Posted by Laura Morgan at 02:04 on 28 April 2015
After a break for a year, the Welsh University Cup returned to the event calendar with 5 teams entering from across the country: Bangor, Cardiff Uni, Cardiff Met, Swansea and University of South Wales (USW). Unfortunately Aberystwyth were unable to compete at the last minute.
The competition started on Saturday 25th April with the Team Event.
Group A saw Bangor open the tournament against Cardiff Uni, playing extremely well to pip Cardiff to a 3-2 win. Bangor then went on to play USW, hoping to finish top of the group and succeeded, with a second close 3-2 win. This then left Cardiff to play USW for the group runner-up spot and a place in the semi-finals. In a very close match, which resulted with the score being tied after 4 matches with just one match to go, Cardiff took the final spot in the semi finals.
Group B saw just 2 teams: Cardiff Met and Swansea, who were competing for the better draw in the semi-finals. In another close affair Cardiff Met edged the win with another 3-2 scoreline, to secure a semi-final draw against Cardiff Uni.
A very strong start for Cardiff Uni in the semi-finals singles events saw them take the lead 2-0 but a great fightback saw the final 3 matches all go Cardiff Met's way to ensure their place in the final.
In the other semi, Swansea were too strong for Bangor on the day. There were some close games and great rallies but Swansea ran away with a 4-1 win.
The Team finals started with the Ladies' and Men's singles up first, followed by the 2 levels doubles. Some excellently fought matches ensued, with great support from the fans and other universities. The game was level at 2-2 with only the mixed doubles to play. Unfortunately due to time restrictions the mixed was postponed until the following morning but bright and early the next day Dave Richardson & Sophie Ttophi from Swansea were on court for the showdown against Nic Strange & Becky Cox. There were some excellent rallies and brilliant points but in the end Cox and Strange took the title for Cardiff Met in 2 sets. For the first time since the Welsh Universities Cup started, the winning team was not Cardiff Uni or Swansea: Great to see a new team claiming the title!
Parts of the Team event will be shown on the TV channel 'Made in Cardiff' at 20:30 on Thursday 30th April, so don't miss it!
Immediately after completion, the Individual tournament started with each uni submitting up to 3 entries in each discipline. Mixed doubles was first with 4 groups. There were some superb matches and some new/unfamiliar names popping up. The quarter finals saw at least one pair from each uni compete for a last 4 position.
In the final there was an excellent re-match between Cardiff Met and Swansea but with a different Swansea pair of Victor Pang and Sophie Ttophi. In a great match which went to 3 sets, the number 1 seeds of Cox and Strange lost out to Pang and Ttophi.
The singles was next with some very intense games. Dom Brown (#1 seed) and Will Peck (Bangor) from group A and Oli Digby (Cardiff) along with Simon Brassington (#2 Seed) from group B, made it out of their groups, through the quarter finals and went on to reach the semi-finals. The semis saw Digby lose out to Peck in an hard-fought encounter whilst Brown beat Brassington in a closely contested match to reach the final. In the final, Brown took the first set 21-18 but Peck, in a storming performance, bounced back with a commanding 21-10 win in the second set, creating a final showdown which was won by Peck 21-17.
The Ladies' singles had 3 groups. Vicki Cooke of USW dominated her group winning all of her games and Sophia Rapacioli from Cardiff matched her performance. They carried on their winning ways through the semis to meet in a hotly contested final. The scoreline was consistently close but eventually tipped in Cooke's favour who claimed victory in 2 sets 21-19, 21-19.
On to the doubles events...
The ladies event started first with 3 groups but unfortunately a couple of withdrawals resulted in a very quick group stage however the knockout stages proved to be exciting. Bangor Uni's Hannah Hernon and Becky Amy made it to the final to compete against Swansea Uni's Sophie Ttophi and Lauren Miles. Unfortunately for Bangor, they could not make it a second gold of the day with the Swansea Ladies proving just too strong and eventually winning in 2 sets.
In the Men's doubles event, cramp seemed to be starting to affect some of the players but the game must go on...
Nic Strange wanted to make amends for his runners-up place in the mixed and topped Group A with partner, Simon Brassington. Meanwhile in Group B, Nick Ward and Oli Digby were doing something similar. At 5pm the final started between these two pairs. The match was very intense in parts but Strange and Brassington overcame the challenge and took another gold for Cardiff Met in 2 sets, 21-17, 21-15.
I would like to thank everyone who took part on the weekend and made the short or long journey from their universities. This year’s tournament was a resounding success with all the students’ displaying not only great badminton skills on the court but also showing great sportsmanship and respect for each other off it. The success of these tournaments depends entirely on the collective will and efforts of all the participating students and everybody can be justifiably proud of their achievements and conduct throughout the weekend.
I would also like to thank Lucie Gwilt and Nic Strange for their help in setting up the tournament.
We hope to see you all next year at the much earlier date which is to be confirmed.
For a full set of results, please click here