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National Badminton League – Birmingham Lions 1-4 Loughborough Lightning

By | Published December 9, 2016

Lions fall to Lightning

The Lions missed an opportunity to climb to the top of the league after the suffering a 4-1 loss to Loughborough Lightening. Birmingham only needed two points to leap frog the Saxons into 1st place.

Despite the one-sided final score line all five matches where hard fought with three of the matches going to five sets. The evening opened with a close encounter between Birmingham’s Rasmus Fladberg and Gary Fox against Loughborough’s Harely Towler and Peter Briggs in the men’s doubles. It was an extremely tight affair, with momentum changing at every second between the pairs. Fladberg and Fox took them all the way to five sets, and were extremely unlucky to lose in the tiebreaker, allowing the Lightning to take a 1-0 lead.

The second match saw another strong Loughborough performance as the Birmingham pair Heather Olver and Mette Poulson, found themselves brushed aside in four sets.

After  falling 2-0 down, the responsibility was the handed to club captain Toby Penty to start the fightback. Penty’s men’s singles match against Henri Hurskainen produced the match of the evening. Penty came from 2-0 down to force a tiebreaker in the 5th set, however Hurskainen proved too strong and the Lightning moved to 3-0. The match was fantastic display of badminton, with both players showing an array of fantastic shots.

Regardless of the 3-0 deficit the Lions still only needed two wins to take them to the top of the league. The first came in the mixed doubles with Mette Poulson and Rasmus Fladberg, making amends for earlier loses as they eased to a four set victory.

This meant it was all to play for in the final match in the women’s singles, and national champion Fontaine Chapman representing the Lions.

Chapman controlled the match in the first few sets but mistakes allowed Chloe Birch to battle her way back in and force another fifth set tiebreaker. Birch carried her momentum into the final set winning after a controversial line call made on the final point. It was sad ending to what had been a magnificent evening of badminton.

National Campions: The Lions now sit third in the NBL table as they go about defending their title.

National Campions: The Lions now sit third in the NBL table as they go about defending their title.

The final score was 4-1 to the Lightning, who remain in second place behind the Suffolk Saxons. The Lions are still level on points with Lightning and will look to build on some strong performances throughout the evening. They should be proud of fantastic display of badminton given to the home crowd. Their focus will now turn to the next fixture on 9th January against the Bristol Jets.