Match report: Suffolk Saxons miss out on AJ Bell National Badminton League final after home defeat to strong University of Nottingham side

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017 Vendy and Ellis

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 Vendy and Ellis

It has certainly been an unforgettable debut season for the Suffolk Saxons in the National Badminton League but it has ended without an appearance in the showpiece final on Wednesday.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017

Suffolk’s newest professional sports team faced a stern test at Ipswich’s Corn Exchange in the University of Nottingham’s side and it was the visitors who triumphed to progress to Milton Keynes on February 8.

The final regular game of the season began with Saxons knowing a 3-2 win on the night was enough to put them in the mix for the top-two title playoff at centre:mk, even if it did mean they would need to rely on other results going their way. A 4-1 or 5-0 victory would have given them a good chance of qualifying.

Suffolk Saxons' last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 L-R Andy Ellis a

Suffolk Saxons' last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 L-R Andy Ellis and Sean Vendy

However the night did not start as the dream script would have been written.

The previously undefeated Julie Finne-Ipsen, first on court in the women’s singles, was defeated 3-1 by Li Lian Yang.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017


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Three of the four games were tight affairs – the one which wasn’t was Finne-Ipsen’s win – but Yang managed to close them out to give the visitors the advantage on the night.

The men’s doubles, up next with Andy Ellis and Sean Vendy for the Saxons taking on Chris Adcock and Adam Cwalina, produced one of the rallies of the night at 2-2 in the second game and, as usual, the home duo produced some outrageous shots.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017 Julie Finne-Ipsen

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 Julie Finne-Ipsen

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However the Nottingham pair asserted themselves on the event and won 3-1, putting Saxons under pressure if they wanted to keep their final hopes alive.

What they needed was a win in the women’s doubles, courtesy of Sarah Walker and Fee Teng Liew.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017

That’s exactly what they got too, the home duo seeing of Nottingham’s Jess Pugh and Yang after fighting back from two games down to play a tactically astute power play in the deciding fifth and make the overall score to 1-2.

The hosts were chasing a 3-2 win now and would have to hope other matches went their way.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017 Julie Finne-Ipsen

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 Julie Finne-Ipsen

Nottingham however knew their fate was in their own hands and pressed forward in the men’s singles.

Joel Douse was the Saxons’ man, up against Kieran Merrilees – but his luck was not in.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017

He was certainly unlucky to lose 3-0 as his strong, attacking play certainly deserved more, but in the end it was Merrilees who pushed hardest for the win to secure his side the fixture victory.

There was still a chance for a second consolation point for the Saxons in the mixed doubles, Walker and Vendy picking up the home mantle for this.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017 Anthony Clarke

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 Anthony Clarke

The first two games against Adcock and Nina Vislova both ended 9-8, the visitors then the hosts picking up a point, but again Nottingham showed their strength as they raced to a 9-1 win in the third game.

Not even a winning power play for Suffolk could help them in the fourth game as Nottingam closed out the event, and the night, their 4-1 fixture win securing them the place in the final the Saxons and their fans so coveted.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017. Suffolk Saxons f

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017. Suffolk Saxons fans were out in force at the Corn Exchange

The season ends with the hosts fifth in the table, but in such a short season that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Saxons have taken Suffolk by storm and can be justly proud of their debut season.

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017 Head coach Anthony

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 Head coach Anthony Clarke

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night
6/2/2017 L-R Vendy and Ell

Suffolk Saxons last game of NBL League season in Ipswich on Monday night 6/2/2017 L-R Vendy and Ellis

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