Suffolk Saxons have moved to the top of the AJ Bell National Badminton League thanks to a 3-2 victory over Bristol Jets at the Ipswich Corn Exchange on Monday night.
The evening commenced with a new Saxon hero in the form of debutant Tine Baun, who signed on to play in this particular fixture.
The Dane exuded class as she dominated her game with young England player Kirby Ngan.
Although pushed hard by her opponent Baun had all the weapons, time and precision to deliver a straight sets win and give Saxons a 1-0 lead in good time.
Sadly, Baun injured her calf in the last set, and could not compete in the women’s doubles later, adding another twist to the balance of the match.
The mixed double saw heroes from the Loughborough victory last time out — Sean Vendy and Fee Teng Liew — take on the talented Jets pair Ben Lane and Emily Westwood.
There was an ebb and flow to the match that made a winner hard to pick, with the Jets pair claiming a tight opening game.
An inspired Vendy powered the Saxons to a 9-7 second game but Jets excellent serving gave them the edge in game three to peg back the Saxon pair and then a controversial line call seemed to upset Vendy’s concentration and momentum.
The Jets pair did just enough in a very tight finish to win the fourth game 9-8 amongst a flurry of power plays and level the match-night score overall.
A thrilling men’s singles followed and saw Joel Douse defeated in a fifth-set tie-break against Jets rising star David Jones.
Douse had clawed his way back into a match where he struggled to find consistency. These matches are won and lost on fine margins and in the end the width of the net tape was enough to give Jones a 5-3 tie break win and Jets a 2-1 lead on the night.
With Suffolk Saxons staring down the barrel of a first home defeat, Sarah Walker and Teng Liew had to find a way past the experience of top-ranking Japanese international Mizuki Fujii and Jess Hopton.
Teng Liew was a late replacement for Baun, and provided a top-class performance under the circumstances.
The Saxons pair started well and seemed to have a firm grip on the game before letting a second game slip from an 8-2 lead, thought they eventually won a dramatic finale 9-8.
If Saxons fans were hoping for a more comfortable route to victory through the men’s doubles, they were never going to get it.
Captain Andy Ellis, in particular, and Vendy were on their game, but couldn’t quite shake off a very tight and precise game plan from Jets’ Chris Coles and Richard Eidestedt.
The Jets pair took the game to a fifth-set tie-break by coming back from a two-game deficit and clinching a fourth set 9-8, and immediately took the power play shuttle in the hope of a decisive tie break lead.
It was, however, not to be for the Jets, as defiant and forceful forecourt play from Ellis helped to deliver a 3-0 tie break scoreline to secure the win.
Saxons now break for the Christmas period, with a return to action due on January 23 at Team Derby.
SCORES: Suffolk Saxons 3 Bristol Jets 2
Women’s singles: Tine Baun beat Kirby Ngan 9-4 / 9-5 / 9-8
Mixed Doubles: Sean Vendy & Fee Teng Liew lost to Ben Lane & Emily Westwood 6-9 / 9-7 / 4-9 / 8-9
Men’s Singles: Joel Douse lost to David Jones 7-9 / 9-7 / 2-9 / 9-8 / 3-5
Women’s Doubles: Sarah Walker & Fee Teng Liew beat Jess Hopton and Mizuki Fujii 9-8 / 8-9 / 9-3 / 9-8
Men’s Doubles: Andy Ellis & Sean Vendy beat Chris Coles & Richard Eidestedt 9-5 / 9-6 / 3-9 / 8-9 / 3-0