Adock wins, but Nottingham lose semi-final

Chris Adcock - Picture by Badminton Photo.
Chris Adcock - Picture by Badminton Photo.

Ravenshead star Chris Adcock believes University of Nottingham Badminton showed great team spirit despite their AJ Bell National Badminton League hopes ending at the play-off semi-final stage.

Adcock won his mixed doubles match with Jess Pugh to put their side 1-0 up against Birmingham Lions in the city’s Barclaycard Arena.

But Birmingham Lions went on to book their place in the AJ Bell NBL Championship Final later that evening by claiming a 4-1 victory.

Adcock said: “It would have been great for us to make the final. It’s great to be even here because we had a really good season and second in the regular league was a good achievement for us.

“We have a great team spirit and I think we have carried that forward to today.

“It’s a lot of fun playing in the AJ Bell NBL because our regular tournaments are very serious and it’s important that we do well.

“Obviously we want to do well here, but with the new scoring format, it means we can enjoy it a bit more.

“It’s a great opportunity to go around the country and showcase what a great sport badminton is.”

University of Nottingham had led after the opening contest after world No.7 Adcock and Pugh defeated Nico Ruponen and Heather Olver 7-9, 9-8, 9-8, 9-3.

But Toby Penty made it five wins from six since joining Birmingham Lions with a 9-2, 9-4, 9-2 victory over Rohan Midha, and Fontaine Chapman then made it 2-1 against Mansfield’s Emily Witts, winning 9-6, 9-3, 9-1.

Birmingham Lions’ place in the AJ Bell NBL Championship Final was then secured by Gary Fox and Koen Ridder with their tightly-contested 8-9, 9-7, 9-8, 9-8 victory over Adam Hall and Adam Cwalina, leaving Alida Chen and Sarah Walker to record a 9-5, 9-6, 7-9, 9-4 win over Ellen Mahenthiralingam and Cheryl Seinen to round off the contest.

For former Brunts Academy student Witts, she relished the opportunity to play alongside some of the country’s best badminton stars, including her opponent and England No.1 Chapman.

“I got the nod to play at the last minute so to come up against Fontaine was quite daunting, especially as I’m not training that much at the minute,” she said.

“It was very hard to keep up with her but she is playing all the time so I couldn’t have expected much more.

“I’ve really enjoyed this season and the opportunity to play in the AJ Bell NBL was one of the reasons I chose to study at Nottingham.

“It’s amazing to be playing alongside some of Britain’s greatest badminton players, it’s something I never thought I’d be able to do and it’s an experience I’ll keep with me forever.

“A lot more people know about badminton since the establishment of the AJ Bell NBL, we get some really great crowds along to our games and we have over 300 people in our club so it is really good for the sport.”

For AJ Bell NBL news and reaction visit nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @NBL_official