After a disappointing end to last season, finishing fifth in the league table with only one win, one draw, and eight defeats, UEL’s badminton team wanted to make sure the 2016-2017 season ended differently.
This season saw a few new additions to the squad, but one of the most noticeable ones was the Jamaican international star Sean Wilson. Alistair Chin would captain the side but an early injury left him sidelined for the first few games.
UEL got off to a good start, defeating Essex 6-2 taking all three points back to the Sports Dock.
The following week would see UEL host their first home game of the season against London School of Economics 3rds. This game was not as easy as the previous week’s fixture but UEL still managed to come out on top at the end of the match, winning 5-3.
Like a shark in the water sensing blood, UEL now obtained that winning feeling and looked to continue their winning ways in November as they prepared to have their first clash with top-of-the-table side Kings College 3rd’s, who would go onto to be UEL’s main competitors all year.
Both teams came into this fixture with a 100% record. The previous season saw UEL edge out to a 5-3 win at home, but they were thrashed 8-0 when they played away. This time around, the match would end in a thrilling 4-4 draw.
UEL’s next fixture would be in the cup where they would have an early round exit as they lost on points to Imperial College London men’s 2nd team after they drew 4-4 in games. The winner had to be decided on accumulated points basis, which saw ICLM win 335 points to UEL’s 315 points.
This could be said to be a blessing in disguise as it would allow UEL to focus solely on the league with no other distractions.
UEL were firing in their next fixture as they played across the river at Greenwich Sports Hall against University at Medway men’s 1sts. The east London side would come out victorious as they thrashed the south London side 7-1
Going into December only one game would be played before the long Christmas break but UEL annihilated Essex 2nd team 12-0. Not a single game was one by the away side and this would leave UEL high in spirits going into the rest period.
As the New Year started, in the first game back UEL seemed to not be at the top of their game as they drew to London school of Economics 3rd 4-4 in games at the Queensbridge Sports Centre.
The home fixture of the top-table clash against the King’s would see UEL take the win in the clash at the Sports Dock. Kings would still be top of the table but only one point would separate the two sides after UEL dropped points in January.
In the first fixture in March the University of Medway’s 1st team couldn’t field out a team so UEL were awarded all the points.
On the 8th, UEL knew a win would put them top of the league. UEL defeated South Bank University 1st 7-1. The next week they would play South Bank again but at home knowing a win would secure them the league regardless of Kings’ results. UEL defeated their opponents 8-0 securing them the title and an undefeated record in the League.
After having a miserable season previously, UEL were the underdogs who came from the bottom to the top with a unique story as they defeated every team game by game, only drawing twice.
Kings pushed UEL all the way to the last game of the season but UEL managed to deal with the nerves and pressures. What would have been a realistic goal for the side who finished fifth last season was to compete at a high level but not to finish unbeaten. Instead they have proved results in the past do not define the present.
This has been a season to remember for the badminton squad. Any congratulations are fully deserved.