the girls lost by six points. In the cup the team had another 6-0 victory over Sullivan but then had to face Wallace in the semi-final. This was another tense match ending 3-3 but Wallace had the extra set to take them to the final.
The junior cup team, Coral Armstrong, Samruddhi Joshi, Sophie Reid and Emma Gordon travelled to Coleraine but lost 4-2 in a keenly contested match.
The senior ‘A’ team, Caroline Black, Ruth Roddis, Rachel Orr and Kirsty Walker were hoping to make both league and cup finals for the seventh year in a row. The girls recorded 6-0 victories over Banbridge Academy, Coleraine High, Friends’ ‘B’, Royal & Prior, Sullivan and Wallace to take them to finals day. In the cup final another 6-0 was notched up against Coleraine who are demoralised losing to the Friends’ team every year.
Friends ‘B’, Keady Smith, Courtney Allister, Coral Armstrong and Samruddhi Joshi performed well throughout the season to reach the final of the league but the ‘A’ team proved too strong for them, recording another 6-0 win.
The senior girls qualified for the All Ireland Finals for the sixth year in a row having lifted the cup the other five. Unfortunately Rachel Orr missed her last final through illness but Courtney Allister was a very able substitute. The team again proved too strong for the opposition defeating St Vincent’s, Dundalk and Coaliste Treasa, Kanturk 6-0. These girls are obviously very talented and have all represented Ulster and Ireland under age teams. What they have achieved in school badminton is tremendous!
Full colour redates to Caroline Black, Ruth Roddis, Rachel Orr and Kirsty Walker. Full colours were awarded to Keady Smith and half colours to Courtney Allister.
The following girls achieved representative honours;
Lisa Collim Ulster U13
Rachel Barnes and Rachel Mason Ulster and Irish U13
Rachel Orr and Caroline Black Ulster SeniorKeady Smith Irish U17 and Ulster Senior