Double international prospects beckon Felicity

AARON GOILE
Last updated 05:00 09/05/2012
Felicity Leydon-Davis
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ
TALENTED SPORTSWOMAN: Felicity Leydon-Davis looks set to excel on both badminton court and cricket pitch.

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Potential White Ferns cricketer Felicity Leydon-Davis is continuing her progress towards becoming a double international.

Hamilton's Leydon-Davis is set to represent her country in her hometown tomorrow night in her other sport of choice – badminton.

Perhaps more recognised for her abilities as a medium-pace bowler for the Northern Spirit and New Zealand Emerging Players women's cricket side, she will pick up her badminton racket for the New Zealand under-19 team, as they take on their Australian counterparts for the Pan Pacific Trophy at Hamilton's Eastlink Badminton Stadium.

The 17-year-old will join the White Ferns winter training squad for camps in Lincoln in June and July and, despite hoping to be selected for next year's World Cup in India, she is still playing as much badminton as she can.

Since the cricket season finished, Leydon-Davis has competed in a number of tournaments in the lead-up to tomorrow's competition. Last weekend at the Counties-Manukau Open she won the mixed doubles, was runner-up in doubles and made the semifinals of the singles, and that followed a semifinals spot in the mixed doubles at the North Harbour Open and a doubles title win at the North Harbour under-19s event.

This will be her second time playing in the alternatively hosted trans-Tasman competition, won by the Aussies last year.

But Leydon-Davis, who has seen many of the Australians when playing in their national tournaments and also competed against most of them for two years in the June Bevan Trophy trans-Tasman under-17 competition, sees her side having a good chance to wrest the initiative. "Our teams are pretty even in abilities.

"They've got a good doubles pair that won the Aussie Junior International last year when we were over there for Pan Pacs," she noted.

Leydon-Davis hopes to cement a spot in the Waikato team for the defence of the Wisden Cup in Hamilton in August, and is aiming for some top performances at the New Zealand under-19 nationals in Wellington in October.

She has a good family history on the badminton court. Her two siblings Susannah and Oliver – a 2010 Commonwealth Games competitor – have also played in the Pan Pacific Trophy.

There are 11 matches in the event – three men's singles, women's singles and mixed doubles ties, as well as a men's doubles and women's doubles match-up – and the eight-strong New Zealand team, all from the greater Auckland area apart from Leydon-Davis, will find out tomorrow afternoon what matches they will be involved in.

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Following tomorrow night's contest, all of the players will be part of a 52-strong group, which includes two Malaysian players and one from India, taking part in the annual New Zealand Junior International, which runs from Friday till Sunday at the same venue.

Tomorrow's Pan Pacific Trophy competition gets underway at 5.30pm with the official opening and national anthems, and play begins at 6pm.

Admission to both the events is free.

HOW THEY LINE UP

New Zealand team: Women: Lilian Shih (Auckland), Angie Leung (Auckland), Aishwarya Nair (Waitakere), Felicity Leydon-Davis (Waikato). Men: Samuel Ho (Auckland), Riga Oud (Auckland), Dylan Soedjasa (North Harbour), Kerwyn Lee (North Harbour)

- Waikato Times

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