Seeking redemption after narrowly missing Wednesday's final, the Huawei Dragons and OnePure Wolves met last night in the bronze play-off of the LearnCoach New Zealand Badminton. Both teams were hungry to claim the $2,500 prize on offer for third place.
In a crucial first match, Dylan Soedjasa and Alyssa Tagle made a fast start, racing to a 11-4 first game win. Momentum soon swing the way of Oliver Leydon-Davis and Roanne Apalisok as they fought hard to win the second game, before dominating in the third.
A strong Wolves start proved important as Oscar Guo and then Shaunna Li notched singles victories for the Dragons. While Oscar’s result was never in doubt, the women’s singles did not go entirely to script, as Catelyn Rozario fought towards an upset, claiming the first game. However it wasn’t to be - Li soon woke from her slumber and held Rozario to a mere six points across the final two games, swinging the momentum of the tie to the Dragons.
Desperately needing another win, the Wolves turned to Leydon-Davis and Evan Wong in the men's doubles. Showing few nerves, the Wolves pair impressed throughout as they evened the ledger at 2-2.
Unbeaten in their previous six appearances in the LearnCoach NZBL, Anona Pak and Apalisok sought to complete the perfect season and drag the lead their way. Worthy opponents Li and Ashley Tan put on a strong display, but the pair held tough to win a thrilling final game, 15-13.
Having impressed since pairing together in round 4, Guo and Li hurried around the court, saving a game point and pushing the tie to a Golden Game with a win in the mixed doubles.
Backing her players to reverse the earlier loss, Rikke Olsen-Siegemund selected Men’s Doubles as the Golden Game, naming Adam Jeffrey and Dylan Soedjasa. In a fiery match, Soedjasa controlled the rallies with skill and with the win, ensured the Dragons season finished on a high.
The Crystal Ashley MVP was awarded to Roanne Apalisok.
Full Match Details: Bronze Playoff - Huawei Dragons vs. OnePure Wolves