BADMINTON: Solid start to the season by Hunters


Round-up of opening matches

Following on from the success of last season which saw three out of five teams win promotion from their respective divisions in the Rugby and Coventry Leagues, Hunters Badminton Club have begun their season in the Rugby League with a series of internal matches due to having two teams in each of Division 1 & Division 2.

The Division 1 clashes pitted Hunters 1 v Hunters 2. In the first match Hunters 1 pairings Michal Helis & Wing To & Phil Pelton & Aseem Sharma took on Hunters 2 pairings Antonio Hui & Paul Garner & Simon Piercy & Neil Porter. A fantastic first rubber saw Hunters 1 just take both games 23-21 & 21-18. This set the scene for the rest of the match and despite hard work and effort from Hunters 2 the match was a win for the first team by 6-0.

The following week saw the return fixture with only one of the pairings remaining the same. Hunters 1 put out Michal & Wing again backed up by Antonio Hui & Shahid Mirza whilst Simon was joined by David Pugh & Neil was joined by Lee Rickard. This time the determination of Hunters 2 paid off and they were able to take 2 games from the first team and a total of 7 rubbers. This gave Hunters 1 their second victory. Shot of the evening went to Antonio Hui who pulled off an amazing return winner from David’s net smash at point blank range, to win a round of applause from everyone in the hall.

The Division 2 matches saw the same situation for Hunters 3 & Hunters 4 with Hunters 3 coming out winners on both occasions 6-0, 6-0, however, hunters 3 managed to salvage one game in each match. Players involved for Hunters 3 were Simon Davies, Dave Watkin, Ian Francis all of whom played both matches and Mark Taylor, Dan Bunker & Phil Lindley who all played one match. For Hunters 4 Martin Toms, Nat Toms and Luke Francis played in both matches with Dan Nutt & Dan Bunker playing in one each.

After the relative ease of the Rugby League the third week of the season saw the start of the campaign in the Coventry League. Newly promoted Hunters 1 (Division 3) were without their Captain Steve Turner who had sent away by his company to work so Simon Piercy stepped into the breach for the away match versus Jubilee St Augustines 3rd team.

The first pairing of Michal Helis and Aseem Shama fought a close first rubber, narrowly losing both games 21-19, while second pair Shahid Mirza and Phil Pelton comfortably took their first game. Third pair Lee Rickard and Simon Piercy scored admirably in their first game, but could not defeat Jubilee’s third pair, who proved the strongest pairing on the night. Michal and Aseem won their second rubber, but the next three rubbers all went to Jubilee, before Shahid and Phil won in the 8th, and Simon and Lee won in the final 9th rubber.

Overall this was a close match with Jubilee winning 5-4 on the night providing promising start to the season with all three pairings winning at least one rubber.

The club had decided to enter a new team into the Coventry League this year so Hunters 2 start at the bottom in Division 5. Their first match of the season was at home to Stockingford 2 and captain David Pugh had a few anxious moments as first some ofhis players were needed for Hunters 1 and then a last minute injury put his team in jeopardy.

The first pairing of team captain David Pugh and Antonio Hui got off to a fast start winning the first game 21-12. Unfortunately they failed to capitalise on this lead losing the second game 21-18 and the third 25-23. The second pairing of the experienced Martin Toms and the 11th hour hero Ian Francis also went to 3 games in their rubber eventually winning 21-12 in the third. The much younger pairing of Mark Lorraine and Nat Toms also went to a third game winning their rubber to put Hunters 2-1 up.

The second round of games saw two more tight rubbers with the second and third pairings both pushing Stockingford close before losing in the third game. Hui and Pugh however won their rubber comfortably to level the score at 3-3 going into the final round of games. Needing just 2 rubbers for victory Hunters got off to a great start with Pugh and Hui winning their second rubber of the night 21-18 & 21-17. Mark and Nat put up a strong fight against Stockingford’s top pairing ultimately falling 21-16 & 21-14. Ian and Martin were however able to win their final rubber 21-11 & 24-22 to give Hunters a 5-4 victory.

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