Published by Horrocks, Brian (SI/SP), Thursday, December 6, 2018

We are all aware of the trends in the difficulties we face operating a Badminton League. Clubs are declining, Teams are declining,  Fewer players are playing, Ladies in particular are scarce, not enough Juniors coming in to the game etc etc. it is a good tale of woe and the exec do look into these things as do CCBA and Badminton England. The patterns are the same all over.


One particular issue we felt we needed to examine was the difficulty faced by clubs with very few Ladies, but plenty of Gents wishing to play mixed. We have, of course, revised the Ladies league format recently with fingers crossed, some success, and Seven Sisters became a joint venture between two clubs. Both very practical responses to fewer ladies playing. We face similar dilemmas in the Mixed league. We have some clubs who would love to play more mixed but they cannot support it with the low numbers of ladies available to them. The Mixed league is still very much loved by those clubs who can support it. In many leagues up and down the land a true mixed format ( 3 men 3 ladies)  is disappearing in favour of a hybrid format depending on fewer ladies. Here in Crewe and District we undertook to run a trial of a different mixed format.


Recently Welsh Row and Goostrey staged a trial match using a new format. Each team requires 4 men and 2 ladies. The format involved the usual 9 events (18 games to 21 points) but with a make-up of 4 mens, 4 mixed and 1 ladies. The match was played out and a full record of the score recorded as usual. Afterwards we canvassed the players opinions of the format. In general there was much to be liked. Clearly this is a major change so some players may have misgivings but on the whole the trial was thought to be positive. The next stage is to re-run the trial with the potential of some minor adjustments to playing order. Welsh Row and Northwich have been asked to carry this out, however it is not formal, so any player from any club could participate. If any other clubs would like to participate in a trial of the format please let us know and we can help put it on. The suggestion is you use normal club nights to do this but there is no reason why you couldn’t arrange a separate event.


Dependent on the outcome we may be in a position to propose a way forward. It is far too early to conclude what effect it might have on our current league. In the fullness of time it could replace what we do now, or it could run alongside, or potentially be integrated. There are many possibilities. The basic problem will remain unless we try something different. So, there are a number of ways you could join in the debate or the research


Get involved in the second trial event either actively as a player or as an observer – we suggest contacting Ruth Raiswell or Tony Marks as a start point

Discuss it at your club to get some opinion

Try it out in your club if you can get 8 men and 4 ladies at a club night – sample score sheet attached

Speak to any of the participants so far, ask anyone you see from Welsh Row or Goostrey if you play against them

Speak to any member of the exec


We will open the topic up again in the New Year with a view to having something concrete to either raise as a proposal or as a discussion for the next AGM