Photography by Anna Hughes
The University of Kent’s shuttler’s took to the court, racquet in hand, ready to outplay their Christ Church opponents. With non-stop captivating action taking place on the four courts at one time, there was always something for UKC supporters to be cheering about; a convincing victory was served in UKC’s direction, 8-0 to the Men and 6-2 to the Women.
The rules of Badminton require players to gain 21 points to win a set and a match being best of 3 sets. Making things pretty straightforward to follow and thrilling to watch.
Dominating all 8 games, UKC’s Men’s Single and Double teams were invincible on the court and did not lose a single game! 8-0, certainly tells a story that CCCU won’t be shouting about. With set scores of 21-10, 21-4 in his first game and 21-14, 21-8 in his second, UKC’s Peter Beech demolished the opposition and was rightly smug of his victory: concluding he “won quite comfortably.” Likewise, Ken Liew took the pressure of Varsity in his stride, exceptionally impressive considering this was his first singles competition: “Varsity’s an amazing opportunity to test my skills.” For this reason, Ken elaborates he “struggled a bit initially. But I eventually settled in and felt in control of the game”; his set scores of 21-15, 21-19 and 21-16, 21-10, albeit tighter than Beech’s, still seeing no cause for concern. UKC skillfully imposed their gameplay on unsuspecting CCCU victims, who had no chance of clawing back.
The Men’s Doubles also produced fine gameplay, with both teams, Teshan Bunwaree and Narveer Doolu, Joshua Chong and Cheng Hong, all closing their sets with ease and securing wins; further adding to UKC’s unrivalled tally. Nevertheless, Bunwaree acknowledged how “CCCU put up a good fight! It took us a while to warm up, so the first game was very close. After that, we stepped up our game and they had no chance.” Similarly, the pair of Chong and Hong, got off to a relatively shaky start: “I was definitely nervous at first, but I settled in fine”, Chong admits.
Overall, the Women’s Singles games were much more closely fought than the Men’s, with CCCU’s ladies putting UKC under continuous pressure; UKC’s Shane Yeung won the majority of her sets: “Everyone is playing at their best. It’s been tough but also a very fair game.” Teammate, Afsha, entertained the crowd with a gusty fightback from 1- 0 down, to take decisive wins in the next two sets, with scores of 21-16, 21-15. Afsha describes the match as “very tense” but she steadied her nerves, bringing her back into contention to finish off another victory for UKC.
The Women’s Doubles equated to the men’s performances, by winning all their games. Consistently preventing CCCU from accumulating points, both pairs managed to confine their opponents to single digit scores; Sophie Palacci and Amber Potman winning their games with 21-7, 21-9, and Nele Ewers-Peters and Peggy Ng with 21-7, 21-7. Palacci, the Women’s Team Captain, spoke very highly of all the team’s performance and was unable to knock a smile off her face: “I’m very proud of all the girls. Everyone played brilliantly.”
There was no weak link in UKC’s line up; they all put on an outstanding display of their talent in singles and doubles, men’s and women’s matches. Beech praises the opportunity Varsity brings: “With all the crowd present there’s a great atmosphere which don’t usually get. No matter what sport, everyone gets into the spirit!” High in spirits, it was UKC’s Badmintons turn to lift the Varsity banner for UKC, once more.