University of Birmingham’s Women’s Squash 1st team have dominated their league this year. So going into the championships they looked strong, having won all their games in the BUCS league. They sat on top of the table whilst their opposition, University of Nottingham 1s, close behind in second. These two sides had met previously this season in January this year with Birmingham edging them out 3-2.
Up first on court for Birmingham was Chloe Harrison. Harrison and her opposition were well matched in every aspect displayed on the court; speed, agility and skill. Harrison came out fighting and won the first game with ease, 11-5. However her opponent stepped up in the second and third game meaning Harrison lost her early lead, losing these two matches 11-5 and 11-4. Harrison had all to play for in the fourth match and rallied her efforts (excuse the pun) to secure a victory of 11-6. Going into the final game of this match, both players needed a win to safeguard an early overall lead for their team. Harrison unfortunately could not score those all-important final points therefore losing the last match 11-9 in a close contest. Meaning the underdogs, Nottingham took an early 1-0 overall lead.
Next it was the Women’s 1s captain and Birmingham Lions PSL player, Katrina Burrows turn to take to the court. This game was played on Sheffield’s glass court allowing for more spectators and a better atmosphere. Burrows knew she would have to play her best in order to stand a chance of winning a game let alone the whole match, with her opponent’s reputation preceding her, so she came out hard from the start. However her opponent played some devastating angles, playing with Burrows’ blind spots. It was a real shame to see Burrows lose out in three straight games with the Notts player dominating to take the match 11-4, 11-1, 11-9. This fine victory from the Notts player put her side 2-0 up in the tie, leaving Brum’s Ellie Lake the only thing standing between Notts and BUCS Championship glory.
Ex-British National Champion, Lake, was next to challenge Nottingham. She and her opponent were matched equally meaning that every point throughout this match was hard fought. Lake lost the first game 11-8 but then came back to win the next two 11-4 and then 11-9. Despite playing well in the fourth in an attempt to close out the match Nottingham managed to clinch an 11-7 win. Going into the final game both players had it all to play for, if Nottingham won they would be BUCS Champions and if Birmingham won, they would be right back in this tie. As the crowds gathered on the viewing area, the tension increased on the court with both players becoming increasingly easily frustrated. Lake used many drop shots in order to secure her win of 11-7 in this final game, an impressive display of commitment, determination and self-control. It was Lake’s calmness that allowed her to dictate the majority of the points and play some shots just out of the Notts player’s reach. Lake’s win put Brum on the board at 1-2.
Next up was Hannah Williams, a Welsh National player. Nottingham still only needed one more match to gain the BUCS Champions title, so pressure was on Williams to stop them. Despite coming out hard and fast Williams lost the first game 11-4. However, she came back in a fantastic game of drop shots mixed with powerful forehands which meant Williams took the second game 14-12. Williams was unlucky not to win the third game, which she lost 11-4 and then 11-9. So as Williams went down 3-1, so did Birmingham. Nottingham taking BUCS Championship gold with a game to spare.
The last of the Birmingham Women’s 1s squash team to take to the court was Emilia Korhonen from the Finnish National Team. Even though Korhonen knew that Birmingham had lost the championships she did not let this dishearten her as she went out onto the court trying to play her best. That’s exactly what she did. It was an excellent game of squash for spectators to watch. Korhonen lost the first game but completely dominated in the second, making it 1-1 in this match. Though Korhonen was unlucky to lose the next two games, fighting hard throughout, contesting every point, but ultimately the Notts rep played the better tactics and took the win 3-1. The loss of this overall match meant the final score between Birmingham and Nottingham in this Championship final was 4-1 to Nottingham.
Even though the Birmingham Women’s Squash 1s lost the Championship final to Nottingham they should be proud of not only their outstanding performance at the Championships but also their excellent season in general.