Schools badminton: McPhersons keep it in the family with junior success

Royal High School sisters, Heather and Julie McPherson, maintained a family tradition by claiming a batch of titles at the annual Ashaway Meadowbank Junior Tournament in Edinburgh.

The girls’ mother, Hazel Murchie, won the under-15 title in the 1975 Championships – 36 years later and Heather took the under-17 and under-19 singles, Julie won the under-15 singles and the pair teamed up to take both the under-17 and under-19 girls’ doubles.

And just to complete a successful couple of days, Julie won the under-15 and under-17 mixed, and Heather took the under-18 title with Currie High School’s Jackson Higgins.

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Heather McPherson, a fifth-year pupil, has already played for Scotland at under-17 and under-19 level and she showed her potential by holding off a strong challenge from Denmark’s Isabella Sparre.

Sparre is on a year’s exchange and is attending Dalkeith St David’s High School. “Badminton is so much bigger in Denmark but we actually don’t have any schools’ competitions, so this week has been great,” said the 16-year-old.

“I took up badminton when I was six and, when I’m at home, I play five or six times a week.”

Early on, tennis and badminton vied for Heather McPherson’s affection, but when it came to a toss-up, her loyalties landed on the side of the shuttlecock sport.

“I won a few junior tennis tournaments but I decided that badminton was a more social sport and I was probably better at it,” she explained.

“Under the Badmintonscotland system, I am now coached by Julie Hogg and my big goal is to go on and play for the full Scotland side.”

Shona Whillans (Preston Lodge High School) stood out with a clean sweep in the under-13 age-group and she also won the under-15 girls’ doubles with Gemma Wright (Royal High School).

Another youngster who caught the eye was Glen Lewington, a 12-year-old from Craigmount High School, who towered over his age-group at 5’11”.

He won the under-13 singles and joined Whillans for another title in the mixed doubles event.

Lewington also reached the under-15 final, taking the first game before going down in a decider to Stewart Melville’s Douglas Brydon.