So the last time I wrote a blog, I mentioned we had one more postponed match to play against SOAS. We finally got there. The match was huge for UEL badminton as a win would result in league victory. Not too much pressure then.
The build up to the match was not ideal as all team members were not available for all training sessions – we are students after all. Injuries were also a minor factor. FYI, I am not getting the excuses out the way 😀
The journey to SOAS was just as interesting as the match itself. Mansoor driving, me at the front and the other FOUR at the back (no rozzers reading this are there?) Were you comfortable, guys??? No? Nevermind.
Even with restricted bloodflow to the outer regions of the anatomy for the guys at the back, our spirit was positive.
Our coach, Kiron, came along to be supportive and to give us playing advice. He didn’t have dead legs. Lucky him.
3 courts were available for the match, which meant a doubles pair or a singles player was able to sit on the sidelines and watch out for weaknesses in our opponents. The court surface was beautiful and great to play on but the lighting was poor. Natural light reflecting off the court was affecting our vision of the shuttlecock and sometimes caused a problem. Again, not excuses.
We started the day off with Lesh and I as the first doubles pair to go on and the two singles players, Chris and Mansoor, went on too. As usual, Mansoor was class and gave us an early lead. 1- 0. Chris seemed to be having a laugh on court and won his first match comfortably. 2-0. Lesh and I worked well together and got the team off to a flying start. 3-0.
Tousif and Nizam, you will recall, have been unable to hit peak form recently and, unfortunately, the same was true at SOAS. After their first match, Tousif threw his racquet on the floor from rage and understandably too. He was REALLY frustrated. 3-1. I can’t fault the commitment of these two and their desire to work for the team; we’ll be working hard this summer to turn the commitment into results.
Mansoor and Chris went back on after having a few minutes rest. Mansoor, once again, pulled out his best and showed his opponent what he is made of. 4-1. By the way, Mansoor emulated the Gunners in going an entire season without defeat – congratulations to him. If there was some kind of badminton awards ceremony, he would win PLAYER OF THE YEAR (hang on, there’s a thought for next year…..learn by doing, learn by doing….)
While Lesh and I were waiting for our opponents, we had our eyes on Chris’s match. We knew if Chris won his match, we would win the league. He won his first game and took a little pressure off us.
Lesh and I started off really well, identifying the weaker of our opponents and aiming our attack at him. It worked. Unfortunately, Tousif and Nizam’s luck was not getting any better. We then realised that Chris had lost his second game of his second match. Suddenly the pressure was back on us to make sure we won our second game and claim league victory. Minutes later, Tousif and Nizam had lost their match. Chris was still battling and Lesh and I were in a comfortable position. The pressure did not get to us and we claimed our second victory and the LEAGUE! We are VICTORIOUS!!! It was the most amazing feeling!!! All the hard work, injuries, headaches and stresses paid off!!! Let celebrations begin!!!
Chris ended up losing his match as did Tousif and Nizam. It mattered not in the long run as we won 5 -3. Celebrations have not started yet as we want the whole of our badminton club to be there.
I would just like to say well done and thank you to the whole team. Mansoor, Lesh, Chris, Tousif, Nizam, Gordon and Benison. A special thanks to Kiron for improving our game physically and mentally and to Katy for her efforts in making all this happen. From match arranging to equipment to training sessions. More importantly, being there for us.