Hawke's Bay's Caragh Alley was the most successful central region female at the national under-17 badminton championship in Auckland during the school holidays.
Alley, 14, reached two semifinals which is outstanding considering this is her first year in the age group. Caragh and doubles partner Vyoma Mistry of Waitakere made the semifinals of the girls doubles where they lost in two sets to eventual winners Rowena Devathasan of Auckland and Deborah Yin of North Harbour.
In the mixed doubles Alley and Taranaki partner Pun Thepkunhanimit, the boys singles title winner, were seeded eighth. In their quarter-final they knocked out the fourth seeded combination of Devathasan and North Harbour's Niccolo Tagle in three sets.
In their semifinal they lost to Auckland combination Angie Leung and Daniel Lee of Auckland.
Alley and Thepkunhanimit were the only two central regions players in the top five of the Speedminton sponsored North Island circuit and finished third and fifth respectively. After the 17s nationals Alley represented Wellington North at the four-day national 19s teams event and their team finished third after losing 6-5 to North Harbour in the semifinals and beating Waikato 7-4 in the playoff for third.
Alley's 13-year-old sister Niamh also played at the 17s nationals. She was beaten in the semifinals of the singles plate and third round of the mixed doubles.
Niamh also competed at the national under-15 championships in North Harbour last week and the highlight for her was reaching the mixed doubles final with North Harbour partner Alan Wong. They were beaten 21-18, 21-18 by their opponents.
Niamh finished fifth on the North Island circuit.