Newcastle Men's seconds were in action against Liverpool Men's firsts last week as part of the Northern Conference Cup, losing 5-3 against their highly ranked opponents. Last season, the men's seconds reached the quarter finals of the Northern Conference Cup but were knocked out by our very own Newcastle firsts.
The seconds have had a strong start to the BUCS season so far, with two 7-1 wins against Leeds Beckett and Hull respectively. This leaves the seconds at the top of the Northern 3B League. Liverpool 1's have also had a strong start to their BUCS season. They're at the top of the Northern 2A League with two wins under their belts. Additionally, Liverpool firsts won this cup last year.
With both teams having done well in their respective leagues so far, this cup match would certainly prove to be an interesting affair. Newcastle seconds came into the match as underdogs, especially given how Newcastle firsts were beaten 8-0 by Liverpool firsts in the Northern Conference Cup semi-finals last season.
The first batch of singles matches saw Newcastle first seed James Ashcroft lose to the Liverpool second seed 2-1. Newcastle second seed Sai Sirikonda also lost to Liverpool's first seed 2-0 to help Liverpool go 2-0 up overall. Newcastle dominated the first round of doubles matches, with the second seeded doubles pair Prahash Nava and Jeremy Liew battering the Liverpool first seeded doubles duo in just two games.
Meanwhile, over in the other doubles game, Newcastle first seeds Ryan Jackson and Jeremy Revell provided a thrilling game against Liverpool's second seeds. The first game was a close affair, with Jackson and Revell stunning Liverpool with powerful smashes and cheeky drop shots. The Scouse side fought back however, and took the first game 16-21. Unfazed, Jackson and Revell fought back. The pair responded well to everything thrown at them and their movement across the court was majestic to react to some tricky shots from Liverpool. This great response saw Newcastle take the second game 21-16. Jackson and Revell remained calm and relatively composed in the penultimate game. After a frustrating poor start for Liverpool, the tempo of this game was really cranked up a notch as Newcastle had a sudden burst of energy to put in a solid performance. Although a tight game, Jackson and Revell came out the victors, winning the game 24-22 and the match overall. Newcastle and Liverpool were equal at 2-2.
The next batch of matches saw Liverpool continue to dominate the singles category. Ashcroft put up a passionate performance against the Liverpool first seed. Ashcroft displayed the ability to change the pace of the game well, starting his games gently then quickly moving into a succession of fast-paced rallies. However, Liverpool reacted well to Ashcroft's drop shots and smashes, and they won the match. For second seed Sirikonda his second game was immensely close at 19-21, but he couldn't quite handle Liverpool's second seed, leaving Liverpool to win these singles games and go 4-2 up overall.
In the second round of doubles games, Newcastle and Liverpool's second seeded pairs faced each other. Nava and Liew were unfortunate and narrowly missed out after taking the second seeds to a third game. On the centre court, first seeds Jackson and Revell put on another impressive display against the Liverpool first seeds. Reflected in their 21-4 and 21-7 score lines, Jackson and Revell dominated their games with their great movement around the court and rattled Liverpool with a series of smashes.
However, this hearty performance by Newcastle wasn't enough and Liverpool take a narrow 5-3 victory and a place in the next stage of the cup back to Merseyside with them. Although Newcastle have been knocked out of the cup, they can take away many positives from this performance when they return to BUCS action against York seconds next week.