Wednesday 22 February, Women’s: A score-draw but not a bore-draw
Yes. We drew with Coventry. “What a disappointment”, you might think. But the drama and tension at Desso Hall was exhilarating to watch. Almost every match was extremely close and had everyone on the edge of their seats. While the result may be a surprise, both sides must deserve huge credit for the skill and talent they showed.
It all looked so different for #TeamWarwick at the beginning. The first two matches were the singles between the top two seeds from both sides. Warwick’s second seed, Sevena, thoroughly dominated her match. She won 21-7, 21-6, targeting her opponent’s backhand regularly and bringing about errors. Our top seed, Colleen, faced a little more difficulty in her match. However, as seen elsewhere, the new shuttles were going a lot further than expected. The exceptional backhand of Colleen saved the day and gave here a 21-18, 21-15 win. 2-0 #TeamWarwick.
Next up were the two doubles matches. Team Captain Chen joined Helen, but this was much more competitive than expected. Both teams were mixing great shots with errors. Despite a Warwick comeback in the second set, the powerful Coventry pair proved too strong in the end and won the match 22-20, 17-21, 21-14. The other match involved Nandni and Xin Yin and, after Warwick won the first set convincingly, Coventry upped their game to win the next two sets 21-12, 21-17. 2-2.
Each great winner was cheered by the respective fans present at Desso Hall
Colleen’s final match justified her position as the number one seed. An extremely dominant performance saw her lose a miserly four points in the whole match. In a role reversal, Sevena found her match challenging. After a slow start, multiple great shots seemed to get her back in the match. However, she couldn’t overcome her opponent and lost in straight sets. The next two matches would decide the fate of the fixture and worryingly for us the first doubles match was slipping away. Despite a valiant effort, we lost 19-21, 18-21. Could the unthinkable become reality?
The final match had everyone’s attention. Each great winner was cheered by the respective fans present at Desso Hall. The first set followed the pattern of the whole fixture; extremely competitive. First blood to #TeamWarwick and there was confidence that we could salvage a draw. But the second set went Coventry’s way to take the match and the fixture down to the wire. All players from both women’s and men’s teams watched on, living each and every shot. At 20 all the tension was almost unbearable. The next two points went to Warwick and we did it: we salvaged a draw.
Sunday 26 February, Men’s: Warwick beaten but proud
The men’s match was less of a surprise. Coventry’s Men’s Badminton team was expected to be really strong and they delivered. Every amazing effort from #TeamWarwick’s players was undone by the power of Coventry. Even psyching themselves up during the matches couldn’t stop Coventry’s overall dominance. A brilliant effort, but ultimately they came up short.
Just like Women’s Badminton on Wednesday, two singles matches began proceedings. Kelvin went into his singles match knowing that a difficult test was ahead, but it was far more one-sided than expected. Kelvin didn’t even play badly; his opponent was just too consistent and strong. Losses to seven and two didn’t do him justice and he deserved much more. Arguably the match of the day was the other singles tie involving Rik. He and his opponent were toying with each other point after point. Each one seemed like match point as they gave 100% throughout. A three-set win put Warwick back in the fixture. 1-1.
The next doubles match involved the team captain, Sam, and his partner in crime Matt. Even though it appeared difficult to get used to the flying shuttles, they won the first set relatively comfortably 21-17. However, some inexplicable shots from both left Coventry able to make a comeback. Despite showing intense passion and commitment, they were unfortunate to lose 19-21 in the final set. The other doubles match involving Alex and Connor was a really high-quality encounter. Some heroic shots from our boys couldn’t stop the relentless Coventry going 3-1 up.
Spare a thought for the Badminton boys and me
The remaining two singles matches seemed ominous for Warwick, given the opposition they were up against. Kelvin didn’t let his previous match get to his head as he won the first set convincingly. It was clear that he was putting his heart and soul into the match. In spite of that outstanding effort, he couldn’t stop the opponent winning. All hopes now rested on Rik, but he was up against Cov’s best player. A straight sets defeat gave Coventry an unassailable 5-1 lead.
Could the two doubles pairings salvage some points for us? Alex and Connor couldn’t give us a point in their match. All eyes were now on Sam and Matt to give us some much-needed happiness. A thrilling encounter began rather easily for Warwick but the common theme of the day began to take hold. Coventry came back and looked to win in the final set too. Matt became more and more animated and thankfully the strategy worked.
A win in the match couldn’t overshadow the 6-2 overall score. Despite Warwick winning Varsity again, I didn’t see a single win. Spare a thought for the Badminton boys and me.