SE­NIORS’ SUC­CESS

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page - BRIT­TANY BAKER

"No the trick is you just don't stop play­ing and keep re­ally fit."

Val Cleaver

The Taranaki Bad­minton Su­per-Veterans team play hours and hours of bad­minton - which at their age can be hard on the body.

‘‘The trick is pain re­lief,’’ Val Cleaver joked.

‘‘No the trick is you just don’t stop play­ing and keep re­ally fit.’’

Ch­eryl Lawrence, Laurel Hatchard, El­iz­a­beth Ritchie, Cleaver, Steven Saul, Frank Ver­steeg and Gra­ham Feist are avid play­ers of the sport, tak­ing out the Bad­minton New Zealand 2017 North Is­land Di­vi­sion One Su­per-Veterans Inter-As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tion in Septem­ber.

The team of 65+ sim­ply love the game as they said, in uni­son, they have played ‘‘for­ever’’.

Bad­minton matches last 20 min­utes to more than an hour and re­quire a strong heart and quick re­flexes. Taranaki Bad­minton play­ers took out wins through­out the sea­son, which goes from May to Septem­ber.

The New Zealand Masters Na­tional Bad­minton cham­pi­onships, held in Dunedin last month, saw a heap of awards come back to Taranaki.

Cleaver won four medals in the 65+ and 70+ Mens and Mixed Dou­bles.

Lawrence also took four top spots in 65+ and 70+ Womens and Mixed Dou­bles.

And then Hatchard walked away with two medals in the 65+ and 70+ Womens Dou­bles, while play­ers Denise Dar­ling and Tanya Rid­dick took out the 45+ Womens Dou­bles, and Trent Rid­dick won the 35+ Mens Sin­gles and again in the 40+ Mixed Dou­bles.

Cleaver and his bad­minton bud­dies stood proud next to the col­lec­tion of shin­ing awards.

‘‘Taranaki has had an ex­cep­tional year,’’ he said.

And he is quite right be­cause ear­lier in April, Rid­dick, Dar­ling, Cleaver and Lawrence brought home gold in two cat­e­gories in the World Mas­ter Games, while Hatchard and Lawrence brought back bronze in another two cat­e­gories.

While a sea­son full of wins has put a pep in their steps, Dar­ling said the sport means more than bring­ing home a tro­phy.

‘‘There’s great com­rade­ship, and not with just the pro­vin­cial play­ers here but all the play­ers across the North Is­land.’’

Lawrence, who is the Su­per-Vet team cap­tain, said the sport also makes last­ing re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple from around the coun­try.

‘‘There’s some pretty old friend­ships in this,’’ she said.

PHOTO: GRANT MATTHEW/STUFF

Bad­minton play­ers Trent Rid­dick, Tanya Rid­dick, Ch­eryl Lawrence, Denise Dar­ling, El­iz­a­beth Ritchie, Frank Ver­steeg and Val Cleaver.

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