Devon flying high at the Nationals

Devon Minnis returned to Norfolk on the evening of Sunday 4th March having truly left her mark as one of the best players in the country for her U15 age group. As the counties only representative in this weekend’s U15 National Championships she flew the flag high progressing all the way to
the Singles Final and Doubles Semi Final. Following on from a highly successful season where she has represented England in two prestigious tournaments, the Danish Cup and the 8 Nations Event in Germany, as well as achieved highly in all her age group tournaments, it was imperative she
followed this up with a solid performance at this tournament.

Seeded ¾ in the singles event, despite the pressure that came with this, she progressed through to the Semi Finals, which was to be played on Sunday, with relative ease. She defeated four opponents on the way, all in two ends, with her confidence improving through each round. And as an added bonus, Devon and her doubles partner from Derbyshire, Sophie Brealey, also seeded ¾, justified their seeding by booking their place in the
Semi Finals too.

Despite a long Saturday Minnis returned to the hall on Sunday rejuvenated and raring to get on for her singles Semi-Final. Her opponent however, was the highly talented Ira banerjee, an opponent that Minnis had not only never beaten, but had also never taken a set off. It was not overly
surprising then that during the early stages of the match Minnis found herself 11-1 down. Her never say die attitude remained though and she played herself into the match, forcing her opponent to play more and more shots per rally and ultimately make errors. Despite losing the first end Minnis
was not fazed by her opponent or the occasion and saw the game out in three sets to set up a Final against the current England number 1 Jessica Pugh. But before the eagerly awaited final Minnis was back on court for her doubles Semi Final, where unfortunately despite a spirited fight, her and her partner went down to the number two seeds Amy George and Nicola Gresty in two close ends.

The Singles Final was always going to be a tough task against a formidable opponent in Jessica Pugh. Jessica is a patient player who uses highly deceptive shots to move her opponent all over the court, waiting patiently for an opening in which to hit a winner. Minnis did not disappoint in a final that produced some high quality badminton and for much of the game used her movement and speed to retrieve world class shots from her opponent and also at times was able to open up Pugh herself to hit some nice winners. Minnis was able to stick with her opponent for long periods of the game, but Jessica’s superior experience during key points enabled her to keep her nose just ahead when it mattered and she eventually justified her number 1 seeding winning in two ends.

For Minnis, a National Silver and Bronze Medallist at these Championships, provides further evidence she is a force to be reckoned with and a bright star of English badminton.

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Devon Minnis at the U15 Nationals