BADMINTON: COVENTRY badminton star Sam Parsons admitted he was floating on cloud nine after clinching victory in a valiantly-fought men’s singles clash in the National Badminton League on Monday night.
Recording only his second ever-win in the NBL, Parsons, playing for Surrey Smashers, overcame a late revival from University of Nottingham Badminton’s Keiran Merrilees, as the Smashers clinched their first victory of the season.
Having raced into an early lead, winning the first two games 9-6, 9-6, Merrilees found the form that had been lacking in the opening stages of the tie, going onto to take two games of his own, 0-9, 1-9 with a 14-point streak.
But Parsons, spurred on by a raucous home crowd at Surrey Sports Park, fought back to win the tie-break 5-3, fuelling emotional celebrations with his team.
“I started off really well, didn’t make many errors, and I was attacking so well,” he said.
“But after the first two sets, Keiran came out really quick and I lost the next two convincingly, but there wasn’t much I could have done about that.
“I knew that once it got to the tie-break, it was anyone’s game. I’m really happy to get a win on the board, because I’ve not won for a long time in the NBL.
“I’m so happy to get another point for my team, and hopefully we can get back in the running for the finals.
“I was pretty emotional when I got the win because it’s been such a long time, the crowd were amazing.
“Even when I was losing and getting battered, they were still supporting me and I think that really helped in the last set.”
Next up for the Smashers is the visit of 2014/15 NBL champions Team Derby, who travel south on January 9.
For Parsons, that means a meeting with Rio 2016 Olympian – and English number one – Rajiv Ouseph across the net, but the 21-year-old admits his excitement for the challenge that lies in wait.
“Team Derby have a really strong squad, probably the best person in singles in the country in Rajiv Ouseph so for me that’s going to be a very tough game,” he added.
“But I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a very tough ask because he’s so good and I play him in training a lot.
“His level is so high and he’s getting better and better the older he gets, which is strange, but it will be a good match and hopefully I can put some pressure on him.
“On paper they’ve got great internationals, it will probably be one of the toughest matches we’ll play all season.
“But that was what we thought last season too, we didn’t really expect to win but we came out and won 5-0 so hopefully we can put in another shock performance.”
For team news, tickets and fixtures, visit www.nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk or follow @NBL_official on Twitter