Badminton Life

Welsh Students Beat the Scots

It may not have been the most exciting event in the sporting calendar for 2008 but for the participants of the 2008 British University Badminton Games, the tension and excitement was the equal of what players entering the Thomas or Uber Cup or the Olympic would be facing.

For badminton players who are undertaking further education, this event allows them to pit their wits against other class players of a similar stature and is taken very seriously.

The event was being held in Scotland and the opening match was between Wales and Scotland. The two nations may share a Celtic background as well as a shared dislike of the English but there is no great love between the pair either and with the Scottish team containing a number of international layers, the odds appeared to be stacked in the favor of the home team.

The Mens Singles events started proceedings and the form book was being followed early on as Scotland took a 2-0 lead over their Welsh counterparts with Craig Goddard defeating Raj Popat in the opening game with a straight set victory. Parity was restored to the tie when the Welsh Ladies team, comprising of Caroline Harvey and Vicky Jones, turned in convincing triumphs and the scorecard was level at 2-2 before the Doubles events started.

Tom Stroud was the other Welsh male who lost in the opening matches and his run of form did not get better in the opening Men Doubles match as he and partner Alex Ewins lost out in a three set thriller. Parity was again restored to the match up with Chris Pickard and Nick Strange powering home in a convincing two set match.

The Ladies Doubles saw the Welsh team take the lead for the first time in the tie as Vicky Jones and Nicole Walkley were victorious in their tie but yet again the scores were leveled as Rachel Nurse and Jody Parker were quickly downed in two sets.

With only the Mixed Doubles left, the teams were locked together at 4-4 and again, the Welsh team took the lead in the tie with Strange and Harvey providing the skills when it mattered the most but just when Wales felt they would be able to clinch the tie at 6-4, Alex Ewins and Rachel Nurse lost a titanic three set match, with the final set scoreline being 22-20 to the Scots. Overall, the match-up score was 5-5 but Wales triumphed by having won 13 games as opposed to the 11 that Scotland managed.

It was the first time that Wales had managed to defeat Scotland at the British University Games and understandably the players, fans and management team were delighted. None more so than Barry Garnham who was making his managerial debut and what better way to spend it than clinching a victory.

It may have only been one victory and with a stern test against the English to follow there will be not time for the Welsh to celebrate too much but this victory should offer the players an increased level of confidence and further their development.

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