Blues favourites for 8th straight Varsity

Sport University Sport

After eight high-paced matches in an hour, the men’s badminton 1st team produced an emphatic victory over Bristol, shaking off their bad start to the season. Before the fixture, the Blues were fourth in the BUCS Premier South League, one place below their opponents; however this win ensured that they rose to third place and gave them a good chance of securing a bye in the first round of the championship as well as avoiding relegation.

Both singles players secured solid victories for the Blues, as Alistair Reed and Matt Harris, first and second singles respectively, won in straight sets against their opponents. Playing against the Bristol 1st seed Phil Sayer, Reed raced ahead in the first set with some great drop volleys and smashes, eventually winning it 21-17. The second set was a much more tightly contested event, with high paced rallies at the net and neither players seeming to quite catch the momentum as points were exchanged back and forth. Although Sayer’s speed and retrieval around the court was impressive, Reed was too strong and with a sharp smash into the back corner, eventually won the exchange 21-17, 21-19.

The second seed Matt Harris was also in good form, winning both his matches in straight sets. Harris got off to a great start against the Bristol second seed Pascal, as he won the first set 21-11. However Pascal was a constant threat in the second and it was only a few points between them as Harris managed to close it out in two, winning the encounter 21-19 with a shot gone long from Pascal.

Mike Senior and Chris Lim both had quick comprehensive wins over the first and second doubles teams, beating them 21-11, 21-7 and 21-11, 21-14 respectively. The doubles first seeds were inscrutable and dominated both matches.. The closest encounter at Iffley however were the second seeds Joseph Skornia and George Heinemann; in both their ties they were pushed to a final set but came away with impressive victories against a powerful Bristol team.

With a whitewash win against Bristol, the Men’s 1st captain Mike Senior was happy about the season. “We had a bad start…and we lost the first three games”, he said, “partly because two of our key players weren’t there last time”. However with an 8-0 win against Bristol, the game difference is in favour of Oxford and with an upcoming fixture against Southampton, Senior is confident about his team. “We beat them last time”, he said, “and now we have our full strength team”.

The rest of the badminton squad have also had a successful season so far, with the men’s 2nd and women’s 1st hoping for a promotion in their respective leagues.

Asked about the Varsity match against Cambridge later this term, Men’s 1st Team Captain, Mike Senior was optimistic about their chances. “We should win”, he said, “we have more depth in the squad”. The Dark Blues dominated in last year’s fixture, with the men’s 1st team taking a 7th straight victory, only losing one match in the process. Hopefully they can make it eight in a row.

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