Suffolk Saxons want to create positive legacy, despite demise of National Badminton League

Two-time Olympian Anthony Clarke, Franchise Director Warren Smyth and Chairman of the Saxons' Manage

Two-time Olympian Anthony Clarke, Franchise Director Warren Smyth and Chairman of the Saxons' Management Group Richard Hunt launch the team last February. - Credit: Su Anderson

Suffolk Saxons chairman Richard Hunt insists the demise of the National Badminton League will not be detrimental to the future of the sport in the county.

Badminton England scrapped the professional AJ Bell National Badminton League today, after almost three years, and just a year after the Saxons were launched in Ipswich, citing the costs involved in running the competition.

“The Saxons brand will continue and the club will carry on operating community programmes, working with the Suffolk Badminton Association and partners to develop Saxons community badminton and grow the sport,” said Hunt.

“We will continue to produce new players and bring more badminton to Suffolk, and who knows what can be done in the future?

“We might not be able to bring league events to the county but there could be an opportunity to bring high-quality players in one-off competitions.

“We want to create a legacy from the Saxons and are hoping that (Saxons head coach) Anthony Clark will stay with us as having such characters will benefit our local juniors and raise standards.”

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The Saxons’ only season in the National Badminton League saw the Suffolk side finish fifth, in an encouraging maiden campaign.

“We were all ready for next season, we had a solid platform and, in Anthony Clark, we had our coach,” added Hunt.

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“We were in a good place and I would like to thank everyone involved with the team for coming together and providing a fantastic spirit at the Corn Exhchange.

“It was a great experience and shows that Suffolk has a thirst for high-standard sport.

“As a franchise as we felt we were solid commercially and had a viable programme which was really successful. We’re determined the great work done by the club will not be wasted.”

On the future of the sport in the county and developing new talent, Mr Hunt, Head of Culture, Sport and Communities at Suffolk County Council, added: “The new Skyliner Centre at the Sybil Andrews Academy in Bury St Edmunds has just opened, to go alongside the Ipswich Performance Centre at Suffolk One College, while Suffolk has just been named County Badminton Association of the Year.”

For more information on badminton in Suffolk, visit

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