UNIVERSITY OF YORK 4-4 UNIVERSITY OF HULL
BUCS Northern Conference 2B
Images: Agatha Torrance
The men’s badminton firsts had to settle for a 4-4 draw with Varsity rivals Hull in today’s season opener.
York trailed by two going into the final round of doubles matches but were able to claw back a share of the points thanks to sterling performances from the doubles pairings.
Team President Baillie Watterson led the home side out in the singles, and defeated Hull’s Davies with relative ease. A string of devastating smashes and some swift movement across the court meant that it was little surprise when Watterson won in straight sets (21-12, 21-15) to give the hosts an early advantage.
This was soon cancelled out, though, as Jinglun Tang was beaten by Hull’s top seed Harrison. A frustrated Tang was given little opportunity to go on the offensive, his opponent possessing a deadly return of serve, and the Humberside man ultimately came out on top, 21-13, 21-9.
Two high-quality doubles matches were to follow, and it was the visitors who edged the first encounter. York, represented by captain Dan Hirst and James Davies, more than held their own against their opponents and were unfortunate to lose in straight sets to Cockshutt and Green, narrowly beaten 21-15, 21-16.
The home side levelled the scores just a few minutes later, however, the tried and tested partnership of Tom Dainty and Andy Henderson proving too much for Hull’s Berry and Maughan. After taking the first set 21-14, some spectacular net play from Henderson proved decisive in the second, as the White Rose upped their game at the right time to win 21-17 and bring the overall score to 2-2.
In the day’s top singles match, Watterson foud himself the victim of some stunning play from Harrison, as Hull regained the lead. Both men produced some superb badminton, and were locked at 17-17 in the first set, but a late surge saw Harrison take it 21-17. Watterson gave everything to the cause, stretching to make every possible shot, but in the end the Hull player had too much and completed a straight sets win, 21-13.
Tang, eager to make up for his earlier defeat, pushed Davies all the way in the final singles match of the afternoon. But even a dramatic dive across court to try and save match point wasn’t enough, as Hull took a two point advantage into the final doubles matches, Tang desperately unlucky in losing 21-17, 24-22.
York went into the last round of matches knowing that nothing less than two wins would secure them a share of spoils; and two wins is what they delivered. Henderson and Dainty were on top form again, as they beat Cockshutt and Green 21-17, 21-12.
That left Hirst and Davies to finish the job, and they were able to edge out Berry and Maughan 21-15, 21-17 to take the draw. York captain Hirst was satisfied with the display at full time, his side opening their BUCS campaign with a good result against their main rivals for promotion, telling Nouse, “Considering it was our first game of the season, it was a pretty good result. We knew that this would be our toughest game, so I’m quite happy. We’ve got Leeds next and now we’ll have a bit more time to practice and work on our pairings. Overall it was a really good display.”