The Leeds Women’s first team provided Loughborough with a stiff test at the Edge on Wednesday. With a host of England players in their ranks, it would prove to be a daunting test for the home side.
Team captain Rae Larmour made a good start in the singles, and was just edged out in the opening game 21-18, before the match was put to bed in the second game 21-13.Leeds’ other singles player Helena Lewczynska put in the most ruthless display of the tie in her first match, demonstrating superb reflexes and deadly smashing to comprehensively beat her opponent 21-2, 21-11.
Next up were the doubles partnerships of Harriet West and Jojo Minihan, and Ellie Travers and Vanessa Gill. Harriet and Jojo were always going to find it tough against their top pairing and lost 21-9, 21-9. Meanwhile, Ellie and Vanessa were engaged in a close battle, taking a nail-biting first game 21-19. They were pegged back in the following game 21-15, but showed poise and clinical finishing to take the decider 21-13.
Helena and Rae then took to the court again. Helena’s second match was a much closer affair, but she still won comfortably 21-14, 21-12. Rae’s match started off evenly, but her opponent eventually came through to win 21-13, 21-11.
With the scores level at 3 wins each, Harriet and Jojo’s attempt to edge ahead got off to a rocky start, before coming back superbly to force a deciding game. However, Loughborough proved too strong in the final game and won the match 21-10, 18-21, 21-13. Ellie and Vanessa had to win the final match if we Leeds going to tie the contest, but they had the misfortune of facing a duo in inspired form. There were some competitive rallies, but Leeds were well beaten in the end 21-10, 21-6.
Despite losing overall, Leeds exceeded expectations against what is considered to be the best women’s university badminton team in the country and there were some excellent performances from those involved.
Image courtesy of Leeds University