Falcons still flying high with county and national glory after 20 years of badminton

Worksop Falcons Badminton club members with Coaches Terry Gilham and Richard Gilham
Worksop Falcons Badminton club members with Coaches Terry Gilham and Richard Gilham

Worksop Falcons Junior Badminton Club have been plying their trade in the town for 20 years.

Terry Gilham, club chairman, has been there since the very start in 1995, and today runs the club alongside his son Richard, who is a level 2 qualified head coach.

Harry Wicks Richard Gilham (head coach) Terry Gilham (coach) and James Gilham all have been involved with Worksop falcons for many years

Harry Wicks Richard Gilham (head coach) Terry Gilham (coach) and James Gilham all have been involved with Worksop falcons for many years

In their two decades of existence, the Falcons have produced county and national level players and a number of qualified coaches.

And most recently, they’ve tasted on court success by winning the Y11/12 Boys Nottinghamshire Junior Badminton League – for the fifth consecutive year.

The Y7/8 mixed team have also been victorious in 2015.

Club member Ellie Wheatley, a Falcon since the tender age of eight, added a national title, becoming a Badminton England Under 15 doubles champion.

And four of her clubmates were part of the Outwood Academy Valley team who finished seventh in last year’s Center Parcs National Schools Badminton Championship – namely Niall Wagstaff, Nathan Langley, Adam Hamilton and Owen Hannaby.

Their achievement was recognised with the Schools Team of the Year prize at the Bassetlaw Sports Awards, where the Falcons were also nominated for the Community Sports Team award.

Club secretary Penny Miller has been involved for six years and while the tournament wins are obviously important, she says the club’s family feel is the jewel in their crown.

“I have been secretary at the club since 2009 and what always shines through is how everyone gets along, how the ages and abilities all mix well together, their good sportsmanship, and how much they all enjoy playing badminton under the care of Terry Richard and the other coaches,” she said.

“We are a big family really and love the fact that parents and players all get involved in the running of the club and giving it such excellent support throughout the year.

“It is a great thing to be part of.”

The club caters for youngsters aged eight to 19, with coaching sessions every Saturday throughout the year at Worksop Leisure Centre on Valley Road.

Further development of the more advanced players takes place on Monday evenings.

Although the Falcons have capacity for 50 members, there’s a small waiting list to join, with club places in demand.

A Premier Badminton England Club, and accredited with Club Mark, they play in the Notts Junior Badminton League, with members taking part in various tournaments around the country.

Once they’ve been through the club’s development scheme, players often stay involved as coaches.

Miller said: “In recent years we have been able to put several of our players through coach training and now have an additional six level 1 qualified coaches and three level 2 coaches.

“This has been excellent for the club and a great way for these members to continue to be involved and pass on their skills and experience to the younger players coming through.

“We are proud that many of our older members continue to return to us to play and keep in touch with the club even if they have moved onto to university.

“When young people join us they seem to stay for a long time and lots of the 17 and 18 year olds in the club have been with us since the age of eight, which is fantastic.”

The Falcons are planning to celebrate their 20th anniversary all year, with a variety of events.

Last weekend saw their annual Generation Tournament, with members pairing up with relatives from another generation.

Former Falcons were invited back, and memorabilia from throughout their 20 years of sport was on display.

A total of 38 pairs took part in the tournament.

Results

Y7/8 boys winners: Harrison Wright and dad, runners-up James Day and Josh Allan.

Y7/8 girls winners: Louise and Matthew Edmondson, runners-up Rebecca Edmondson and dad.

Y9/10 boys winners: Bradley and Josh Smith, runners-up Adam Hamilton and dad.

Y9/10 girls winners: Megan Edwards & Richard Gilham, runners-up Olivia Hurt and Harry Wicks.

Y11/12 winners: Steven Fessey and Richard Gilham, runners-up Catherine Elliott and Lee.