Hastings badminton player Lydia Powell admits etching her name into the record books will be something she will treasure forever after getting her hands on the trophy at the National Badminton League finals’ day.
The inaugural NBL season reached its climax at K2 Crawley on Sunday with Powell’s Team Derby lifting the trophy after a thrilling 3-2 win over Loughborough Sport in front of the live Sky Sports television cameras.
It was far from plain sailing for the newly-crowned champions, however, who were also taken the distance by the University of Nottingham Badminton in the play-offs before eventually triumphing 3-2 to make the final.
Powell herself took to the court in the women’s doubles alongside NBL debutant Tiara Samuel.
And despite losing both their matches against first Ellen Mahenthiralingam and Carissa Turner, and then Chloe Birch and Jenny Wallwork, she was on the winning side overall after Karin Schnaase won her decisive singles match against Linda Zetchiri in the final.
“It’s amazing to win, everyone wants to be the first team to do it because it will go down in history,” said the 19-year-old.
It’s amazing to win, everyone wants to be the first team to do it because it will go down in historyLydia Powell
“For the younger players as well, it’s going to be really important. It’s a bragging right later on in life, we all wanted to win it so badly.”
Although Powell won the women’s doubles title at the U19 English National Championships in February, facing an established pair like Birch and Wallwork in the final was always going to be a tough ask.
“Playing against a pair that have played together that much, it was quite difficult to come up against them in the final,” she continued.
“I think especially for me and Tiara, we’ve never played together so it was just good to try and make it level when we could, and try and give them a good game.
“Luckily the whole team came through and we could go on and lift the trophy.”
For Powell, the NBL finals’ day provided another chance to take on some of the best players in the country.
And while some of her opponents may have more playing experience, Powell is adamant the younger players were better at adapting to the new, quicker NBL rules.
“It’s a quick, fast game, really explosive and all about being powerful, and the youngsters seem to be bossing it,” she added.
“It’s loud playing out there in front of the crowd. I would say I’m used to it as I’ve played quite a few different places like that now.
“But it’s still great to be able to go out and play in front of a loud crowd.”
* For NBL Finals Day reaction, photos and video, visit nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk
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