The Senior County Championships returned over the weekend as Badminton England’s premier team competition kicked-off a new season.
110 teams competed across 14 venues over both Saturday and Sunday, with any January blues blown away by some first-class on-court competition.
In the Premiership, eight of the ten teams were in action other than Leinster, who missed out due to travel restrictions from Ireland and Avon, due to fixture complications.
Middlesex and Surrey went straight to the top of the table after excellent starts to the New Year. Middlesex edged a tight contest with Hampshire 6-5 after a comprehensive 11-0 win over Sussex the day before.
Surrey were also pushed hard by Hampshire, winning 7-4, before a 10-1 win over Sussex, who endured a difficult return to the tournament.
Surrey completed their weekend with a 7-4 defeat to Hertfordshire, meaning that Middlesex top the table with 25 points.
In terms of the top scoring individual players, Dinuka Karunaratne won 8 of his 9 games for high-flying Middlesex, helping his county to an excellent weekend.
Hertfordshire’s Leona Lee also starred, managing to maintain a 100% winning record throughout the weekend.
Lee produced a clean sweep of six wins from her six matches on her first team debut, losing just one set along the way.
Will Jones also managed this feat, leading the way for second placed Surrey.
Hertfordshire shuttler (and Lee’s teammate) Natalie Barton was another who produced a flawless weekend.
Not only did Barton win all five of her matches, she managed to do so without dropping a single set in the process.
Her Hertfordshire team ended the weekend third in the standings with 19 points, just behind Middlesex and Surrey, with 25 and 21 points respectively.
The Premiership of the Senior County Championship returns next month over the weekend of February 12-13, when Leinster and Avon will hope to make their bow in the competition.
The latest standings, results and player statistics can be seen here.