Badminton Life

Welsh Struggle Against the English

After defeating Scotland for the first time ever at the British University Badminton Championships, the Welsh team was taking on their English counterparts hopeful of following up their success.

Competing in Scotland, the local observers were able to put aside the memories of the Scottish defeat by the Welsh and cheer on the team who were facing England. No matter the sport, no matter the time of year, Scotland's rivalry with England is always going to take precedence so the Welsh were guaranteed of local support.

Hopes were high but up against a very strong English select it was never going to be an easy challenge for the Welsh to succeed and unfortunately this turned out to be the case and the 10-0 victory to England was by no means an undeserved margin. Vikki Jones was close to clinching one victory for the Welsh team but narrowly lost out in a third set match and with it went the best chance of the Welsh team avoiding a whitewash defeat.

The Welsh team was naturally despondent at this result but had no time to mope and was quickly up against the English second team. The tournament should have featured Northern Ireland but they never took part in the tournament and it was agreed that the English would enter a second string team into the tournament. Given the population of all the countries, it should come as no surprise that England is able to provide a number of strong teams in comparison to their UK relations but there was still hope of the Welsh defeating the English B team.

The Welsh team got off to the best start when Cardiff's Raj Popat won a three set match over Tony Gibson and the closeness of this tie was followed by another two 3 set matches but unfortunately Wales lost out in both of these match-ups.

Yet again, Raj Popat proved to be leading light in the Welsh team as he and partner Nic Strange won the first match of the Mens Doubles to make the score 3-2 in favor of the English. This two set match was the clearest victory of the overall tie so far but again, England recovered and won the remaining two Men's Doubles tie. When the score went to 6-2, England had an unassailable lead but Wales managed to clinch victory in one of the Men's Doubles ties and the final score was 7-3 to the English side.

The strength of the English badminton sides was shown by their team finishing first and second in the overall group but some pleasure for the Welsh team came in finishing third. This condemned host nation Scotland to fourth and final place, which was a huge disappointment for all concerned.

Whilst no one expects the Welsh team to reach the heights scaled by their English counterparts, the battling performance against the second English team will give the Welsh hope that their development and standing in the world of badminton will rise.

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