UNIVERSITY OF YORK MEN’S FIRSTS 3–5 SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY MEN FIRSTS
BUCS Northern Conference 2B
Images: Lily Grant
Despite Sheffield forfeiting two of their doubles matches, York were unable to find the win that would see them leap-frog their opposing league leaders in a bid for promotion.
Aside the forfeited wins, York could only win one game out of the six that were played, courtesy of a singles win for Baillie Watterson, who recently won YorkSport’s Player of the Tournament at Varsity.
Watterson’s win came very early in the day when he started the first game of the match inside the Sports Hall. He proved impenetrable in the opening end as he took control of the game whilst responding to everything his opponent threw at him. His riling performance warranted him a well-deserved 21-6 win.
There were worries about how long Watterson’s form would last in his second end as he continued to battle an illness that he’d started the day with. Regardless, he still proved too much for his opponent as his smashes proved too strong for his adversary, who failed to find any sort of consistency; Watterson went on to win the end and the game 21-14.
On the adjacent court, Jinglun Tang failed to find any luck in his two singles matches. In his first game, he looked level with his opponent on skill, but his adversary played a clever game and forced Tang into making a string of unforced errors – he lost the first end 21-12. His opponent worked him hard again in the second and Tang fell to a 21-8 defeat.
Tang’s second game was equally frustrating; luck clearly was not on his side and more unforced errors cost him the first end in a 21-8 loss. It was much of the same story in the second end as he was continuous frustrated by his opponent, this time losing 21-14.
Meanwhile, Watterson was ready to take on his second opponent. His opponent proved highly formidable and the pair were able to match each other point for point. However, Watterson’s smashes and kills were more telling in the first end and he edged out a 22-20 win.
Both players continued to play with tremendous speed and power in the second end with some spectacular battles at the net as the two continued to match each other. Regrettably, Watterson lost a contact lens towards the finale of the end, which may have alluded to his eventual 21-19 defeat.
The third and final end was equally as epic – it was clear that the player that tired first was going to lose this game. Sadly, that player was Watterson as he began to lose his prowess at the net. He wrongly left a shot at the backline in the final point, meaning his opponent won 21-17.
James Davies and Dan Hirst then took to court in the first doubles game of the match against the only doubles opponents that Sheffield could band together. In the first end, the two sides could hardly be separated from start to finish, but a series of strong smashes from York meant that they edged out a 22-20 victory.
The second end, again, was incredibly tight with a high intensity; however, as both teams became more drained as the game went on, more mistakes were being made. Regardless, the scores remained tight and this time it was Sheffield who edged a narrow victory with a 21-19 triumph.
With the scores as close as they were, the third end promised to be an exciting one, but sadly this was not the case. York’s accuracy was lacking and Sheffield began to kill their shots well as they completely dominated. They closed the game out with a 21-8 win.
Any chance of a win was now out of York’s grasp, so it was down to the final doubles pairing of Andy Henderson and Tom Dainty to try and force a draw. The pair put in a valiant effort but Sheffield’s smashes were proving more effective, helping them to scrape a score of 21-19.
The second end proved as tight and entertaining as the first, but Dainty had picked up a knock on his Achilles midway through the game, which may have hindered the team’s performance as they went on to lose 21-16.
The team captain, Dan Hirst, had this to say on missing out on promotion: “To be fair, we had to win this and hope that they lost their next one. It was a long shot, we knew they were a strong team. We knew it would be tough, but we tried.”
On looking forward to Roses, he added: “We can’t wait for Roses – the highlight of the year, always. We’re confident about Roses, Lancaster are no good!”