Worcester men reversed the scoreline from last season's fixture, winning 5-4 in a tense monday night match.
Last season it was Lye celebrating as they were the only team to beat Bears on route to the title. We, the reigning champions started with a loss as painkiller-fuelled Ben and Oli lost their way against the very strong top Lye pair 21-10, but then upped their game only narrowly losing in the second 21-19. Raodi and Ka fought hard to take their game in two, with some particularly well thought out play from Raodi, finding spaces where there appeared to be none. Last up, a freshly trimmed captain Lester and team debutant Christian. The lightning-quick pair (aided by Lesters now aerodynamic scalp) showed great chemistry to take the final rubber of the first round making it 2-1 to bears.
Ben and Oli scraped through the next rubber. Despite looking fairly comfortable in the first game, they were undone in the second by their audibly very fired up opponents, and their impressive driving game. The third game could barely have gone closer as bears took it 14-12*. Meanwhile Raodi and Ka dispatched their opponents to go up to 4-1 in favour of Bears in a rubber where despite some questionable footwork from Raodi, the pairs composure and control of the shuttle was very impressive. The speed kings (Lester and Christian) took on the top Lye pair next, in what was a fantastic game to watch. Even the Lye club night players were all stood in an arc as everyone in the hall marvelled at the electric speed of the interchanges, some incredible last ditch defending and Christian's acrobatic diving that even Arjen Robben would be proud of. In the end though the experienced Lye players were too strong as they took the rubber, making it 2-4.
Bears just had to win one of the final set of games to take the win they needed. The three games happened simultaneously and by this point everyone left in the hall seemed to be fixated with lots of support from both sides. Continuing their excellent consistent attacking badminton, Lye's number 1 pair were determined not to drop a rubber, dispatching Ka and Raodi in two games. Ben and Oli stepped up next trying to clinch the match for Bears. However some very sloppy, error-filled play saw them slump to defeat in the first game. The situation was not helped by the pain Oli was experiencing in his arm preventing him from playing any overheads without discomfort. Meanwhile the situation was worsening as Lester and Christian lost their first game too. Ben and Oli rallied, managing to narrowly take the next game; and Chris and Lester matched this result on the next court. Now all Bears needed was to take one of these final two games to win. Ben and Oli managed to adapt their game to avoid the fast and flat play that their opponents were having such joy with, finally running away to an 11-4 win in the third game of their rubber. The day belonged to Bears, and good job too as Lester and Christian narrowly lost in their third game to take the final score to 4-5.
Having lost last time out against Worcester, Bears desperately needed this win to keep their hopes of a title defence alive. The team have now won 4 of 5, at the half way mark of the season. For table and results follow link below.
The Man of the match goes to Christian who performed superbly in his debut game alongside Lester. Lastly, special thanks go to Connie and Richard for their travelling support!
Result: Lye 4 - 5 Bears
Team: Ben, Oli, Ka, Raodi, Lester (c), Christian
Man of the match: Christian
Next Match: Away vs Worcester Mon 27th Nov
*In Worcester league matches play is only to 11 if rubbers go to three games.