The badminton club embarked on Sheffield again for the annual BUCS Nationals last weekend in high spirits.
Let’s start with the ground rules. For badminton, BUCS weekend consists of singles and doubles events for men and women and a mixed doubles event, each consisting of 128 entries. The tournament is a straight knock out from 128 to 1, with the semi-finals being the first place Newcastle can earn invaluable BUCS points.
The weekend kicked off on a high. Two out of three of our Womens Singles’ (WS) entries were seeded, immediately reaching the last 32 of the draw without breaking sweat. So was one of our Womens’ Doubles (WD) entries. Unfortunately, the rest of Newcastle’s entries had to battle it out from 128.
“Day 1 saw an unseeded Luca fight all his way from 128 up to the last 32 in the Mens Singles”
Day 1 saw an unseeded Luca fight all his way from 128 up to the last 32 in the Men’s Singles (MS) before being knocked out by a seeded entry. Not a bad first run at this competition for our first-timer. Other high points of the day included Jack and Cara making it through the first round of the mixed whilst seeded Aika Nagai and CiCi Lu sat getting cold as they waited for the competition to hot up.
Day 2 saw the start of the doubles competition, unfortunately our men couldn’t quite pip the competition with 2 of our MDs entries being knocked out in the first round. Andy Shaw and Steve Hallett (who came out of post-graduate retirement for the contest) provided some Team Newcastle dominance by progressing to the last 64.
Next for the WD. Cara Vincenti and Maria Hall narrowly missed out in the first round whilst Beckah Puttick and Izzy Cain progressed to the last 32 of the tournament before being knocked out by the top seeds.
“Aika had to go one better making it to the quarter-finals”
Afterwards, CiCi and Aika finally got to play some badminton. They both progressed excellently in the WS event with CiCi making it to the last 16 of the contest before losing out to a Loughborough lady (who swore heavily at the crowd for not supporting her).
Aika had to go one better making it to the quarter-finals, putting herself in the top 5-8 WS players at university level in the country, before being knocked out by the number 1 seed and ultimate winner.
Day 3 was finals day, the whole team arrived to support Aika and CiCi on their triumphant WD campaign. They made it all the way to the QFs before being devastatingly pipped at the post in a dramatic three-ender losing 19-21, 21-12, 19-21.
This is the closest our club has ever been to achieving individual BUCS points at this competition with our women showing why they deserve to be top of their league and some good progression from the men. We’re sure next year we’ll be even stronger.