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Loughborough Lightning victorious on opening night of National Badminton League

Playing under their new name, Loughborough Lightning badminton franchise scored a decisive opening night victory in the AJ Bell National Badminton League, away at Surrey Smashers.

After finishing runners-up for the second season in a row, Lightning who were formerly known as Loughborough Sport, travelled south to take on a strong Surrey Smasher side. After going 1-0 down, the team eventually prevailed 4-1, a great start to their 2016/17 campaign.

Loughborough University students Greg Mairs and Jenny Moore lost out in the mixed doubles to former Loughborough student Ben Stawski and his partner Marie Roepke, which was the only celebration for the 500 plus crowd inside the Surrey Sports Park.

Lightning showed why they went unbeaten until the final last year, with student Chloe Birch continuing her scintillating NBL form with a double victory in both the women’s doubles and singles.

With the format changing this year to allow players to contest more than one event per match night, Birch stormed to a 3-1 singles victory, sweeping aside youngster Abigail Holden. That put Lightning 2-1 in front after Swede Henri Hurskainen had won the men’s singles by the same score-line.

That gave Mairs and men’s doubles partner Peter Briggs the chance to clinch match night victory and show the resilience that has become a trademark over the past two seasons. Alumnus Briggs was the perfect partner for Mairs and they wrapped up victory over Surrey Smashers with another 3-1 result.

Captain Birch returned to court with the result beyond doubt, but as always she fought hard for victory alongside fellow Loughborough student Viki Williams. A new pairing, the duo took a little time to find their groove, but looked impressive when they reached fifth gear, fighting back to secure a tie-break victory.

Next up for the victorious Lightning side is a home clash against newcomers Suffolk Saxons. Tickets for the game on Monday 28th November can be bought here: http://loughboroughsport.com/nbl/tickets/

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 16/138

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, and University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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