Match report: Race for AJ Bell National Badminton League final places will go to last match night after Team Derby defeat Suffolk Saxons

Suffolk Saxons' women's doubles duo of Sarah Walker (nearest) and Julie Finne-Ipsen in action away a

Suffolk Saxons' women's doubles duo of Sarah Walker (nearest) and Julie Finne-Ipsen in action away atTeam Derby on Monday, January 23, 2017. Photo: Simon Lee Photography - Credit: Archant

Coming from behind has been the speciality of the Suffolk Saxons in their debut National Badminton League season but their attempts to do it again on Monday night proved a step too far.

In a match which, as several recent Saxons games have, was decided by the last available point of the fifth game of the fifth event, hosts Team Derby eventually put an end to the Suffolk side’s winning streak.

Monday night’s game was just the Saxons’ second defeat this season but, such is the nature of the NBL in which sides play just six fixtures, it could end their hopes of qualifying for the end-of-season final on February 8.

Team Derby fielded three Rio Olympians on the night including Marcus Ellis, GB’s bronze medallist.

In the opening event of the evening, Sean Vendy and Fee Teng Liew had the tough task of facing Ellis and fellow Olympian Lauren Smith.

Unfortunately the young Saxons pair was pressured into a few too many errors and the 3-1 scoreline reflected that extra experience of the Derby duo.

The night was levelled by Suffolk’s Julie Finne-Ipsen, unbeaten in the NBL this season, who dismantled Malaysian Lyddia Cheeah’s game with power, precision and a great game plan. She recorded a 3-0 win.

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Young Saxons talent Johnnie Torjussen was up against Olympian and Irish number one Scott Evans in the men’s singles.

The 3-0 loss gave Team Derby a 2-1 match night lead before Finee-Ipsen returned with women’s doubles partner Sarah Walker.

Not for the first time this season the Saxons girls found themselves 2-0 down – but, as they have previously, turned the event around to win 3-2 and square the night 2-2.

Normally at this stage the men’s doubles pair of Andy Ellis and Vendy pull off an incredible victory against strong opponents to clinch the match for Suffolk, but Monday was perhaps the exception which proves the rule.

Derby’s Ellis and Nico Ruponen were taken to a tie-break fifth game but held on to win the night for the hosts.

The Saxons are now fourth in the league ahead of their final game against Nottingham on February 6.

With all event points counting in the league a strong win for Suffolk in Ipswich next month, coupled with a favourable score in the Loughborough v Derby match the same night, could see the Saxons make the final in their debut season – what a way to introduce themselves.

AJ Bell NBL table

Team Played Points

Birmingham Lions 6 16

Team Derby 5 15

Loughborough Lightning 5 15

Suffolk Saxons 5 13

University of Nottingham 4 10

Surrey Smashers 5 9

Bristol Jets 4 7

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