Ifkar Arifin, President of UCL Badminton, gives his recount of Sunday’s Varsity frivolities
It was Ladies first on Sunday 6th March, with the two women’s singles beginning play. Our first singles Jay Li was up against Stella Antoniou of KCL. Jay was going into the varsity in good form which turned out to be an important factor as after a hard fought game, she eventually won in straight sets 21-7, 21-15. Our second singles Kacy Chou seemed nervous going into the varsity games and expectations rose after Jay had won her game. Nevertheless, Kacy kept her calm and was able to beat her opponent, Apple Yeung, 21-9, 21-9. Well played girls, you put us up 2-0.
Being 2-0 up, the men’s singles were up next. The KCL men’s team is top of division 1 and is looking for promotion at the end of the season. The lads knew that they would be up against it… their thoughts became reality. We lost the first singles 19-21, 21-13, 10-21 (so it was pretty close) and Will Gao lost the second singles 19-21, 16-21. The scores were now tied at 2-2.
The women’s doubles were up next and our first pair, Jay Li and Vincy Yip, was feeling confident after Varity training the week before. This confidence helped them beat KCL’s second pair (Eleanor Cole/Yi Wang) 21-9, 21-7. The attention was then switched to Kacy and Lucy. After missing BUCS due to work commitments, Lucy was eager to get on court. However, her eagerness did not prevail as KCL’s first pair (Stella Antoniou/Barbara Dworakowska) won in a close and tight game, 18-21, 22-24. UCL and King’s could not be separated at this point, leveled at 3-3.
Sai Kin and Will Gao paired up to form the first pair in the Men’s Doubles. They were up against KCL’s second pair Tom and Matt. After both Sai Kin and Will played well in the singles, they were looking to extend this good form into the doubles. This proved to work in their advantage as they saw them off 21-18, 21-12. Having taken the lead at 4-3, it was William and Luke’s turn to step up to the occasion as second pair. They were really up against it as they played against KCL’s first pair OT and Matt. Unfortunately for UCL, the upset never came as UCL were beaten 12-21, 9-21. With the scores tied at 4-4, you could cut the tension with a badminton racket.
Jay and Vincy were now up against KCL’s first pair. This is now the half waypoint so it was crucial for us to get some victories here. This proved to be the case as Jay and Vincy were victorious after an intense game. They won 21-17, 21-14. After their first pair defeated Kacy and Lucy, they were determined to win the next game. They managed to pull of a victory after the most intense game. Lucy and Kacy won 21-18, 19-21, 21-11. After victories from the 2 pairs here, UCL were able to take the lead 6-4. Brilliant!
After leading 6-4, this put the men’s under a lot of pressure. It was now the time where both pairs would play against their corresponding number. First up, UCL’s first pair Sai kin and Will were up against OT Poon and Matt Ross. After KCL comfortably beat our second pair, Sai Kin and Will had to turn it up a notch. This worked as they won the first set 23-21. Using this as a wake up call, OT and Matt turned it up a gear and were playing at a much faster intensity. They managed to tire Will and Sai kin out and eventually won 21-23, 21-14, 21-10.
Luke and William were looking to get something out of this encounter. Both pairs lost their first match so it was all up for grabs. The match was intense; after KCL took the first set 13-21, Luke and William were fired up. William and Luke started to shout and fist pump after every point (in synchronicity of course) and I felt that a comeback was on the cards. Looking to build momentum they were stopped in their tracks when KCL won 5 points in a row. Ultimately, Luke and William’s varsity ended with defeat as they lost 13-21, 23-25. KCL now leveled the score to 6-6 and it was now down to the mixed doubles.
Our 3rd mixed doubles pair William and Olivia was up against an experience pair. Gutted that he did not win a game in the doubles, it was William’s chance to make amends. The game was exhilarating as both ladies were looking to take control of the net. Olivia was in good form and set William up nicely on many occasions. The combination play proved to work as William and Olivia won 21-6, 15-21, 21-16. This gave us a very vital lead of 7-6. Our first pair Rex and Lucy are a new pairing but a force not to be messed with. They were up against a very tough KCL pair, who looked in good form throughout. Sadly, they could not give us the overall victory as they lost 13-21, 26-24, 11-21. It all came down to the final game as the ‘relaxed and chill’ Cyrus paired up with the mixed team captain Sophia zhong. Sadly, KCL won the last game 16-21, 19-21 and KCL were 8-7 winners overall.
Weirdly enough, Men’s and Women’s count separately so as much as it 8-7 overall to King’s, UCL Women’s actually won their Varsity. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the Men’s…
Image credits: Jay Li