TIGER BROKERS Tigers defeat ONEPURE Wolves 4 – 2
The much-anticipated launch of the LEARNCOACH New Zealand Badminton League took flight on Tuesday night, airing on the popular SKY SPORT Next channel. The ONEPURE Wolves & TIGER BROKERS Tigers were the first to open up their league campaigns, with each team fielding a top-notch line-up.
With the formalities complete, the mixed doubles was the first match on court, with the experienced Oliver Leydon-Davis leading the charge. The Wolves fielded a combination of experience and youth; as Leydon-Davis paired with junior Roanne Apalisok. Meanwhile the Tigers were represented by the dynamic duo of Edward Lau & Justine Villegas. The Tiger were quick off the mark to snatch the first game, before the Wolves took charge to force a decider. The third game remained neck-to-neck to 9-9, when the Tigers broke through with a clean two point lead, and first win for the team.
On the back of his clutch win, Lau returned to court in his favourite event, Men’s Singles. The adrenaline was pumping as he made light work of the Wolves’ Josh Feng in straight games, 11-6, 11-9. “I knew he was going to be trying to rally with me, because I’d already played one match,” Lau commented post-match.
Sally Fu looked to add another win to the Tiger’s scoreline, taking on the Wolves’ Catelyn Rozario. Fu blazed to an early lead pocketing the first game, and despite a late hustle, Rozario could only manage to push the second game into extension.
I was a bit lucky towards the end of the game with a few unforced errors (from Rozario).
Leydon-Davis retuned to court, with teammate Evan Wong, eager to get the Wolves on the scoreboard in the Men's Doubles. The more established Tiger pairing of Jonathan Curtin and Dacmen Vong used their partnership to their advantage to claim the first game. The Wolves’ new pairing found their form in the second, pushing the match to a deciding game. Despite a late timeout from the Tigers, Leydon-Davis’ front court dominance prevailed, securing the Wolves their first match. “We were under pressure from the start, but it was good to step up and close it out in the end,” Leydon-Davis reflected.
Wolves’ Doubles specialist, Anona Pak made her debut on court, partnering Apalisok against the Tigers’ Fu & Villegas. The Wolves quickly asserted control over the court, only letting Tigers pick up a handful of points. Tigers Coach, Henry Tam changed up the tactics, pushing the second game into extension but the Wolves’ power & control prohibited the Tigers taking the tie just yet.
The Mixed Doubles saw the Tigers ready for to close out the tie whilst the Wolves were looking to force the tie to a Golden Game playoff. In her first game of the night, Janice Jiang complimented Vong perfectly to strike the first game for the Tigers. Wolves’ Wong & Pak hustled throughout the rallies but the Tigers’ combination reigned supreme, handing the Tigers the match and the tie.
Full match details: OnePure Wolves vs Tiger Brokers Tigers