By Mie Ostergaard: Badminton players from Staffordshire University made their mark at the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) Badminton Championships.
While no Staffs players fought through to the final day of the three-day event, there were still some notable performances.
First-team captain Gareth Samuel and Michael Dunn both won their individual first-round ties before bowing out in the second round.
Meanwhile, Janine Hickie won her Women’s singles first round tie but also fell at the second hurdle, to England’s Georgina Bland.
Said Hickie: “It is very nerve-wracking to play against such a good player and feel that you are making mistakes and not giving your best performance.
“Our players had bad draws in comparison to other universities, but we showed great team spirit, communication and bonding as a group.”
Over 400 players from 60 universities made the journey to the University of Nottingham for the tournament, which began last Friday.
Staffs attended for the first time in 2010 with just five players. This year that figure was doubled.
There was drama in the Men’s doubles, where Samuel and partner David Stupples lost their first set against opponents from Teeside University 21-18. It was 9-9 in the second set when both players went for the same shuttle and Stupples was hit in the face by Samuel’s racket, causing a cut above the eye-lid.
The cut was patched-up so that they could finish the set, which they lost 21-16, and afterwards Stupples was taken to hospital for a check-up.
In the Women’s doubles Hickie and Jessica Abbey, along with Symone Dale and Carys Mitchell, both won their first round matches but went out in the next round.
Staffs second-team captain Matt Bristow, who attended as a spectator, said: “The event showcased some amazing players.
“Watching them at the BUCS tournament has been something of a fascination. It is often easy to forget how average you are as a player, until you see the likes of Lim Kenn from Leeds Metropolitan University, who regularly competes at national level.”