Seeded No7 in the Mixed Doubles Alpha’s Rachael Woods was to progress through the early rounds of the Swedish Youth Games in Malmo with consummate ease with her England partner William Jones beating the Spanish pair Marc Cardona/Elana Lorenzo 21-11 21-12 after just 26 minutes and then despatching Oliver Orum-Petersen/Mathilde Houe 21-13 21-19 inside 15 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.
The top seeds were Ludvig Petre Olsson and Sofia Larsson and after coming through 20-22 21-16 21-16 against a German pair Jones and Miss Woods certainly must have seen that they had a real opportunity to book a place in the semi-final and they were not too despondent as the top seeds snatched the opening set 21-17.
They responded by taking the second set 21-9 and never allowed their Swedish top seeds to gather any momentum in the deciding set and ran out victors 21-15 in a match lasting 41 minutes.
The German 8th seeds Aaron Sonnenschein/Leona Michalski had booked their place in the semi-final having knocked out the No4 seeds Brian Wassink/Charissa Kuiper but after a tentative opening set against Miss Woods and William Jones, it was the No7 seeds who took the opening set 22-20 and were never in any trouble from then, capturing the second set for only a dozen points.
Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the draw German No2 seeds, Matthias Kicklitz and Jule Petrikowski were easing their way into the final without dropping a single set.
In the final William Jones and Rachael Woods came within a whisker of snatching the opening set and were to take the second 21-18 - the same score as the first – and had spectators on the edge of their seats as they fought to wrestle the title from the Germans before relinquishing the title bid 21-16.
There was little time to sample the delights of the beautiful town of Malmo to stake a challenge for the coveted Women’s Singles title with her twin sister Rebecca.
It was Rebecca who brushed aside her opponent Laura Chillon 21-11 in the opening set before the Spanish player came back to level 21-18 and it took all the Hunter House pupil’s fighting spirit to see her through 21-18 and a clash against Italy’s Chiara Passeri her reward.
Rebecca won the opening set 22-20 but disappointingly lost the second 21-13 only to respond in typical fashion and take her into round 3 where she met the highly rated Meike Versteeg of the Netherlands who competed in the 2016 European U’15 Championships. On this occasion, Miss Versteeg, who had earlier knocked out the No8 seed was to progress with a 21-10 21-12 victory over Rebecca.
Twin sister Rachael’s first opponent as the No5 seed was Caroline Melin of Sweden and was never troubled winning 21-5 21-3 and then faced Carla Kivikko for a place in Round 3.
Again the Alpha player was to exude confidence as she brushed aside the Finnish player 21-13 21-11 and had to work really hard to knock out Chloe Mayer (Netherlands) 21-19 21-13 21-19 and was at her best against Ruth Veiguela 21-19 21-14.
With a place in the final at stake Rachael put up a tremendous fight against Denmark’s Ann-Sofie Husher Ruus only to lose 21-17 21-18 in 26 minutes of the most exciting of semi-finals and Rachael can take some satisfaction from the point that her opponent went on to take the singles title in a 49 minute final from Julie Petrikowshi.