Badminton firsts ease past Leeds Met

BUCS Northern Conference 2B

Images: Petroc Taylor

York’s men’s badminton firsts recorded a comprehensive victory against Leeds Metropolitan University today. A clean sweep from the doubles pairings and an outstanding individual performance from Baillie Watterson rounded off an exceptional day for the men’s side.

The singles matches were of contrasting fortunes early on in the fixture, York’s Jinglun Tang looked in good form in his first set against Leeds Met’s first seed Kynan Clarke. Some exceptional smashes brought him a deserved 21-17 victory in the first set, but he unfortunately was unable to capitalise on a strong position once Clarke found his rhythm and lost the next two sets 17-21.

But York’s Watterson started off in imperious fashion, after holding his opponent Mike Cross to a tight 10-10 early on, he stormed ahead to take the first set 21-15. Watterson was impressive at the net exchanges and despite a few shaky moments at 16 all in the next set, he eventually recorded a 21-18 victory to seal the game.

The doubles then took to the court with James Davies and captain Dan Hirst facing off against Leeds Met’s Patel and Scott. Hirst got York off to a great start with a brilliant reply to Patel’s weak service shot and his partner Davies followed up with an excellent smash to give them the lead. Both players dovetailed nicely with each other and a few rare mistakes from Davies were easily made up for when he found his rhythm to produce some unplayable shots.

Hirst was in excellent form and took the first set 21-14. They went on to force error after error from the Leeds Met pairing and dominated some fearsome rallies to win the next set, and the game, 21-17.

Over on the next court, York’s doubles pairing Tom Dainty and Andy Henderson were dominating their match. The Leeds partnership were making regular mistakes and York were able to capitalise by being more mobile and playing a wider range of shots. They eased their way to a win with 21-8 and 21-6 victories.

Tang was unable to find a win in his next match against Cross, despite once again taking the first set in a tense 21-19 affair, Cross was able to drive home his second set advantage of 11-21 and win the decider 21-17.

Arguably, the match of the fixture followed as Watterson and Clarke, both in exceptional form, faced off. The first set was incredibly close as both players showed off their skills and determination. Clarke was left sprawled on the floor after an attempt to reply to Watterson’s brilliant smash to the back left corner. The closely fought tussle was eventually won by Clarke 21-23, but the York man proved his credentials in the next set.

Watterson went on to dominate the next two sets; he showed his intent after winning a lengthy rally and Clarke seemed happy to concede the set 21-8 to take it to a decider. But Watterson had found his momentum and stormed home to a 21-10 victory.

With York now 4-2 up, Leeds Met needed wins from both of the last doubles matches to claim a draw. But neither Davies and Hirst nor Henderson and Dainty were in any mood to concede defeat. Both pairings won in imperious fashion, Davies and Hirst taking their two set match 21-8 and 21-8 and Henderson and Dainty winning 21-9 and 21-14.

York captain Hirst commented after the game he was “happy with the result”. He was keen to add that as Leeds Met are bottom of the league they “needed to win” and “it was a good result after losing last week”.

With York having been relegated last season, Hirst was also optimistic on their chances of promotion, stating bluntly “we want to go straight back up”. However, he admitted it would be difficult as the two other teams vying for promotion, Sheffield and Hull were “very strong sides”.

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