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By Sandeep Sharma on 15.3.2024

Varsity 2010: Kent Badminton edged out by Christ Church

Breaking tradition, Kent conceded the fixture to their Canterbury rivals by the tightest of margins, after a disputed draw appeared to materialise. Matt ‘Westy’ Westwood declared it a “solid effort all round, just unlucky on the day.”

Drawn on 4 matches, the result was measured on rubbers which were split at 9-9; subsequently the calculators came out for a points comparison, only to determine 292 each; CCCU were claiming an extra 3 points that Kent was unwilling to acknowledge. The Captains agreed to replay the disputed matches at a later date. A later conversation with KU Sports Sabbatical, James Budge reminded Kent of the application of BUCS scoring rules of Varsity fixtures, which meant an accounting of rubbers in the first singles and doubles matches, which came to 3-2 in their favour.

Weeks before the contest, the team were confident of flattening a Christ Church side that had won the South Eastern Conference Men’s 4B League, highlighting the fact that they stood in the top division of 1A, albeit from which they were subsequently relegated.

On the day, the Captain, Oliver Crabb, altered the teamsheet, unperturbed by the foreign territory of the 2 year old CCCU Sports Centre; William Tang, a week after making his 2nd Team debut, lined up for his first competitive singles matches while Westwood, keen to affirm his doubles credentials, with which he is evidently more comfortable, partnered Sam McDonough.

Tang had a torrid start and was beaten 21-12 and 21-7; higher expectations of burden were placed upon the taller shoulders of Jimmy Lam, but alas he was outclassed by their first choice singles player, who looked considerably older than the other students present. A hardened Kent support, twice that of the home crowd, cheered on the doubles players determined to grind out a result from 2-0 down.

And deliver they did; Westwood and McDonough came back from a game down, lost 22-20, smashing home the last point of the second game for 15-21, before taking the final game to the wire. McDonough’s long serve on 18-20 for the match, told of the pressure they were under, but Christ Church could only push for an insufficient couple of points. Westwood rallied the crowd, “told you I’m a doubles specialist!”

Yuxiang Zhang and Jonathan Yu were on fine form to blast their opponents 6-21 and 14-21. At 2 matches apiece, the wind was thought to be blowing in Kent’s favour, but Tang was only briefly in the eye of the storm, swept aside 8-21 and 10-21. Lam, keen to keep our flag waving, consistently rallied, dropped and smashed as the man on the other side of the net kicked at the shuttle in frustration of his single digit points totals.

Delicately poised at 3-3, Westwood and McDonough took it in their stride, comfortably defeating Christ Church 6-21 and 12-21. The focus turned to the last match where the ‘Great Wall’ had the mildly easier task of being able to afford a game loss, providing the match was won. They dispatched with the first game 16-21, Zhang jokingly gesturing to the away support that they were too vocal. CCCU pulled away after 5 points each in the second, increasing a four point lead to seven and levelling the match at 21-14. The final game saw some frantic rallying from both sides, but Kent could only manage a point lead twice, at best, faltering at the last with 18 points.

Varsity 2010 was won by Kent, who beat Christ Church 17-15 to take the cup.


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