Denbigh School from Milton Keynes and Upton-by-Chester High School both celebrated national success at the Center Parcs National Schools Championships finals this weekend but each took a different path to glory.
The Years 10-11 finals at Sherwood Forest saw the best 18 KS4 school teams from across England do battle to be national champions and the combination of familiar finalists and debutants made for a high quality season end to Europe’s largest school badminton tournament.
Last season, Denbigh School and Upton-by-Chester High ended the 2013 Championships with very differing emotions. Whilst Upton-by-Chester finally claimed the KS3 girls title after a moving up a podium step in each of the past three seasons, Denbigh were resigned to silver in the KS4 event.
However, 2014 saw both school teams share the spotlight, claiming the national crowns in their respective Years 10-11 competitions.
Denbigh School, the 2012 winners, strode to the boys title winning 19 of their 20 group games played en route to glory.
After topping their opening group with a brace of 5-0 wins, they maintained this great form going into podium place shoot out.
Denbigh denied Trentham High School, the 2013 KS3 winners, with a 5-0 victory before defeating 2012 champions, The Elizabethen Academy from Nottinghamshire, 4-1 to secure gold.
For Denbigh, it was their fourth national crown at the Center Parcs Nationals Schools Championships in five years and keeps the KS4 boys title in Buckinghamshire for the fourth year running.
It was a result that also saw The Elizabethan Academy win silver for the second season running whilst Trentham High won bronze.
Whilst Denbigh’s charge was relentless, Upton-by-Chester High School were crowned girls team champions in the most dramatic of circumstances. The returning KS3 champions made up of Year 10 pupils playing a year young, claimed the national title on points difference after the girls event ended in a 3-way tie for the title.
Upton-by-Chester joined other opening group winners Bournemouth Collegiate and Wallington High School for Girls in the tussle for top spot.
Wallington enjoyed a 3-2 win over Bournemouth Collegiate whilst Upton inflicted defeat on Wallington to the same scoreline. However there was to be a real twist in events with Bournemouth Collegiate then stunning Upton with a 3-2 win of their own.
It meant that victory was sealed by the narrowest of margins as Upton took gold virtue of a +24 points difference, leaving Bournemouth to collect silver (-1) with bronze going to Wallington (-23).
With over 6,400 school teams representing over 1,500 secondary schools in England entering the Championships this season, all finalists should be proud of their achievements in reaching the national finals.
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