Image courtesy of UKC Badminton
UKC Badminton Ladies’ Team completed the perfect season by winning every match on the way to a league and cup double.
They beat Brunel Ladies’ in the final of the South-Eastern Conference Cup in Surrey on 11 March, winning by 13 points after the match was level at four games all.
It was a highly competitive match and close the whole way through, with every player winning one game each. After a nail-biting finale, the women from Kent celebrated a well-deserved victory. An amazing performance from Afsha Jameel saw her come from behind to win her final game by two sets to one. Her outstanding perseverance was praised by co-Captain Sophie Palacci and ultimately won the match for Kent. Palacci has co-captained the Ladies’ Team for the last two years alongside Bethany Richards and has seen the team go from struggling for players to winning South Eastern Division 2B and gaining promotion to Division One.
“I am really proud. Ecstatic after putting a lot of effort in over the season. Last year we were in a bit of a difficult position, we had lots of girls graduate and we didn’t have as many playing on the team” explained Palacci.
“So we sort of used it as an intermediate year to train all the girls up, get everyone ready, then came in this year at a much better standard. It was nice to see the difference, knowing how well we’d improved. All the hard work’s paid off.
“I play doubles with Stephanie Tillman. We have played together for the last two years. It was bittersweet. We played our final game together because she’s graduating at the end of this year, so it was really nice for us.”
As well as winning their own cup final the girls also got to watch UKC in the finals of the women’s hockey and women’s basketball on an all-action day at the University of Surrey, with the hockey girls making it two out of three for Kent.
UKC Badminton has had a highly successful season all-round, as The Men’s First Team also won promotion to South Eastern Division One.
President Patricia Kou will leave the club in a strong position when she graduates in July after two years in the role. She had an excellent season on the court too, winning every individual game but one.
Kou said: “This is the best year I have been in Kent. I was surprised our team actually got into the finals and won. It was great. A good way to end my undergrad."
“I’m glad to be in the team. I say we are like a family rather than a team or club. Everyone supports each other, not just about the games.” Image courtesy of UKC Badminton
UKC Badminton is open to players of all levels, from absolute beginners upwards. Though the teams themselves are highly competitive, other club games are more relaxed and often just for fun. Ladies co-Captain Palacci enthused: “It’s a great place to come and play sports, if you’ve played before or if you haven’t.”The girls hope that their success on the court will inspire more students at Kent to take up badminton in the future.