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Women's badminton back to winning ways against city rivals

The women's badminton team completed a league double over neighbours York St. John University on Wednesday, winning 5-3. (Thumbnail credit Image: Philippa Grafton)

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The women's badminton team completed a league double over neighbours York St. John University, and, with third-placed Durham seconds unable to halt the progress of unbeaten league-leaders Northumbria University, the York team's position as the division's second-best was further strengthened.

Last week's defeat away at Northumbria brought an end to the York team's five-match winning streak and all but dashed any hopes of overtaking the Tyne and Wear side for promotion, but, although second place is all that York can realistically hope for in the league, the win bodes well for next week's rematch against our city rivals in the BUCS Northern Conference Cup quarter-final tie.

Although the win felt relatively comfortable for the home side, things could have been very different had singles player Charlotte Crosby not made it to court. The latecomer was ferried to the Sports Centre just in time to compete and had she not been present to defeat YSJ's substandard second singles player 21-0, 21-0 the match would have been drawn.

Before Crosby had arrived, Rachael Farrington laid down a marker for the home team, beating St. John captain and first singles player Nikki Hainsworth over a hard-fought three ends in the first game. In the first doubles game, York's premier pairing of Jenny Eyes and Clare Breare narrowly lost to YSJ's Joy Wong and Natalie Jones.

Images: Philippa Grafton

Beth Cowell and Louise 'Big Lou' Kemp won in slightly laboured fashion against St. John's Wightman and Crisp 21-13, 21-16 before Crosby arrived to give York a 3-1 lead overall; the St. John no match for the former England junior, unable to register a single point in the match.

York captain Eyes and Breare were given a surprisingly tough match by the weaker St. John pair of Wightman and Crisp but did enough to win in two ends 22-20, 21-18 and Crosby took to the court to face YSJ's Hainsworth knowing that victory over the player teammate Rachael Farrington had earlier defeated would be enough to secure the points for her side. Crosby struggled against the St. John captain, though, putting Farrington's victory into context, and the St. John team could still hope to draw the match going into the final two matches.

Just as they had been for Eyes and Breare, Wong and Jones were too strong for York's Kemp and Cowell so the pressure was on Rachael Farrington to follow up her earlier win against the weaker opposition of Jess Waring, but a lapse from York's star turn was not forthcoming and she comfortably won the game 21-0, 21-0, and the match ended 5-3 in York's favour.

York's second university will be given a chance to avenge the defeat next week, though, as they return to Heslington to contest a quarter-final cup tie but they will have to improve quickly if they are to prove themselves as a credible stumbling block in Eyes and co's passage to the semi-final.



Doubles: Jenny Eyes (c), Clare Breare
Louise Kemp, Beth Cowell
Singles: Charlotte Crosby and Rachael Farrington

York St. John

Doubles: Joy Wong, Natalie Jones
Hannah Wightman, Jaz Crisp
Singles: Nikki Hainsworth (c) and Jess Waring

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