The SMC-A1 Team of Felix Cheng, Kylemore Evans-Parker, Henry Hoh, and Clive Luna competed at the College Sport Auckland Secondary Schools Badminton Championships last week. There were fantastic games played and great experience gained.
Kyle and Felix playing Senior Boys Doubles were in Group 2 with pairs from Rangitoto College, Avondale College, and the second seeds from Westlake Boys High. They were off to a good start winning their first match against Rangitoto College 31-20 but had a tough time against a more experienced Avondale College side, going down 16-31 in their second match. Putting their first loss aside Kyle and Felix engaged the Westlake boys with vigour and determination. Though underdogs, they forced a few points and made the seeded pair scramble and dive on a few occasions that made for a very entertaining game. They eventually went down fighting, 14-31. Kyle and Felix finished third in their group, not bad for first-timers!
In the Senior Boys Singles event, Henry Hoh was in Group 1 with players from Kristin School, Rutherford College and the top seed from Westlake Boys High. Henry faced the first seed and U19 NZ#1 in his first match and had some great rallies where he was able to put his opponent under pressure and force points. But the top player eventually proved too much, with Henry yielding a 15-31 scoreline. He then went toe to toe against the player from Kristin School before succumbing to a 20-31 defeat but made up by winning his third match against Rutherford College 31-5. Henry finished third in a tough group to be in.
Clive Luna asserted his second seed status by topping Group 2 in the Senior Boys Singles event winning all his matches against players from Rangitoto, Avondale, and Rutherford Colleges. But this did not come easy as he was forced to go the distance by the younger U17 NZ#5 player from Rangitoto College. It was an intense challenge that Clive was able to extinguish, winning 31-29. Anticipating another challenge in the semi-finals from the U19 NZ#6 Auckland Grammar player from Group 3, Clive kicked up a gear and never gave the other player room to breath, dominating with a fast-paced game and eventually winning 31-8 to secure a finals berth.
It was familiar territory for Clive in the finals where he faced the top seed, the same player he faced in the finals of last year’s tournament and in the recent North Harbour U19 Open. The odds were against Clive as he has never beaten the Westlake boy in recent years. The first and second seeds provided a captivating finals match, displaying high-level badminton for the crowd to enjoy. They traded smashes and fast-paced rallies and made near-impossible retrievals and manoeuvres. Clive tried a few tactics he had been working on in training to neutralise the playing style of his opponent but as with new things, these need time to develop and not all were successful. In the end, Clive bowed to the better player of the day in straight sets and settled for the silver medal.
Well done to the team and thank you to the school, Kieran, coach Blane, and all the parents for their support.