HUDDERSFIELD professional Marcus Ellis is aiming to impress in the English National Badminton Championships.

He’s in action at the Manchester Velodrome tomorrow night with playing partner Peter Mills as they begin their quest for medals.

The 20-year-old from Golcar was paired with new partner Mills, who comes from Nottingham, last year and they have won men’s doubles titles in the Belgian and Norwegian Opens.

They are seeded in the top four for the nationals and aiming to do well.

A former Huddersfield New College student, Ellis turned full-time professional two years ago and is now based at the National Badminton Headquarters in Milton Keynes, and it was there that he was paired with Mills by the coaching staff.

“We didn’t have any choice in the matter as the coaches look at who they think will fit in well together, and so far it’s obviously worked very well for us, having reached several semi-finals and a couple of finals,” said Ellis, who was back at home for a few days this week before making the short trip across the M62 to the Velodrome.

“It has been a very big step up for me since turning pro, and this year is going to be much harder than last year, which was very much like a training season.

“So this is what I consider to be my first proper year as a pro and we have some really big competitions coming up.

“After the Nationals in Manchester, we are playing in Germany and then comes the really big one, when we play in the Yonex All-England Championships in Birmingham.

“This year is the 100th anniversary of the All-England tournament and it is the highest graded tournament of them all.”

Ellis has not been entered for the individual competition at the nationals, so his focus is solely on the doubles.

“I’m looking forward to the event, and being one of the top-four ranked pairs in the seedings, we are realistically hoping for at least a place in the semi-finals – if not better,” added Ellis.

Spen Valley Ladies proved irresistible when making the decisive scores in their Division III match at Holmbridge.

Although not much to choose between them, the home side must have fancied their chances after taking all three men’s rubbers, James Grist’s smash proving too strong for the Valley boys.

However, when the Ladies took centre stage it was one-way traffic as Liza Carrington, Gemma Swaine and Diane Parish simply proved too hot to handle, taking all three rubbers to level the match.

And Carrington then teamed up with Phil Denton to take the first of the Mixed, Parish was paired with Roy Hampshire to take the second for the visitors, and Swaine helped James Booth finish off Holmbridge for a 6-3 victory.

Holmbridge 3 Spen Valley 6

Men: Simon Booth & James Grist bt Phil Denton & Roy Hampshire 21-16, 23-21; Booth & Matt Cromack bt Denton & James Booth 11-21, 21-15, 21-15; Grist & Cromack bt Hampshire & Booth 21-12, 21-18.

Ladies: Molly Holman Sheard & Liz Noble lost to Liza Carrington & Gemma Swaine 19-21, 18-21; Holman Sheard & Estelle Bill lost to Carrington & Diane Parish 16-21, 7-21; Noble & Bill lost to Swaine & Parish 6-21, 15-21.

Mixed: Grist & Holman Sheard lost to Denton & Carrington 19-21, 21-17, 20-22; Booth & Noble lost to Hampshire & Parish 21-12, 11-21, 16-21; Cromack & Bill lost to Booth & Swaine 20-22, 15-21.