By Jack Clarke
UCLan Men’s 1st’s edged past Manchester Metropolitan in a thrilling encounter to advance into the last 32 of the Northern Conference Cup.
In a very evenly matched encounter inside the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, it finished 4-4 so it went down to individual games won, which UCLan edged 9-8.
It started brilliantly for UCLan with a 21-15, 21-12 singles victory for Matthew Vacher but there was barely time to celebrate before MMU levelled things up with a dominant 21-16, 21-14 win over Dan Porter.
The first round of doubles games took it to 2-2 with a hard fought 21-18, 21-17 win for the pairing of Captain James Torch and Matty Timms but MMU responded almost immediately after an exciting 3 game match against UCLan’s Arnaldo Solorzano and Zaryab Khan, which they eventually won 14-21, 21-17, 21-18.
With everything to play for in the second round of games, MMU started stronger with an impressive 21-16, 21-16 singles victory over Matthew Vacher, taking the overall lead at 3-2.
UCLan’s Dan Porter came flying out of the blocks in his singles encounter, cruising to a 21-12, 21-14 victory to once again make it all square.
So it all came down to the final two doubles games and it was UCLan who drew first blood. Leading by example, James Torch and his partner Matty Timms put a point on the board for the home side winning 21-16, 21-18.
With all the pressure on MMU in the final game, needing a win to stand any chance of progressing, they dealt with it brilliantly by beating Arnaldo Solorzano and Zaryab Khan 21-12, 21-16 to take it to 4-4 after all games had been played.
Cup Competition rules state that a draw must be decided by individual games won, so the calculations were made and UCLan were declared the winners with the score agonisingly close at 9-8.
Following the win Captain James Torch said: “I think we played alright, we won the game but it would be nicer to win outright instead of the draw. We played well, had some good games and it’s just nice to be through to the next round.”
UCLan go on to face the winners of the first round match between Sunderland and Teesside in the last 32.