Newcastle badminton men's seconds continued an unbeaten streak in the BUCS Northern 3B League. After a tasty 8-0 victory against York seconds last week and sat at the top of the table, the lads were hungry for more wins. Newcastle's opponents this week were the Sheffield seconds, who were sat in second. Like Newcastle, Sheffield were unbeaten going into the game. It was a battle at the top of the table, and it did not disappoint.
On the first court, dynamic doubles duo Ryan Jackson and Jeremy Revell were ready to do some damage to the Sheffield second seeds. The Newcastle first seeds had a dominant start in their first game, and really fazed Sheffield at times with their powerful smashes. Sheffield were stunned by this and resulted in them hitting the net more times than a dissertation student hitting the booze. Newcastle took the first game 21-11.
Sheffield weren't going to take this lying down, and really fought back in the second game. As Sheffield got more and more into the game, Jackson and Revell became visibly more frustrated. At times Newcastle showed sparks of class, as they poured their frustrations into the game, their playing style became more aggressive and really threw Sheffield at times. Alas this wasn't enough, and Sheffield pulled it back to win the game 16-21 and take the match to 1-1.
The doubles match rattled down to a thrilling third and final game. Newcastle opened with a quick and fast rally to set the pace for the rest of the game. Jackson and Revell moved around the court more, and showed more domination. Some powerful, hard-hitting shots from Revell really forced Sheffield to react quickly. Sheffield quickly found some more energy and challenged the Newcastle duo to really move around more.
The game was littered with quicker and faster rallies compared to the previous two. As the game trickled closer to the end, both Sheffield and Newcastle had the chance to finish it but the points kept moving backwards and forwards. Eventually, Newcastle snatched it to win 25-23 and win the match.
In their second game against the Sheffield doubles firsts, Jackson and Revell couldn't find the energy they needed to defeat the Sheffield pair. Although again Newcastle displayed some solid pieces of movement, Sheffield were hitting hard whilst Newcastle were hitting the net. Newcastle produced some more aggressive play and a series of good smashes, particularly from Jackson but this wasn't enough and Sheffield won the first game 14-21.
The second game saw some good bits of teamwork from the Newcastle duo as they glided across the court, but Sheffield responded well to the pressure put on them. Newcastle upped the pace and forced Sheffield to make mistakes, but again Sheffield reacted well and took the game narrowly 18-21.
Elsewhere on court, Newcastle doubles second seeds, Prakash Navaneetharajah (Nava) and Jeremy Liew had a decent day. Although they lost their first match against Sheffield's first seeds 13-21 and 14-21, they pulled it back in their second game to beat Sheffield's seconds 11-21, 21-19 and 21-18. Additionally, Newcastle's singles second seed Quincy did well, he beat Sheffield's first seed 21-19, 20-22 and 21-16 to get another point on the board for Newcastle. However, he couldn't quite muster a win against the Sheffield second seed and was narrowly defeated 17-21, 21-18 and 16-21.
It was a very good day for the Newcastle singles first seed, James Ashcroft. Ashcroft won his first match against the Sheffield second seed 21-12 and 21-17. Going into his next match against the Sheffield first seed, he must have been feeling confident as fellow teammate Quincy had beaten the first seed earlier on. Ashcroft's confidence shone through as he delicately performed drop shot after drop shot to overwhelm the Sheffield first seed.
Sheffield's player was becoming more and more frustrated and began to make more mistakes, letting Ashcroft take the first game 21-17. Sheffield came back into the game and began to turn the pressure up on Newcastle. Although Newcastle intially struggled to put points on the board he soon got back into the game. Ashcroft was like a puppet-master as he had Sheffield running all over the court at his command. He took the second game 21-17 too, and won the match overall.
Newcastle made the Sheffield steel look more like jelly as they remain at the top of the table and unbeaten in the league. Newcastle are on the prowl for more wins as they face Sheffield Hallam seconds in two weeks time.
DISCLAIMER: I was reliably informed that in my last match report for the Newcastle badminton men's seconds that I misspelt a team member's name. I would therefore like to issue an apology to Prakash Navaneetharajah for my unforgivable unprofessionalism that occurred last time.