Leading NZ Players Set for Early Taste of New Scoring System
Leading NZ Players Set for Early Taste of New Scoring System
Three of New Zealand’s leading Badminton players will be amongst the first to get a taste of a new scoring system being trialed at this week’s Fernbaby Auckland International, and all are happy be play the part of ‘guinea pigs’ with the eyes of the badminton world on them and their reactions to the shorter format of play.*
Oliver Leydon-Davis, Kevin Dennerly-Minturn and Susannah Leydon-Davis were all in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games and more recently in Denmark at the BWF World Championships but will this week enjoy a rare international outing on home soil at the Fernbaby International, played at the Gillies Ave Badminton Hall.
For Dennerly-Minturn in particular it is a great chance to play quite literally in his home stadium when he lines up as top seed in the men’s doubles with Leydon-Davis.
“This is a special tournament for me as I get to play at my home stadium, in front of friends and family who get to see the hard work we have put in while overseas. We (with Oliver Leydon-Davis) have won this tournament before in 2012 and are keen to play well here again to improve our ranking with an eye towards the Rio Olympics.”
The motivation is even stronger for the Aucklander given illness forced his withdrawal at the Commonwealth Games, something Dennerly-Minturn felt especially given that also removed Oliver from the men’s doubles event.
“I picked up a virus that that had me doubled up in pain a lot of the time in Glasgow. I was lucky to have great medical support from Graeme and Lynne from the NZOC medical team. Val Adams popped into see me when I was in the hospital wing and she shared some of her experiences and made sure I didn’t let this define me. She told me to focus on Worlds and that really motivated and inspired me to accept the situation and go full gas at the World Championships.”
Oliver Leydon-Davis is also motivated to perform well this week, after making the tough call to return to New Zealand from his European base in Denmark in what was largely a financially driven decision.
“I have made the tough call to return home for 12 months to finish my studies but also to put some money into the bank account to fund another tilt in Europe later on to further my game.
“Kev and I won this title in 2012 and I made the mixed semis last year so it has been a successful event for me in the past. Although this year there are a lot of unknown international entries which brings another challenge, but I feel my level is higher now than it has been in previous years so I'm looking forward to trying to repeat what I've done in the past.”
Oliver’s mixed doubles partner on that occasion was sister Susannah Leydon-Davis. The 22 year old out of the Waikato is looking to call upon the recent learnings from Glasgow and Denmark to deliver good results this week as she again pairs up with her older brother.
“Our time in Glasgow and Denmark was an amazing experience and a journey that we learnt so much from. For Olly and I this puts us in a good position coming into Auckland as we have spent a lot of time on court and competing together over the last few months. We learnt a lot and grew as players under the great coaching and support staff we had in Denmark - a lot of skills which we hope to continue to build upon and pull together further in coming times. We had an amazing amount of support from back home particularly while in Glasgow, so it will be exciting to be back and perform in front of a home crowd.”
And as for the new scoring system that is on ‘trial’ at the Fernbaby International, all three are curious as to how it will be received by players and fans alike.
“The new scoring I think should be positive for the game”, said Dennerly-Minturn. “It will mean every point has a higher value which should lift the intensity and interest for spectators. It should build more aggressive players and puts pressure on players to start better. Players will have to adjust with tactics faster but only time will tell.”
Oliver Leydon-Davis believes the new system will ‘shake things up a little bit’ but has one reservation heading into this week.
“My initial thoughts are that it will be more difficult to stage upsets, even though there's less points required to win a match now (33 as opposed to 42 in a straight sets win). Every point has more importance which means players will be 100% ready from the start as there's no chance to ease into matches anymore, and under dogs will need to win three 11 point sets instead of two 21 point sets.
“I agree with making the game more exciting but why take out the ‘win by two’ rule at 10-all (or 20 all as it is traditionally)? This was the most exciting aspect of any match. Now at 10-all it's one point then we start all over again. There's no opportunity to really build some tension and atmosphere when it's all over that quickly.”
Susannah is perhaps the most laid back of the three, content to see how it plays out at Gillies Ave this week.
“I’m not strongly for or against the new system so it will be interesting to try it out at the event. It will definitely change the dynamics of the game and will make every point all the more important with the shorter set structure. There seems to be a lot of skepticism around making the change from the current format, so in a way I'm looking forward to experiencing the proposed change in a competitive environment.”
* Historically badminton has been played as the best of three ‘first to 21 point’ games, with ‘extension’ taking place at 20-all with players having to win a game by a clear two points (23-21 and so on). The Fern Baby Auckland International is one of the first tournaments in the world to trial the proposed new system with games decided on a best of five ‘first to 11 point’ games, with no extension – creating a sudden death game winning point at 10-all.
Gillies Ave Badminton Hall, Auckland
Play starts at Gillies Ave on Thursday 18th at 4pm and then again Friday at 10am
Quarter-finals Saturday 10am, semi-finals Sat 5pm,
Finals – Sunday 11am
1 Chia Hung LU Chinese Taipei
2 Yogendran KHRISHNAN Malaysia (late withdrawal with no change to seeding list – a bye is created)
3 Kuo PO CHENG Chinese Taipei
4 Wei Jian AI Malaysia
5 Seng Zoe YEOH Malaysia
6 Chun Hsien YU Chinese Taipei
7 Michael SPENCER-SMITH England
8 Pit Seng LOW Australia
1 Kevin DENNERLY-MINTURN & Oliver LEYDON-DAVIS New Zealand
2 Matthew CHAU & Sawan SERASINGHE Australia
3 Pit Seng LOW & Anthony JOE Australia
4 Shang Kai LIN & Hsuan Wen CHANG Chinese Taipei
1 Chia Hsin LEE Chinese Taipei
2 Mei Hui CHIANG Chinese Taipei
3 Verdet KESSLER Australia
4 Joy LAI Australia
1Ching Hui CHANG & Hsin Tien CHANG Chinese Taipei
2 Joy LAI & Verdet KESSLER Australia
3 Pei Ling SHUAI & Ling Fang HU Chinese Taipei
4 Pin Chi CHAO & Ya Ting CHIANG Chinese Taipei
1Oliver LEYDON-DAVIS & Susannah LEYDON-DAVIS New Zealand
2 Pit Seng LOW & Alice WU Australia
3 Shang Kai LIN & Hsin-Yu TSAI Chinese Taipei
4 Niccolo TAGLE & Angie LEUNG New Zealand
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