Sports writer Bradley West reports on what happened at the 2017 edition of Finals Night in the Premier League DartsWritten by Bradley West on 20th May 2017
Badminton men make a racquet as glory beckons
Birmingham 1sts – 7 Southampton 1sts – 1 Wednesday afternoon saw the Munrow Sports Hall play host to the first round of the BUCS knockout competition, featuring Birming...
Birmingham 1sts - 7
Southampton 1sts - 1
Wednesday afternoon saw the Munrow Sports Hall play host to the first round of the BUCS knockout competition, featuring Birmingham's badminton first team against their Southampton counterparts. Last year Birmingham managed to reach the semi-finals and according to captain James Lauder that is also the target this time round: 'This game will probably be our strongest opposition and if we progress we should hopefully reach the semis.' In this round, Birmingham and Southampton were fighting for a place in the quarterfinals.
Richard Collier was first up for Birmingham, winning two straight sets against Carter. Collier convincingly overcame his opposite number in the first set 21-9 and won the second 21-15. In his second match, against Wrigley, the highlight had to be the rally of eleven volleys between the two players, culminating in Collier winning the point. Collier then showed how varied his game could be, winning the next point with two soft drop-shots with the last descending just over his opponent's net. Southampton lost 21-12 and 21-13.
In the other singles match, Birmingham's Mark Cappleman narrowly lost the first set 21-16 to Kevin Wrigley and the second set was to prove no different, as he fought hard attempting to take the game into a third set. Unfortunately, despite reducing Southampton's winning margin of 17-13 to 17-17, Wrigley took the initiative once more and won 21-15. Cappleman did not let this disappointment affect him as he battled hard in his second match to defeat Jonny Carter by two sets to one, both times only allowing his opponent to score 12 points.
In the doubles matches James Lauder and Andy Wainwright proved to be a very balanced team, with Lauder's serve causing problems for both doubles teams they played and Wainwright's powerful volleyed shots proving difficult too much to return. Lauder demonstrated his commitment as captain by desperately diving across the court to successfully return one shot, although James Todd and Daniel Parish-Matheson ultimately won the point. However, his determination to win was rewarded with a 21-4 victory in the first set followed by a 21-2 win in the second.
Doug Furze and Paul Scott represented Birmingham in the other doubles match, defeating Alex Smith and Matt Fitt 21-10 and 21-12. Their second match, as the score line indicated, was a narrowly fought game. The away side of James Todd and Daniel Parish-Matheson won the first set 14-21 but the Brum duo remained resolute, fighting to take the game into a deciding set, beating Southampton 21-18. The third set was anyone's game as sequences of rallies followed with every point mattering to both sides. The set swung both ways but Birmingham eventually won 21-19, courtesy of Scott's powerful smash shots forcing the opposition to play at the home team's pace, mixed with some nice shots from Furze dipping just over the opponent's net.
Coach Lorraine Cole was proud of her side's 7-1 victory, saying 'it was a good day at the office. I couldn't have asked for anymore: very solid performances, winning the tight three-set games. We have a good quality of depth in all three teams.' The badminton team now await their opponents in the next round with the last eight clubs remaining.