Loughborough Lightning triumph at home against Bristol Jets
Loughborough Lightning Badminton kept their Championship Final hopes alive thanks to a thrilling 3-2 home victory against newcomers Bristol Jets.
Loughborough Lightning Badminton kept their Championship Final hopes alive thanks to a thrilling 3-2 home victory against newcomers Bristol Jets. Victories for Chloe Birch and Henri Hurskainen left the match hanging in the balance at 2-2 going into the men’s doubles, however alumni Harley Towler and Peter Briggs ensured Loughborough got the result they needed.
London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Mizuki Fujii and her partner Ben Lane proved too good for an untried Lightning mixed doubles partnership of Peter Briggs and Viki Williams in the first event, who despite a valiant attempt at a comeback in the fourth game (where they came from 2-8 down only to lose 8-9) lost out three games to one.
Captain Chloe Birch was on court next, and she brushed aside young England international Kirby Ngan thanks to some phenomenal badminton. A first game score-line of 9-2 set the tone, with Birch taking the next two 9-3, 9-2 in ‘lightning’ quick fashion.
Birch commented post game:
“I knew I could use my pace and just go out there and get on top, and thankfully it came off. Sometimes they can be the tricky games as you’re expected to win, but it’s great to show my experience and really dominate.”
After a slightly tentative start Swedish number one and Loughborough fans favourite Henri Hurskainen came from behind to win both the first game and the event. Taking the first 9-8, Hurskainen went on to win the second and third games 9-6 against his compatriot Alex Lane, to put Lightning in front on the night.
Chloe Birch returned to court for the women’s doubles alongside Loughborough University student Jordan Hart. After victory last time out, the new look pairing took the first game 9-7 having trailed early on, but lost an extremely close second game 8-9.
Hart, making her home debut, was really flourishing alongside friend and partner Birch, as they pushed on to take the third game 9-6 but the fourth game went the opposite way with the same scoreline. That sent it to a tiebreaking fifth game, where Bristol came out on top, to level the match night 2-2.
That meant Lightning’s fate was in the hands of alumni Harley Towler and Peter Briggs, who are known for fifth game tiebreakers. Thankfully they started on the front foot, taking the first game convincingly 9-5. From there it was relatively plain sailing, and although the third game was a nail biter at 9-8, the boys in purple took a 3-0 win to secure a 3-2 match night victory for Loughborough Lightning.
Of the victory Lightning Head Coach Andy Wood said:
“I’m really pleased with getting three points on the board against a tough Bristol team. The line-up in all five disciplines looked really tight, so for us to come through in three is great and keeps us in a strong position. The NBL is so difficult to plan and prepare for, so we just need to go point for point and compete in all five rubbers against Derby in our final game.”
Tickets for that match against Derby on Monday 6th February, Lightning’s final home game of the season, are available here: http://loughboroughsport.com/nbl/tickets/
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: PR 17/12
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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.
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.