Belton teenager Devon is one of the rising stars of badminton

Norfolk's Devon Minnis had firmly established herself as one of the top junior badminton prospects in the country.

The county's only representative in last weekend's Under-15 National Championships, the Belton youngster made her mark by progressing all the way to the singles final and doubles semi-finals.

The acheivements of the Hobart High School pupil followed a highly successful season in which she represented England in both the Danish Cup and the Eight Nations Event in Germany, and achieved highly in all her age group tournaments.

Seeded � in the singles event, she progressed to Sunday's semi-finals with relative ease, defeating all four opponents in two ends, with her confidence improving with each round.

Meanwhile, she and Derbyshire's Sophie Brealey, also justified their � seeding by reaching the last four.


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Her singles semi-final opponent was the highly-talented Ira Banerjee, an opponent she had never taken as much as a set off.

It was not a great surprise when she found herself 11-1 down, but she played herself back into the match, eventually forcing her opponent to make errors.

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Despite losing the first end Minnis hit back saw the game out in three sets to set up a final against England number one Jessica Pugh.

But first she was back on court for the doubles semi-final, where despite a spirited fight, she and Brealey lost to number two seeds Amy George and Nicola Gresty in two close ends.

In the singles final Minnis faced another formidable opponent in Jessica Pugh, a patient player who uses highly deceptive shots to move her opponent all over the court, waiting patiently for an opening in which to hit a winner.

Minnis did not disappoint in a high quality match, using her speed to retrieve some world class shots from her opponent and hitting some nice winners herself. But Pugh's experience enabled her to keep her nose just ahead when it mattered and she justified her top seeding by winning in two ends – leaving Minnis the considerable consolation of a national silver and bronze medalist.

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