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September 1953 saw the New Zealand badminton championships being played in Dunedin. Southland saw two of their players booking places in the finals. Paul Skelt from Southland will be playing against Jeff Robson in the men's A grade final and Tony Skelt will partner Miss A. McKenzie of Oamaru in the mixed doubles.
In the most exciting game of the tournament Tony Skelt and Miss McKenzie beat Paul Skelt and Rae Emslie in the semi-final of the mixed doubles in one of the best games seen at the tournament. In the first set Paul Skelt and Emslie were definitely the superior couple and won the first set 15-7. Going into the second set they were still ahead until Tony Skelt tried a new tactic by using a acutely angled drop shot, which caught the opposition more often than not going the wrong way.
His partner helped by playing a dead racquet to drops at the right time giving them the second set 15-11.
The third set was the most exciting with both couples playing extremely good badminton and the score at one point was 13-13. and with Tony Skelt used his back shot again and they went into the lead 14-13. Tony thought it was just a matter of serving for a win when he missed a sitter of a smash and this made the game 14-14. He got his mind back on the job and took the next three points for him and McKenzie to win the game.
ROBSON beat TONY SKELT in the first Semi Final and PAUL SKELT beat A.L. SCOTT in the second Semi Final which set up a final between Robson and Paul Skelt.
Paul Skelt did remarkably well to beat Scott of Otago as it was expected by the spectators that he would take the Semi Final with ease. The first set went to Scott, where Paul Skelt seemed overwhelmed and not in the right head space. Skelt rallied in the second set brillantly and never looked back as he applied pressure on Scott who crumbled to give Skelt the game.
Reference: The Southland Times September 1953
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