A Day Out With Mereway Badminton Club Northampton
This week sees the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships, one of the 5 premier events in the annual Badminton calendar, being held at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. Wednesday was members day, so through our affiliation with Badminton England, many of our club members had free tickets to attend.
We set out from Northampton and arrived in Birmimgham at around 10am, where play was already underway on all 5 courts, having started at 9am. Another good thing about members day, aside from the free tickets, is that an open seating policy is in place, so we could sit where we wanted. We plumped for seats right by the centre court, a few rows back, giving us a brilliant view of the action on the centre court and the 2 adjacent courts, but still a good view of all the rest of the action on courts 4 and 5 as well.
Glimmer Of Hope For British Badminton
We saw some fantastic badminton, particularly in some really fast paced mens and mixed doubles action, including number 1 seeds Boe and Mogensen of Denmark (London 2012 Olympic Silver Medal Winners) defeating Pratama and Saputra of Indonesia in a match with some lightning fast exchanges. In general though it was the Asian countries who were dominating, and with the England team suffering a disappointing day, it was largely left to the Danes to fly the flag for European Badminton. A big surprise however were the Danish mixed doubles 4th seeds Fischer and Pedersen going out at the hands of another Indonesian pair, having had a match point at 21-20 in the final game. Disappointing for European Badminton, but an immensely entertaining match.
One British glimmer of hope did come in the evening with former England international Robert Blair of Scotland pairing with Malaysia’s Bin Shen Tan in the men’s doubles to overcome Kido and Chandra of Indonesia in a tight 3 game thriller.
World Number One In Action
By far the most thrilling moments of the day though came in the evening, when there was a mass exodus from our seats (the free seating policy allows you the opportunity to move about to catch specific games of interest) to watch World number 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia take on Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong over on court number 5. Wong got off to a flying start, taking the first game 21-13 and it looked like we may be witness to a massive upset until Lee Chong Wei put on a masterclass of Badminton to dominate in the second game and take it 21-6. We thought that the Malaysian would run away with the match from then on, but miraculously Wong fought back hard in the decider to get a match point at 20-19. In the ensuing rally he came within an inch of victory as Lee Chong Wei gifted Wong with a straightforward kill right at the net, but the Hong Kong player netted his smash to great gasps from the crowd. It didn’t end there, with Wong going on to get another match point at 21-20, but Lee Chong Wei showed why he is world number 1 by calmly winning the next 3 points to win 23-21 and seal the match.
Overall a thoroughly entertaining day with some great badminton, and highly recommended. Full results from the day can be viewed here.
Mereway Badminton Club Northampton is a Badminton England affiliated Premier club, meaning our members enjoy a range of benefits, including special offers on event tickets and equipment.