‘Mixed emotions’ as Emily returns to NBL action

Emily Westwood in action for the Surrey Smashers
Emily Westwood in action for the Surrey Smashers

Her Surrey Smashers side may have got their season up and running with a win but Hemel Hempstead’s Emily Westwood admitted it was a case of mixed emotions after losing her own mixed doubles contest.

The second season of the National Badminton League got underway on Monday night with two fixtures taking place in Loughborough and Surrey.

Westwood was in action at the latter as the Smashers played host to Milton Keynes-based side MK Badminton in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Surrey Sports Park.

By the time Westwood took to the court in the mixed doubles, her side had already guaranteed victory after winning the men’s doubles, men’s and women’s singles and women’s doubles events.

And while the pressure was off, Westwood and her partner Rob Blair were seeking to end the night on a high.

As it was, the Danish pairing of Anders Kristiansen and Marie Roepke proved too strong for them, as they edged the contest on a tie-break to leave the score at 4-1 to the Smashers.

And Westwood admitted a lack of playing time alongside her partner may have played a part.

“It’s a bit mixed emotions,” she said. “It’s good to be back here, the crowd were good as usual, helping us out. It was a lot of fun.

“Obviously going on we already knew we had won but we wanted to put in a good performance.

“It was a bit of a nervy start, we hadn’t played together before. But once got into it, I thought we played pretty well.

“They had their powerplay at the end which was a decider and it got a net cord so there’s nothing you can do about that.

“It was quite even at the end of the game really. I thought we did well to come back from two sets down anyway.”

The Smashers’ next match sees them take on reigning NBL champions Team Derby on November 30.

Although Westwood has plenty of opportunities to fine-tune her game before then with other competitions coming thick and fast.

“I’ve got quite a few tournaments, next week we’ve got a friendly match against Germany so we’re away Tuesday to Thursday and then I’ve got a block of tournaments. Scottish, Wales and Ireland so it’s quite a busy schedule ahead,” she added.

“But I’m happy with how things are progressing, I just need to get some more consistency with Rob and that will come from playing together more often.”

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