Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

RHUL Badminton Club: A Season of Uphill Battles

Looking at the fixture lists for all three badminton teams; men’s first, women’s and men’s seconds, was not pleasant summer reading material. With long journeys to Portsmouth and Chichester on the horizon as well as visits to sport driven universities Surrey and Brunel, all three respective captains knew they had a hard task of managing their squads to get the very best from their players as they looked to once again secure divisional status for the 2013/14 season.

All teams got off to a tough start, leaving it until the end of the second week of fixtures before the club earned their first point. A true captain’s knock by Harriet Mortimer inspired her girls to a 4-4 draw at St. Mary’s University.

Not to be outdone by the girls, both men’s teams would have their first points after two workmanlike performances against Chichester and Reading Struggling to earn anything more than draws as a club, the women’s team finally earned a win by following up another draw against St. Mary’s with an emphatic 8-0 thrashing of the same team winning the final match in the trilogy between the two, ensuring divisional status for the following season.

The men’s second team would follow suit the following week with a 5-3 win at Roehampton, immediately returning their opponents to the division below for next season. In contrast, the men’s first team would end up suffering relegation at the hands of local rivals Surrey University on the final day of the season.

Even though on the court the clubs fortunes were not always great, off the court was another story. As a group of twenty three members plus alumni (who just cannot keep away!), RHUL Badminton club has some great memories to take away from an up and down season with racket in hand.

It started in October with initiations at Come in Your Kit Part One, where the ‘freshers’ experienced the dreaded ‘tube.’ Even though not every member of the team managed to survive initiations and stumble down to the SU it was a great night all round and really set the tone for the social outings which followed! Any frustration on the court from the rough start to the season was quickly vented on a day trip to Ambush Adventure Paintballing. Despite initially and extremely accidentally leaving two-time northerner of the year award winner Aidan Taylor behind, the team enjoyed a great day out where even the crisp, handnumbing weather couldn’t cause descent amongst the ranks as the team stuck across various games.

With Christmas fast approaching it was off to our sponsor, The Foresters’ Arms, for our annual Christmas meal and internal award ceremony. Murray Maynard took home the prestigious Players’ Player of the year award; Reimi Kawato won the Committee’s choice whilst fresher’s Charlotte Smith and Alex Reilly won Fresher of the year and President’s Choice awards respectively.

The first weekend of March meant one thing and one thing only: the club’s annual trip to The AllEngland Badminton Championships. This was a great weekend as the players got to relax and watch some top quality badminton as well as get photographs taken with the top stars.
Next up: Colours Ball. After a difficult season for her team as a whole, women’s team captain, Harriet Mortimer was awarded half colours after an incredible 9 wins from twelve matches. President, Dan Thorne, was awarded a Crest Award to acknowledge his immense contribution to the club over the last three years which saw him go from social player to treasurer to president year by year!

Finally, it was time for elections to decide next year’s committee members. After having to answer further questions following an initial tie, Laura Robyn beat first-year Alex Reilly to the role of President and would go on to be voted in as Treasurer and second team captain. Hannah McCarthy will be the secretary of the club next year with Harriet Mortimer retaining her role as women’s team captain.

Murray Maynard and Huw Vicary were voted in as men’s first team and mixed team captains respectively. With a high percentage of the team graduating this year the new captains have a tough task on their hands recruiting enough high quality players to start next season stronger than the one just gone, so get down to the Freshers Sports Fair come next term!

Article: Alex Reilly-Cooper