Locals learn from ‘legend’ as ex-England captain visits

Bridlington players with Anthony Clarke

Bridlington players with Anthony Clarke

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Local badminton players were given a masterclass by former England captain Anthony Clarke at Bridlington’s new leisure centre.

The day after Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms visited to officially open the building, Clarke, who won 106 England caps, was in town to pass on tips to local league players.

Anthony Clarke demonstrates his defence against Niall Howard, Ash Kelly, Alex Shipley and  Paul Robinson

Anthony Clarke demonstrates his defence against Niall Howard, Ash Kelly, Alex Shipley and Paul Robinson

A former world number four in men’s doubles and number five in mixed doubles, Clarke was England captain for eight years.

Badminton development officer Paul Robinson said: “He was amazing. He played in matches with and against local players.

“His skill was unbelievable and deception on court was the best I have ever seen or played against. His champagne moment was when he played with Wendy Goode against my wife, Jo Robinson, and Tia Lee.

“He played a shot which Tia and Jo went left for, and the people watching, myself included, looked left for, only for the shuttle to go on the right side of the court.”

Clarke stayed on court for three hours and the last 45 minutes were spent coaching all the local players who were there.

Robinson said: “What an awesome experience it was for all of us to see his smash, his well-renowned stop drop shot, his rock-like defence and to finish off some trick shots, which were totally amazing.

“More than 40 players attended and every single one of them enjoyed the event. Not only is he a badminton legend, he is an really nice man who spent time with young players and some not so young.

“He wanted to inspire with his badminton knowledge and his coaching methods and he certainly did that. I have been playing 40 years and I can honestly say It was a privilege to be on the same court as Anthony Clark.

“Anthony has sent me a text and an email to say he had an awesome time at Bridlington and wished us as a badminton association all the best. One day in the future he would like to return to Bridlington.”