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London Varsity Series 2020: BADMINTON

A quiet Sunday afternoon in South London was interrupted by the screeches at the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, where was hosted this year’s edition of Badminton Varsity. As the teams were warming up, the fans joined in with boom sticks and giant foam fingers – a great atmosphere all-round. The matches were all best-of-3s with 21 points required to win the set.

Let’s keep it short – it did not go well. It kickstarted with three losses in as many matches in the Mixed Doubles’ category. The first of those games went to the third set, which the boys in red (more accurately garnet colour) eventually lost 21-17, the same score on which they had won the first set before losing the second one 21-13. That set was sadly the only one we managed to win in this category. However, this was thoroughly undeserved as most sets were very contested. The very tight second match finished on 21-18, 24-22 to UCL though our athletes did a great job at turning the tide after a difficult start to the match. Finally, the third showdown had us outmatched on 21-16, 21-16.

With the Singles’ category came our first win of the day, Gemma Atkins doing KCL proud by winning in two sets on the exceptional score of 21-9, 21-10. Her opponent was no match for her as Gemma showcased a nice skill set of drop shots and smashes. The cheers were loud from the red side, coupled with the boom sticks resonating in the hall. It would prove to be our only win in the Singles’ though as the other Women’s match was lost on 21-6, 21-13. It was also an unlucky day for our two boys who lost their matches respectively on 21-15, 21-12, and 21-11, 21-17. Gower had come well prepared and tired our players straight from the start which made the rest of the matches even more difficult.

Indeed, when it came to the Doubles’ category, the KCL athletes struggled. The first Men’s doubles ended in two sets on 21-13, 21-15 with UCL displaying some very impressive defensive abilities despite some great returns from our side. The second match also resulted in a loss in two sets, though KCL’s duo was very unlucky to not win a set, as the final score showed: 21-19, 24-22. The Women’s Doubles provided mixed emotions. The first game saw a 21-17, 21-14 loss to the girls in purple, however the other duo brought home the second win of the day with again a great performance from Gemma, partnered by Selena Wu. The partnership worked perfectly as seen in a particular rally of net shots – 21-19, 20-22, 21-13 would be the final score, featuring a dominant third set that made sure we ended the day on a high note.

It had nevertheless ended on 9-2 overall to UCL in a discipline that traditionally has not been the best to us at Varsity. Several matches were lost in two sets and UCL continued their streak. Hopefully next year’s edition will end this horrible development.

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