UEL put in a solid display as they suffered a 5-3 defeat at the hands of table toppers Imperial.
UEL struggled to put a full-strength team out as only five players made themselves available.
With the standard doubles partnerships of Ali Chin and Marco Eng as doubles one, and Josh Teoh and George Geaves as doubles number two, with all having trained together for a while, long-term progress is looking good for UEL
But in the immediate term for this match, with Sean Wilson only available as a singles player, UEL were short of a second singles player and had to concede two points – one point per game – which put them on the back foot straight from the off.
With one player down, there were only three matches in each half of the game to be played. Wilson kicked off the tie with a 21-11, 21-16 win as he eased to victory as usual, outclassing his opponent in every aspect of the game.
Teoh and Geaves took to the court but lost a close first set 21-18, but lost out in a one-sided 21-12 contest in the second set. With Eng and Chin also losing 21-14, 21-17 the overall score suggested the match was closer than it actually was.
The UEL team were not comfortable with the unusually slippery court surface at Imperial whose captain recognised the conditions were what his team “are used to”.
In his second match, Wilson again eased past his opponent in the first set 21-13 but having relaxed a bit too much he edged out a close encounter 21-19. Wilson remains undefeated in league games for UEL in the two years he has played for the team.
UEL got more used to the conditions but there was still some hesitation in their game. Eng and Chin won 21-19, 23-21 as they couldn’t play to their full potential, being wary of the court.
Even Teoh and Geaves improved in their second game taking Imperial’s first doubles pair to a third set but losing 11-21, 21-16, 17-21 in a thrilling game. Although loss for the pair, but their chemistry is improving as the weeks go on.
The Bigger Picture
Although UEL have lost another game, the realistic aim for the team at the beginning of the season was to stay up and avoid relegation. Having one player down always puts UEL at a disadvantage as they aim to stay up.
If UEL had one other singles player, they could be challenging for the title but as they enter the final three games of the season, survival is the main aim for the team as they build for next season.
UEL face Queen Mary 3rd team on Wednesday 31st January in an important game in their season as they aim to stay above the drop and in the division.