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Loughborough ready to challenge for National Badminton League Crown

Jenny Wallwork and Chloe Birch

Loughborough Sport head to Crawley this weekend with their sights firmly set on winning the inaugural National Badminton League title at the K2.

After a slow start to the season, the Loughborough team have grown in confidence and head to Finals Day off the back of two straight 4-1 victories.

However before they can take a shot at the NBL crown, the team must despatch of Surrey Smashers in their semi-final, which takes place at 11am on Sunday 7th June.

Loughborough versus Surrey provided one of the highlights of the regular season, as the Smashers made use of their home advantage to save a number of match points and prevail 3-2. That result acted as a platform for Surrey to go on and top the league table, but Loughborough will be hoping to turn the tables in their rematch this weekend.

Ahead of Sunday’s finals, captain Jenny Wallwork joined women’s doubles partner Chloe Birch down in Loughborough for an intense training session, aimed at helping the duo gel ahead of the big day.

“The quality of training is always brilliant here in Loughborough and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. The team is just preparing for Sunday now and we’re looking forward to the semi-final, so it’s good to be able to play some matches with the girls ahead of Sunday.

“The team spirit throughout the competition has been great and the support, especially from the crazy Loughborough fans, has been brilliant! It makes a massive difference and I think people definitely underestimate what good support can do."

Sports Scholar Birch has really thrived on the NBL competition this season, mixing badminton with her studies to great effect.

“I’ve been quite lucky as my exams finished a week or so ago, so I’ve been able to just chill out and train in the run up to this weekend. Me and Jen don’t get that much time to play together so it’s really nice to get on court and be able to do some stuff before the weekend; it helps us feel prepared and get really up for it.

So what about the team’s chances of lifting the title in Crawley?

“We’ve got every chance of winning” said Birch with a smile. “I don’t think there is any team that we think we couldn’t win against, and that’s why we’re in the NBL and that’s what everyone is striving for on Sunday – to win!”

To get your hands on tickets for Sunday’s event, please click here. The final will also be live on Sky Sports 1 from 2.30pm.