Match report: Suffolk Saxons miss out on AJ Bell National Badminton League final after home defeat to strong University of Nottingham side
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’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.
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.
You may also want to watch:
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.
- 1 Machinery to be sold following the loss of 'passionate' farmer
- 2 Town co-owner Bakay on future of Portman Road name
- 3 Band and singer pull out of Latitude Festival due to positive Covid tests
- 4 'I am very, very excited' - Town teenager Gibbs completes Norwich move
- 5 Sought-after Felixstowe beach hut sells for £88K
- 6 How bride paid £1 for vintage wedding dress
- 7 Empty shelves as 'pingdemic' takes its toll on Suffolk's supply chain
- 8 Town Transfer Talk: Latest on Coulson, Crooks, Bishop and Downes
- 9 Bin lorry driver ran over colleague's leg in Kesgrave
- 10 5 places to avoid the crowds in Suffolk this summer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.