UNIVERSITY OF YORK 5-3 NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY
BUCS Northern Conference 1A
Images: Andy Davis
York’s men’s badminton firsts secured their league survival with a deserved victory against Northumbria on Wednesday.
Going into the match, York sat perilously close to the relegation zone, however a performance mixed with skill and endeavour brought them the result that they needed.
In the opening singles game of the day, York captain Baillie Watterson overcame a stern test against Tom Moore to earn an early victory (21-12, 21-16). Whilst Moore played his part in two competitive sets, Watterson always had an element of control and continually showed his quality with an excellent array of shots.
On the adjacent court, the second singles match of the day saw York’s Dan Hirst fall to defeat to Northumbria’s Ben Carter (21-16, 21-13). In two games dominated by high quality rallies, Hirst showed great perseverance and effort but was eventually undone by the skill of Carter’s play.
In the first round of doubles action, the pairing of Jonty Hiley and Ricky Kanabar kept up York’s good work with a convincing victory against the Northumbria pair. Both players demonstrated great court control and teamwork and were convincing in their victory (21-12, 21-11).
The second round of doubles action was a close affair with the York team of Andy Henderson and Tom Dainty falling to an unlucky defeat to their Northumbrian counterparts (21-19, 21-15). Although Henderson and Dainty ultimately fell short, they fought all the way and posed a great number of questions of the Northumbrian pairing.
The return of the singles matches again saw York gain an advantage over Northumbria. In a fast-paced first set, York captain Watterson had to show all his skill and battling qualities to overcome Northumbria’s Carter with a 21-15 victory. After such a close first set, Watterson strolled to a comfortable 21-4 victory in the second with a combination of his excellent play and Carter’s fatigue influencing the result.
The final singles match of the day again saw Northumbria draw the score level. Despite a passionate performance from Dan Hirst, Northumbria’s Tom Moore showed enough composure and control to edge a 21-17, 21-18 victory to level the scores at 3-3.
With the match finely balanced, the result of the two remaining doubles encounters would decide the outcome of the game. In the first of the matches, York’s Henderson and Dainty showed great shot placement and racket control to achieve a 21-9, 21-16 victory.
With victory achieved in the first doubles match, the result now rested on the shoulders of the York pairing of Hiley and Kanabar. After winning the first set 21-16, Hiley and Kanabar showed great spirit and determination to survive five match points in the second and record an impressive 24-22 victory to give York a 5-3 win.
After the match, Watterson was full of praise for his side, saying, “Our play was insanely good today. It was great to have Ricky and Jonty back together especially after Ricky’s long absence from injury”.