On a superlative first Roses day for York, the badminton squad carried on their fine BUCS form to bring home all fourteen available points.
In the centrepiece men’s firsts match, York dropped only one set in their best-of-three fixture as they thundered their way to an unassailable 5-0 lead. And earlier in the day, the women’s firsts, mixed, and men’s seconds also banked Roses points for York with convincing victories.
The men’s firsts had a whitewash in their sights after a superb start. The only hurdle for the home side would be the partnership of Duy Hung Nguyen and Ed Chuck in the third pairing – both are usually singles players and faced a hard job adapting to the doubles format. But when they beat Lancaster’s second pair, and Ricky Kanabar and John Choi usurped Lancaster’s first two, victory was assured.
Wins for Will Wiseman and Paddy Clarke, the experienced doubles partners, were never really in doubt after Lancaster’s star player left for home after the morning fixtures. Claiming to have suffered a mysteriously acquired “injury” and talking of a “gig I’ve got to get to tonight”, he was labelled with unrepeatable, and justified, disgust by Kanabar. With Lancaster’s Roses spirit in tatters – their drubbing in the mixed doubles earlier clearly hurt the team – Wiseman and Clarke looked all-too-comfortable, taking the key match against their opposing numbers 21-11, 21-14.
A crucial moment for York was the breakthrough provided by Kanabar and Choi, who took straight-sets victories in their first two matches, without even hitting top form. Kanabar said it was “far too close” as he and his partner laboured in their opening game, but against the opposition first pairing, they started to pick off some abject shots with a consumate accuracy. A 21-17, 21-18 win left York 4-0 up with only forty minutes gone.
“I thought it was going to be a lot closer but they’d taken a beating earlier in the day and that had an impact,” said men’s first team captain, Will Wiseman.
It may not have been the flowing badminton that the firsts have been used to this season, with York’s power play ending many of the points before a rhythm had been established, but Wiseman was happy with what was “the icing on the cake” after he and Clarke dispatched Lancaster’s third pair 21-9, 21-14. At 5-0, the tie was over and it was now more a question of how many. In the end Duy and Chuck went down to a very decent Lancaster second pair to make the final score 8-1.
In Friday’s opening events, York dealt their openents a double blow, winning the mixed 8-1, and men’s seconds 6-3. The only scare came as Kanabar and his partner Nicci Farr tasted defeat in the morning’s first game, but York’s recovery was swift and comprehensive.
Wiseman said: “This is the first clean sweep we’ve had for a few years, certainly the first during my time at York. It’s a great feeling.”
Quite rightly, the firsts captain is considering submitting for “Team of the Year”, after picking up the league title at the end of an unbeaten campaign last term. Their promotion to the highly competitive Northern League 1A next year comes as just reward for the hard work the players have put in over the course.
“Teams that we’ll be facing next year, like Leeds Met, train four hours a day, have England coaches and fantastic facilities. So it’s a credit to the boys and to the amount of effort they put in each week that we have been as successful as we have been,” added Wiseman.
A stumbling block might be the loss of most of this year’s team, as many will leave York this summer. But on a wonderful day for Wiseman, it mattered little.