Men’s – Loughborough too strong
Most of the team were surprisingly punctual in showing up on Wednesday, if only the same could be said for the captain who showed up late fully kitted out as Dr Doshi with all his medical gear. However, after this small mishap the team were raring to go, keen to make amends for a gutting 5-3 defeat last week. Playing for Cambridge were Zac Soh and Richard Parsons on singles, with Neel Doshi & Tom Wade and Ryan Ng & Andrew Sheat on doubles.
The singles kicked things off, both new to CUBaC this year Zac and Richard looked confident on court. A dominant display from Zac left his opponent exhausted and quite frankly humiliated after a 21-5 win in the second end, giving Cambridge the advantage early on. Unfortunately, despite playing well, Richard could do nothing to stop Loughborough’s very strong first singles player.
So after the first two singles the score was 1-1 and it was onto the first round of doubles. Both pairs were seasoned in playing together after many huge performances last year. Andrew and Ryan were playing together, with Tom and Neel making up the other pair, due to some superb displays at varsity. Tom and Neel dispatched of their first opponents with ease 21-11, 21-9, a really good performance. Neel even successfully threw in some uncharacteristic smashes; the swim shorts he was wearing were obviously working in his favour. However sadly Andrew and Ryan, despite performing admirably, fell just short losing out on their match 19-21 in the third end; gutting stuff.
As a result, going into the second half of the match you could not separate the two teams. What followed were two singles matches of the highest quality however both were just taken by Loughborough; Richard fought well but just missed out in three sets despite some huge shots. Zac, due to a highly consistent opponent and possibly some fatigue, lost out narrowly and, despite a break in the second end to mop the court after a heroic dive, could not swing it in his favour losing out 21-23 in the second set.
With Cambridge 4-2 down we knew that two wins were needed from the last two doubles to secure a draw. Tom and Neel went on and, showing the same air of brutal efficiency, took their match in two sets - a massive performance. However, Loughborough’s second doubles pair very much upped their game after their first match and came out just ahead of Andrew and Ryan in an agonisingly close game which finished 20-22, 19-21.
This made the final score 3-5 in Loughborough’s favour, another close match which could easily have gone the other way; nevertheless the season is a marathon not a sprint and we’ll have them in the away leg, up the CUBaC!
Women’s – Clash of the Donaldsons
First of all, let me apologise for this report being in first person. I am, in fact, one of the Donaldsons (the better one actually) and I thought this report would be better from my point of view (please don’t ask my sister about hers though).
This BUCS match was special for me because I was playing my sister (Sophie) who has just joined Loughborough University. The day started with my sister mis-timing a running hug with me and bruising me in the process (tactical battering). We then proceeded to play some badminton.
First on was my sister against Katie Clark for the light blues – Cambridge dominated this match (serves my sister right for stealing all my clothes). On the other court, Maria Chukanova fought valiantly in her singles, winning the first set but narrowly losing the other two.
Next on court was Felicity Coan and I against their 2nd pair. This was closer than expected, but we grabbed the win in two straight sets. On the other court, Claire Zhang and Amy Chen struggled against Loughborough’s well drilled first pair and lost in two ends.
In the next games of singles, both Katie and Maria fought hard (as per). Katie took the second end of hers and looked like she had broken her opponent as she went to roll out her thighs (apparently they’d done many wall sits the day before). Apparently the rolling helped the away player, as in a close match, the third end went Loughborough’s way. Maria and Sophie’s game was great to see, with both players getting everything back and the people on the sideline wondering how Sophie’s legs could possibly bend that way. In the words of our coach Daniel “who had taught her that”? The answer is no-one Daniel, that’s all Sophie. Sophie took this game making the score 4-2 to Loughborough.
In the final doubles game, Claire and Amy lost out to their second pair whilst our game with the first pair went to three ends. The first end was an easy win for Loughborough, with the second game a tight win for Cambridge. Something came over Felicity and I in the final end; our attacks broke the morale and defence of their pair to take a relatively easy win.
All in all, a great match and a real shame that I couldn’t take on my sister directly as I would have undoubtedly hammererd her. I look forward to the return game next term.