Varsity: Revenge on the menu for Badminton

The league season is over for the men’s first team, with only the Varsity finale left to play. The Boar spoke to Wa Sonsin, the men’s first team Captain, about his thoughts on the past season and how the team’s preparations for Varsity are going:

“We needed to finish third to reach the play-offs. We were initially disappointed because we thought UEA (Norwich) had finished third, predominantly as none of the teams in our conference were bothered to send out a team to Norwich, due to the seven hour return journey coupled with the hour and a half long match.

“To show we deserved the place ahead of them, we thrashed them 7-1 in January. Then we were provided with the brilliant news that we did in fact reach the play-offs because we beat UEA! Compared to last year, it is a huge improvement, when we almost got relegated.”

Sonsin, a second year Engineering student, seemed to be reserved but confident. When asked about his role as captain, he was quite forthcoming. “My role as captain is very stressful! (laughs) We have lots of training for the team, every Monday, Tuesday, Friday (circuits as well as normal training), and also on Saturday.

“It is important that every team member attends the fitness and circuit training on Fridays. As first team captain I don’t just help look after my team, but all of the teams. It’s quite difficult meeting everyone’s needs, it gets a little rowdy here and there (laughs) but it’s not too bad. I love badminton so it’s always worth it.”

When asked about the eternal struggle of trying to cater more sessions for the club or the team, Sonsin was diplomatic: “There are always going to be complaints from the club and the team, both are always going to want more sessions. We try to keep everyone happy and we would love to have more sessions. The demand is always there, given that we’re in the top three of the biggest sporting societies in Warwick, with around 450 members already and we’re only in the second term.

This year, the club play away to Coventry in Varsity at the Esporta Racquet Centre and Sonsin confirmed the team is focused on getting a strong result in front of a large away support. “We have been campaigning to the club and on campus to get the most amount of support we can get.

“Training-wise, we’ve been working very hard, trying to find the strongest pairings to make sure we get an 8-0 score-line. We got 7-1 last year, which wasn’t good enough!

“We get to know Coventry’s players quite well. Some players for both teams played the Junior circuits prior to University. I was one of those players and I knew some of the players who now go to Coventry, so we do have some knowledge of how they play, what their strengths and weaknesses are, but usually in a game situation, we just look at their weaknesses on the day. You can also tell these things when watching their players warm up.”

Fortunes have dropped for Coventry this season. They finished bottom of the BUCS league and got relegated. But Sonsin hopes Warwick can dump more misery on their local rivals: “We are looking for some revenge for the league match away to them, which we lost. It was unfortunate as my partner got injured in the second game and couldn’t play on freely, while three first-teamers were unavailable too. It was no excuse really, they did well to beat us – but it was the only match they won all season. When they came to us, we beat them 7-1 but hopefully Varsity will be an 8-0 whitewash!”

The chances of this and future success are aided by the presence of external coach Tracey Hallam, an ex-Commonwealth Champion, who has represented England and Great Britain. Sonsin elaborated: “She started working with the team last year and we’re very lucky to have her. When she first walked in, I was starstruck, because I’ve seen her play on television and she’s had a very successful career. She’s very short [5”3] though! (laughs). She provides training every Tuesday evening, but there are five teams (three Men’s teams, two Women’s teams) and she can only work with one team at a time, of course.” The rest of the time, Sonsin organises and runs training in his capacity as captain.

After the disappointing defeat to Coventry in the league, the club will be fully focused on exacting revenge in the Varsity clash. Show your support by attending one of the biggest matches of the year in one of the most elegant sports around.

Warwick Badminton Club run a Beginners session on Wednesday nights, usually from 7.30pm to 10pm.


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