The women’s badminton team were able to defend last year’s Varsity victory, winning the contest 6-2 and in doing so, displayed great promise for the rest of the season. The University side were initially met with stiff competition from their arch-rivals, but as the day progressed the side proved to be the fitter of the two universities both physically and mentally.
Though The Gryphons entered the fixture as firm favourites (having won beaten Beckett last year) the underdogs were quick to show that they were not merely cannon fodder in the grand scheme of the Varsity tournament. The first round of doubles was ended in swift and efficient fashion by first- teamers Ellie Travers and Joanna Minihan who were able to constantly force errors from their opponents and test them physically with some intelligent shots both at the net and from the baseline. Following this, first-team singles player Serena Midha won her first match in two straight games and yet the subsequent matches of the first round proved increasingly testing.
Second-team singles player Hannah Down was unable to hold her own against a sharp looking Beckett first team player and (despite offering up valiant and impressive opposition) lost in straight games: a result that did not necessarily reflect the competitiveness of the match. Meanwhile, the Gryphon’s doubles second team were up against the Beckett first team in a match that proved far more tense and far less one-sided than one might initially anticipate from a mismatch of a first team against a section team. University players, Phillipa Wauman and Ashleigh Buck showed a gritty determination which put their opponents under real pressure at times, as the Beckett girls often struggled to return powerful baseline serves and well executed drop–shots. The university side lost however, and the second round of matches began with the score at 2-2.
The match that followed (between Serena and her first-team counterpart) was arguably both the most pivotal and most entertaining match of the day. The match lasted three games, with Serena losing the first. Consequently, the next few minutes were crucial. Luckily it appeared as though Serena’s composure and fitness allowed her to break down her opponent, who soon began to seem flustered as the Gryphon served-up fast-paced shots which required too much mental and physical exertion for the Beckett player to handle. This University win seemed to take its toll on the Beckett players, who collectively seemed fatigued towards the latter stages of the day.
The Gryphons finished the competition with a certain ruthless efficiency and as a result, the team convincingly won all their remaining matches. It certainly seems as though the Varsity crown of women’s badminton is not one which the Gryphons are willing to relinquish any time soon.
Featured image: The Gryphon