MEN’S BADMINTON FIRSTS
University of Sheffield 3-5 Sheffield Hallam
Uni’s men’s badminton first team lost the first point of badminton Varsity on Sunday night at the EIS.
Laurence Lee and Freddie Mather had to win the final doubles rubber but were beaten comfortably, giving Hallam the win by five rubbers to three.
It was neck and neck all the way through and the point seemed destined to be halved until Hallam snatched it at the end.
The evening had started well for Uni, with Jamie van Hooijdonk first up. He was on fire, dominating the court from start to finish without letting his opponent settle, and winning the rubber 21-11, 21-6 putting Uni 1-0 up.
However, the scores were soon reversed. Hallam drew level with Joe Pickering losing his first singles rubber. Then Uni went behind as Lee and Mather lost their first doubles match 21-17 and 21-6.
The tie remained close, however, as Uni brought the scores back to 2-2 with Rich Grainger and Anderson Chu winning their first doubles match.
Uni then were expected to go back in front with van Hooijdonk entering his second singles rubber. But this time it was the Uni number one who couldn’t get into his game.
Despite spells of class, van Hooijdonk was beaten 21-18, 21-16, giving Uni an uphill task to get a win going into the final three rubbers.
At 3-2 down it was vital that Uni won the next rubber. They did just that, with Joe Pickering playing his way to a win 21-11, 21-10. The Uni number two raised his game from his first rubber, securing a crucial win to draw Uni level at 3-3.
That meant that the tie would come down to the final two doubles match-ups and with a win apiece the most likely outcome.
As expected, the Hallam pair won the first of the two rubbers against Grainger and Chu. The Uni pair put up a valiant effort in the first game, only losing 21-16 but the second game was comfortable for Hallam as they won 21-6.
The pressure was now on the final pairings from each side. Joe Pickering explained that the Uni pairing of Lee and Mather were the favourites, but things didn’t go to script.
Despite Uni’s best efforts, Hallam were the dominant force, securing the win with a service fault from Lee. That gave Hallam the first of their two and a half points in the badminton.