YORK WOMEN’s 1s served up a 5-3 victory against a strong Durham 2s side in the Sports Arena on Wednesday to end a run of three consecutive defeats.
The last time these two teams met was in October, when York rampaged to an 8-0 win on Durham turf. From the first singles match between York’s Tara Zhu and Durham’s Jia Jia Cheng, however, there was a sense that this contest could be a tighter affair.
After Zhu won the first set 22-20, Cheng dug deep to take it to a deciding third set in which she prevailed 21-17. Fortune seemed to be on the side of Cheng in the final set, with a couple of points being won on fine margins, such as the moments when the shuttlecock hit the net and dropped on Zhu’s side of the court.
Despite losing the opening game, York went on to take the next three. Isi Eastwood claimed a straight sets victory in her singles game against Yi Ning Sui; while doubles partners Judith Peatman and Amber Bosley won 21-19, 21-18.
Of particular spectacle was the doubles game involving York’s Catherine Wilson and Laura Pickard. As is to be expected from a doubles game, where the formation is usually one at the net and one nearer the back of the court, there were a lot of long exchanges. Wilson showed some aggressive net play, pouncing on Durham drop shots, which helped York edge the first set 21-18. This game went down to the wire, with the York duo winning the third set 21-19: a set in which neither team fell behind the other by more than two points.
At the halfway mark, the scoreline showed 3-1 to York. Zhu’s second singles game was another war of attrition, with each point often unravelling into a tiring long exchange of shots. Zhu was moving her opponent around the court well in the first set, which she went on to take 21-19. However, her opponent, Yi Ning Sui, fought back to take the second 16-21, before finding an upper level in the deciding set to defeat a tiring Zhu 8-21.
Eastwood, in her second appearance of the afternoon, showed resilience to come from behind and win 18-21, 21-14, 21-19. Simultaneously, Peatman and Bosley made it four sets out of four as they won their second doubles match in straight sets. They had stormed into
an early 7-1 lead, an onslaught from which Durham could never recover despite their best efforts.
The final game, involving York’s Wilson and Pickard, went to Durham quite convincingly 9-21, 1921; but by this point it was merely a consolation. York had sealed the win overall on points and they had done it in fine style to end a run of three consecutive defeats.
York’s captain Peatman said after the game: “I’m really pleased with our 5-3 win against Durham 2s. Everyone played really well and fought hard for the win!”
Peatman will next captain her team against University of Sterling 1s in the cup, and is hopeful of capitalising on momentum from this latest victory, saying: “Although this is a strong team, I think we can give them a tough challenge!”
After that, they return to their BUCS campaign in which they hope to catch up with the teams above them in the Northern 1A league. They are currently only three points away from the promotion places with some difficult games left to play, including an away trip to face Durham 1s, as well as matches against the first string sides of Leeds and Liverpool – to whom they had some close losses which Peatman hopes they can reverse next time.