On Wednesday 27 November, Loughborough’s badminton girls took on Keele during BUCS. Courtney Ricketts was at Court 2, where Loughborough’s Beki Boyle faced her Keele counterpart.
During the warm up, Beki seemed pretty relaxed, practicing with her opponent and even taking part in friendly conversation and banter prior to the match.
After around 30 minutes of practice, both girls were feeling pumped up and ready to take to the court. Loughborough’s Beki won the ‘play for serve point’ so opted to serve first. It seemed to pay off, as within about three minutes of play, Beki was up 9-1.
It looked like it was going to be a foregone conclusion, but after some sloppy mistakes from Beki and some good play from her opponent, Keele soon found themselves back in the match, with the score reading 13-8 in favour of Loughborough. Was Beki going to let her early lead slip?
Beki knew she had to regain control quickly, as if she gave her opponent any more unforced errors, the game could be lost, giving her an uphill battle. With this in mind, she grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and started to put her opponent under some real pressure. One point, then another, then another – it soon became clockwork, and when the dust settled from Beki’s explosive shots, the score was 21-13 to her.
Leaving the court with no emotion whatsoever, Beki returned to her team to quickly rehydrate before the next game. If she won this game, she would win the match and put Loughborough one step closer to winning the tournament.
After the break, the next game got underway with Keele serving first. Keele gained two points in quick succession as well as scoring on Beki’s serves. It seemed Keele’s player lacked variety in their serves though, as Beki soon became wise to the tactic and adopted her technique and own serving style to accommodate it.
All of a sudden the two players were trading points with each other, creating a great spectacle for the crowd.
Come the final stages of the game, the score read 17-15 in Beki’s favour. It was going to go down to the wire. The next point was played, 18-15 to Beki, then the next point, 19-15 – only two more points needed to win the match.
All of a sudden Keele’s player fought back hard to bring the score to 19-17. Loughborough’s Beki stayed composed and won the following point, putting her one away from winning the match – but the next point saw her having to return serve.
Keele’s player knew this serve was crucial to keeping herself in the match. She composed herself whilst Beki waited patiently, ready to meet the shuttlecock.
Keele’s player served, it went deep, forcing Beki to retreat to the back of the court. She returned it, just, but now her opponent was on the advance. She lined one arm towards the oncoming shuttle and pulled the other back, armed with her racquet back in preparation for a smash. She swung. The shuttle rocketed over the net, Beki reached for it but to no avail, only to realise it had gone out of boundary. She had won the match.
Many congratulations to Beki and I’m sure you will join me in wishing the rest of the squad good luck for the rest of the tournament and to hopefully securing the championship for another time.