By Gareth Samuel: Staffordshire University’s 1st and 2nd Men’s Badminton teams both advanced to the last 16 of BUCS Midlands Conference Cup for the first time.
The 2nds currently sit bottom of the Midlands 3B league without a point after three games. But a fine 6 – 2 home win against Anglia Ruskin on Wednesday maintained hopes of a good cup run.
First-seed doubles Ben Edge and Christian Pengelley made a fine start, with great net play from Pengelley and powerful smashing from Edge easing them home 21 – 6, 21 – 5 in their first match and 21 – 16, 21 – 10 in their second contest.
Second-seeds Matthew Bristow and Mohammed Nasir also triumphed twice. They got off to a shaky start when they lost the opening set of their first match 19 – 21, but recovered to win the next two 21 – 11 and 21 – 13.
Their next match, against Anglia’s second seeds, proved easier. After both players settled into a good rhythm, they won 21 – 10, 21 – 13.
First-seed singles player Christoph Wagner won his first match in three sets against the Anglia Ruskin second seed 18 – 21, 21- 18, 21- 16. Ruskin’s first seed proved a much tougher opponent and Wagner lost the first set 21 – 14. In the second set he produced an athletic performance to frustrate his opponent and win 21 – 19. The deciding set was a real test of Wagner’s fitness as he chased the shuttlecock around the court, but unfortunately the difference in technical ability showed and Wagner lost 21 – 14.
Second-seed singles player Gareth Samuel was devastated after narrowly losing his first game against the Ruskin first seed in three sets, 13 – 21, 21 – 19 and finally 25 – 27 in what was a fantastic contest. He went some way to redeeming himself in his second game, beating Ruskin’s second seed 21 – 5 and 21 – 10.
Bristow, the 2nds captain, said: “It was a great win for us after so many bad results in the league. It was a brilliant performance by all the players and now we can look forward to a last 16 match and if we win that, who knows how far we could go.”
The 1sts were due to play Birmingham’s Newman College, but were given a walkover when Newman, unable to raise a team, forfeited the tie.
The 2nds now face Aston University on February1, while the 1sts will play Nottingham 3rds on the same day.