Lydia narrowly beaten in national league opener

Lydia Powell in action for MK Badminton in the National Badminton League. Picture courtesy Gary Baker
Lydia Powell in action for MK Badminton in the National Badminton League. Picture courtesy Gary Baker
  • Lydia Powell narrowly beaten on national league debut for MK Badminton
  • Hastings-based player edged out 3-2 in singles clash
  • MK Badminton are beaten 4-1 by Surrey Smashers live on Sky Sports
  • Powell played doubles for the title-winning Team Derby last season
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Lydia Powell admitted it was a case of missed opportunities as she came up just short of marking her MK Badminton debut with a victory.

The new season of the National Badminton League (NBL) got underway last night (Monday) with two fixtures taking place in Loughborough and Surrey.

Hastings-based Powell was in action at the latter, as her new Milton Keynes-based MK Badminton side travelled to Surrey Sports Park to take on the Surrey Smashers in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

She took to the court in the second of five matches, playing Georgina Bland, a player who is now just below her in the England women’s singles rankings.

And it proved to be a tight affair, going all the way to five games before Bland took victory in the final tie-break 5-9, 9-1, 6-9, 9-6, 5-2.

That result put MK Badminton 2-0 down in the match – a deficit they were unable to recover from as they eventually lost 4-1 on the night – and Powell admitted a few points here and there had proved her undoing.

It was really close, unfortunately I didn’t come out on top.

Lydia Powell

“I think that was one I maybe could have won. But unfortunately I didn’t do that,” she said.

“It was really close, unfortunately I didn’t come out on top. A few net cords didn’t go my way, I made some unforced errors.

“It’s just the way the game plays I suppose. The format is difficult to get used to.

“I haven’t played singles with this format and neither had Georgina so both of us were a bit like how is this going to work.

“I’m training singles so it’s important for me to do it for my development, to put myself in that pressure situation.

“Everyone talks about the team and how it’s going to be such a great season. It’s nice to have the switches and it makes it more exciting. It’s really great to get my kit on and play for MK, I’m just looking forward to the next one now.”

Last season Powell was deployed as a doubles player, but since switching from reigning champions Team Derby, the University of Derby’s NBL franchise, the 19-year-old has focused on singles.

And Powell admits she is hoping to use her knowledge to help her finally record her first NBL victory.

“I think last year playing in the doubles, I got put in amongst really tough opponents or I got put with players who didn’t have the experience,” she added.

“The aim of the game is to win. Maybe next time, playing against someone I’m not expected to beat, I might beat them.

“That’s just how this game goes. You don’t always win the ones you are supposed to and then sometimes you win the ones you aren’t. So I’m up for that as well.”

For NBL fixtures, tickets and team news visit nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk or follow @NBL_official on Twitter.

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