CHRIS Adcock’s University of Nottingham Badminton side shot up the AJ Bell National Badminton League standings thanks to a 4-1 victory over Surrey Smashers, and the 26-year-old skipper admitted that when the chips were down, his side had delivered.
Tight singles victories for Eric Pang and Yao Jie, as well as Adcock and Adam Cwalbina in the men’s doubles, sent the hosts into an unassailable 3-0 advantage.
And while Surrey Smashers clawed back a point in the mixed doubles, Adam Hall and Ellen Mahenthiralingam losing out to Adcock’s wife Gabby and Rob Blair, Jess Pugh and Cheryl Seinen completed the rout in style in the women’s doubles.
And the fourth point made all the difference with the University of Nottingham now in a commanding position in the AJ Bell NBL table, sat in second place ahead of the final match-night of the season next month and with the top four progressing through to finals day in May.
“That’s an amazing result for us,” Chris said. “In every game we really played with our heart and we fought through some really tough battles.
“To get the 4-1 victory is huge for us and I am really happy with the team performance, as every point counts in the AJ Bell NBL.
“No one else got four points this evening so to take that away from one of our home matches was important.
“We always knew the doubles was going to be quite pivotal in the fixture. I think it gave us momentum going into the last two events but it was a tough one to come through.
“Adam and I took a little while to gel with it being our first game together, but after that we played really well and got the job done.
“We’ve got Team Derby next here and hopefully we can give them a tough time. They were the champions last year but we want to make the University of Nottingham into a bit of a fortress for us.
“We’ve seen from last year that anything can happen in this league. We’ve been really consistently good in the league this year but we’re not going to get complacent.”
The result leaves Surrey Smashers with an uphill task to qualify for the AJ Bell NBL finals day with one match-night of the regular season remaining, but Gabby remained upbeat her side could pull it out of the bag in their final clash against Birmingham Lions.
And following another success at the English Nationals over the weekend alongside husband Chris, the 25-year-old is confident the pairing are coping with the pressure well as the Rio Olympics draw ever closer.
She said: “It’s always nice to get as many national titles as you can. It’s all about your pride and doing it for your country as well. It was a good weekend.
“There is always that expectation that Chris and I should win the nationals, but it never a free tournament. We can’t really go in there and play freely, as if we don’t win we leave with nothing at all.
“But that is character building. I think it’s good to have that pressure on you and to learn how to deal with it - it’s good practice.
“The Commonwealth Games was another example as we were seeded No.1 there and we delivered.”
For AJ Bell NBL fixtures, tickets and team news visit nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @NBL_official