Badminton whitewash

George Zhao – Sports Reporter 29 January 2010

Warwick 8 Blues 0

It wasn’t a great start to 2010 for the University Men’s Badminton Team as they lost their first away match against Warwick University 1sts.

The odds were stacked against Cambridge from the outset, due to players being busy with other commitments, as only a team of five could be fielded as opposed to the regular six, putting Cambridge down 2-0 before any of the games had even been played.

In the first singles, Nicky Lai fought bravely to take the first set 21-16, however, he could not sustain his momentum throughout the second, losing a closely fought set 18-21. Going into the third, the opposition found better form, and out-lasted Nicky to take the third 21-13, closing out a rather epic opening game.

The first singles was to set a trend for the rest of the match, with Cambridge starting well, but being unable to finish off the games when it mattered.

The first doubles pair, Roger Yin and George Zhao, started off shakily, as did their opposition. However, they managed to take a mistake-filled first set 21-12. In the second, the roles were reversed, and the opposition took advantage of the unfamiliarity of the new pairing and the mistakes in order to claw their way back, returning the score 21-12 and setting up another rubber. In the third, the two pairs were matched blow for blow until 16 apiece, and then some critical errors cost the Cambridge pair the lead, and the game; they lost 21-16.

The second doubles pair, Chen Yin and Adam Cranston, didn’t manage to hit their stride in their first game, despite some well played rallies, and they lost in straight sets 18-21 and 13-21.

After the first round of games, the score was 5-0 to Warwick. Hopes of a win for Cambridge were dashed, and at most the team were hoping to salvage some games for pride at least.

Nicky Lai went back on court to face Warwick’s second singles player, but unfortunately could not summon up the energy to mount a challenge to his fresh opposition, tired as he was from his grueling first match. The score was 4-21, 12-21 to Warwick.

Roger Yin and George Zhao played steadily in the opening set of their second game, trading some good rallies with the opposition’s second pair. It became a very tense affair towards the close of the set, as the scores stood level at 20-20. The Cambridge pair were unfazed however, and held their nerve in order to close out the first set 25-23.

The second set began in much the same fashion as the first, with both pairs playing patiently. However, the Warwick pair were better at building the attack, and the Cambridge pair were too happy to sit back and defend, eventually leading to a 19-21 loss, setting up yet another rubber.

In the third, the Warwick pair established a few cushion points at around the mid-way stage, owing to some well executed rallies, and Cambridge were frustratingly unable to close the gap due for the most part to errors and some weak attacking play, leaving the final score at 17-21, another loss for Cambridge.

Adam Cranston and Chen Yin came out all guns blazing in their second game, with some excellent attacking play and quick forward movement allowing them to dominate the net.

The Warwick first pair held on however, and levelled the scores at 20-20, leading to a dramatic struggle to get two points clear. Blow was traded for blow as neither team could get an advantage, until finally, Warwick managed to ease ahead at 25 apiece, to clinch a close fought first set 25-27.

The Cambridge pair were not disheartened however, and played hard in the second set. However, the Warwick first pair proved to be too much to handle, and they eventually lost another closely contested set 19-21.

All in all, a disappointing day for the team, as the final result stood at 8-0 to Warwick.

The next and final fixture of the season will be against Birmingham 2nds, where Cambridge hope to end their season on a high note, although with no wins so far this season it will take something very special to beat the second placed brummies.

George Zhao – Sports Reporter