Kieran Waters reaches to the right to hit the shuttlecock with the racket in his right hand.
Kieran Waters helped guide his side to a 12th successive win.

It was a testing day for many of Edge Hill University’s sports teams as the BUCS season nears its conclusion – but the men’s firsts badminton squad continued their march for double glory unabated.

Skipper Kieran Waters’ players came through what was expected to be a tough test at Liverpool seconds with a whitewash victory which means it’s now 12 wins from 12 for the campaign. 

Waters and the versatile Matthew Latham completed wins in their singles rubbers, before Blu Holgate and England para-badminton international Isaak Dalglish teamed up to win their doubles matches in straight sets, a feat repeated by Sam Pierce and the returning Bradley Smith. It means the firsts now head the table by three points from Chester in Northern Tier 3 with two games to go – and its Chester next-up, with only a point needed to clinch the title. 

Jodie Talbot lunges forward as the shuttlecock connects with her racket.
Jodie Talbot on the stretch. © Ian Shard

Meanwhile, the women’s firsts boosted their hopes of retaining their place in Northern Tier 2 by claiming a 4-4 draw with Liverpool seconds.

Archie Dubbins brings his tennis racket down as he follows through from a serve while Joe Wilkinson stands near the net, poised for the return.
Archie Dubbins and Joe Wilkinson impressed in Edge Hill’s victory over Lancaster. © Steve Walker

There’s all to play for for the men’s firsts tennis squad who claimed an impressive 5-1 win at Lancaster seconds. Captain Joe Wilkinson and Oliver Macneil were victorious in singles and doubles, with Archie Dubbins also winning, teaming up with Alex Clare in doubles. The victory leaves Edge Hill six points off Keele firsts in top spot, but crucially with games in hand on their rivals in Northern Tier 3. 

Also victorious were the women’s firsts, 4-2 against Keele firsts in Northern Tier 3. Elise Bond and Eleanor Peet secured wins in singles and doubles, with Emily Armstrong also contributing to the success which leaves them two points off leaders Manchester seconds – who have played one game less but who Edge Hill meet at home on the final day of the campaign.

James Aberley chases the ball with his hockey stick on a wet pitch.
James Aberley was influential in the men’s hockey’s shock victory over leaders Manchester. © Clare Southall

The men’s firsts hockey team showed true character following their cruel cup exit last time out in shocking Northern Tier 2 leaders Manchester seconds 1-0 thanks to a second-half strike from Nick Fletcher. Danny Harding produced a Man-of-the-Match display in goal while special mention, too, for the defensive efforts of Ross Hall, Ross Gordon, James Aberley and Lewis Gannon. However, it was a tough afternoon for the women’s firsts, who went down 7-2 against Manchester Met firsts – Shannen Robinson and Abi Hall getting the Greens’ goals. 

Edge Hill rugby league firsts’ Trophy challenge is over after they were beaten 32-20 by Liverpool firsts, but there was better news for the rugby union firsts in Northern Tier 4 action, although they were unconvincing in their 15-10 triumph over rock-bottom Keele seconds. Meanwhile, the women’s firsts went down 27-0 at Northern Tier 2 leaders Lancaster, which sets up a relegation decider against York St John firsts in early March.

There were defeats for both men’s football teams, although the firsts weren’t disgraced in going down 3-0 to Northern Tier 2 champions UCFB (Etihad) in a game played at Curzon Ashton FC. The seconds were beaten 2-1 by Chester seconds which all but ends their promotion bid from Northern Tier 4.

Holly Owen keeps tight hold of the netball as a member of the opposite side stretches out to block her.
Firsts captain Holly Owen takes charge. © Ian Shard

It was a disappointing day in netball as all four teams went down to defeat. The firsts lost 37-27 to Chester firsts despite the efforts of Chloe Meade, while the seconds battled hard in their 58-53 at Salford firsts – the only side forced to travel in this round of fixtures. The thirds were unlucky in being edged out 38-36 by Chester thirds, with Beth Turnbull and Maddy Brooks instrumental in their comeback although the fourths could have no complaints in their defeat, losing 33-16 to Keele thirds.

Skipper Lucia Neri dribbles the basketball past a member of the opposing team.
Skipper Lucia Neri in action against Lancaster. © Chris Mowayy

Alas, it was also a tough day at the office for the firsts’ basketball squads – the men went down 90-52 to Keele firsts, while the women faded after half-time in going down 60-32 against Lancaster firsts.