USSR at the Regional Team Championships in Alphen a/d Rijn
Tournament report: by Marieke Slits
After a good season of winning almost all our matches, we were ready and prepared for the regional team championships. It took place on Saturday the 18th of March. With three cars from all different places (Delft, Rotterdam and Leiden), we met early in the morning at the sportshal. Everyone excited and ready to go (I do have to say that the eagerness to win and go through to the nationals was a bit higher with the girls than with the guys, but we forgive them for that).
Our planning for the day was quite straightforward. We had to beat the three teams in our poule and then win the finals. Sounds easy right? Just to clarify; every “match” against a specific team consists of 1 men’s double, 1 ladies double, 1 men’s single, ladies single and a mix. As the guys were with three (Wing, Kee and CK), they would not have any specific “task”. The ladies on the other hand were with four (Queenie, Ding, Emily and Marieke (me)). We decided that for the ladies we would use a fixed system, Ding and Emily would play doubles, Queenie would do the mix and I would play the single.
The first match of the day was against a team called SV DOK. They replaced another team that could not make it. We started off well, as everyone was still high in energy. The guys won their double, the ladies in their double put in good effort but just missed the chance to get the point. And the rest of the matches were won with USSR force. 4-1, not a bad start of the day.
The second match was against BC Raptim. A familiar name for me as it was the badminton club where I started playing when I was about 10 years old. But that’s another story. BC Raptim had lost their first match, so we had high hopes for our own match. The opponents did prove to make for some interesting matches. Four times, out of five, we had to play a third set to determine who would get the point. Only Wing and CK in their double got a convincing victory with 21-7 and 21-18. Both singles were won in three exciting sets, but the most nerve-racking match was the mix doubles of Queenie and Wing. After a win in the first set, the opponents came back and took the second set. The third set was almost too much to watch and ended in a close 20-22, unfortunately not in favour of USSR. 3-2 was the final score of our match against BC Raptim.
The third and most important match of the day was against BC Schollevaar. We needed to win this one, because they as well as us had won everything up until now. So, this one match would decide who would go to the finals. At the start of the doubles we knew that they were strong. Both the guys as well as the girls put up a strong fight, but had to acknowledge that the others were better. 0-2 behind. Then came the singles. Kee’s opponent was young and strong and in the end got the best of him in 3 sets. My own single went quite well again. I had not lost a single match, so my confidence was up. This showed, and in the second set my opponent already sort of gave up and let me finish the match easily. Unfortunately, the results of the singles meant that we were 1-3 behind. No finales for us, but that didn’t mean we could not do our best in the mix. Queenie and Kee put in their best effort and managed to win in a convincing 2 sets.
Not going through to the finales didn’t mean we were finished. We still had to play for the 3rd or 4th place. Unfortunately for our opponent, BC Veglo, they had to cope with many injuries, so after having played only the men’s double and ladies single it was clear that there would be no option for them to win anymore. Result: USSR came in 3rd in the Regional Team Championships! Not a bad result at all!
Overall it was a nice and fun day with the team. We played some good matches and showed the USSR strength. But I do have to say that our strength was not merely because we are good (naturally), but also because we had some excellent coaches/cheerleaders with us. Both Nicky and Bjorn were there almost the whole day to watch us play and give us advice in between sets. Thank you guys!
Cheers to a great badminton season, pleasant rivalry, MacDonald’s and friendship!
The, by Wing (El Captain) banished, team member of USSR 2, and devoted singles player.