York’s Men’s 1sts faced strong opposition in the form of Sheffield Hallam’s 2nds, with fantastic play by both sides meaning that the match ended in a 4-4 draw.
The first game of the match saw York player Jay Lee in action. Initially, Lee struggled to summon up enough power against his opponent, but once he adapted his game and became more tactical, the match began to turn around.
However, Lee had too much ground to make up after falling behind early on, and lost the first end 18-21. The second end saw both players demonstrating a strong game plan from the start. Lee played some excellent tight drop shots and won many points from good line calls; but once again the Sheffield player proved too strong and took the second end 17-21 to ensure York lost the first game of the match.
The second game saw York’s second singles player and badminton men’s captain Micky Murtagh face Sheffield’s first single’s player, a very highly ranked opponent. The Hallam player’s skill was immediately evident, but Murtagh fought back, wining points following some outstanding rallies. The first end went to Sheffield 7-21 and, although Murtagh improved his game in the second end by reducing the speed of the match and focusing on net play, the second end also went to the Sheffield player 11-21.
The doubles proved to be more successful for the York side with Hazrul Muhammad and Andrew Henderson facing Sheffield’s second team. Muhammad and Henderson were dominant from the start, with Muhammad demonstrating skilled and varied serving and Henderson often moving in to kill the returning shot. The first end was 21-9 to York and the second end followed suit 21-8 to give York a convincing win.
York’s second pair made up of Oli Hoult and James Southwell struggled with their consistency in the first end and played many shots out or into the net. In the end they managed to secure a tight 21-19 win. In the second end the pair seemed to settle into the match more and dominated resulting in a 21-13 win.
The match then went back to the singles with Lee now facing Sheffield’s first player. In the first end Lee was overpowered, winning his few points with a lot of skill at the net, but losing 5-21. The second end proved to be a great match although, unfortunately in the end Lee lost out 17-21.
Murtagh began his second singles match well and with strong crowd support outplayed his opponent to secure a 21-18 win the first end. His fortunes turned in the second end however, as he made an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors and lost 8-21. The third end, now critical to ensure a York win, was hard fought but the Sheffield player pushed through the fatigue to secure a 14-21 victory and take the chance of a win away from York.
The doubles were therefore, critical to ensure that the York side didn’t record a loss. Muhammad and Henderson continued to play consistently strong badminton resulting in a 21-10 win in the first end. In the second the Sheffield pair upped their game but were still unable to overpower the pair and they won once more, 21-18.
The final match saw Hoult and Southwell take on the Sheffield 2nd pair. This game saw the pair work exceptionally together to win the first end a comfortable 21-11. Both Hoult and Southwell played a strong aggressive game in the second end to take it 21-13 and ensure the draw for the York side.
Overall, captain Murtagh was pleased with the performance of the team especially given the strength of the singles players. The York side will face Sunderland’s 1st team next on the 27th of November.