In Friday morning’s opening event, the York Men’s Badminton Second team picked up a useful two-point haul courtesy of an accomplished 6-3 victory in a fast-paced round-robin tournament. Each of the three pairings achieved two victories from their three fixtures, sufficient to narrow the overall score as we enter the pivotal weekend schedule of Roses 2008.
The York team struggled to find their rhythm during the opening round of matches, with James Barrett and Matt Knight succumbing 12-21, 17-21 to a determined and skilful Lancaster duo. Although Tom Branson and Paul Barton also slipped to defeat, a hard-fought 21-14, 21-17 victory for Ed Chuck and Tom Illet kept York firmly in contention.
However, the visitors battled back in the crucial second round of fixtures, with three straight victories turning the tide of the contest. Most impressive were the irrepressible Barrett-Knight combination, who swept to a comprehensive 21-10, 21-14 triumph, while Branson and Barton required three sets to fight off spirited Lancaster adversaries on the adjacent court.
With York needing just one more win to seal the points on offer, Branson and Barton returned immediately to the court, edging their way to the decisive 21-17, 21-15 win with a professional performance which combined competent net play and powerful attack strategies from all areas of the court. With the points assured, Chuck and Illet slipped to a narrow three-set defeat by a 16-21, 21-15, 17-21 score, the onset of fatigue following their earlier endeavours evident. The final match of the tournament, a dead rubber, proved the perfect opportunity for Barrett and Knight to demonstrate the more skilful shots in their on-court repertoire, an impressive array of cheeky backhands and trick smashes earning a 21-13, 21-13 victory to round off a hugely positive showing from the York team.