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Nottingham crowned champions at centre:mk

Chris Adcock was beaming from ear to ear after leading his University of Nottingham Badminton side to the AJ Bell National Badminton League title with a battling 3-1 victory over Team Derby.

Their opponents had been chasing their second AJ Bell NBL title after winning in the league's inaugural year in 2015, but it wasn't to be as University of Nottingham Badminton came from behind to be crowned 2016/17 champions.

In a final featuring six Olympians, including medallists Marcus Ellis and Nina Vislova, Team Derby took first blood with women's doubles victory, before University of Nottingham took the next three rubbers.

And for Nottingham-born Adcock, lifting the trophy for his hometown team was a proud moment to cap off a phenomenal season.

“This feels really good,” he said. “This is the first time we have won it, in the NBL's third season.

“It's extra special for me being from Nottingham to take this trophy home, I'm really happy with the team and proud of the season as a whole.

“We didn't start the season that well, it took us a little while to get into it, but the momentum that we carried towards the end has been spectacular.

“The team and the support staff around the University of Nottingham have been superb, they've made it a real joy this year.

It wasn't all plain sailing for University of Nottingham Badminton though, after Team Derby's Lauren Smith and Kate Robertshaw breezed through their women's doubles tie with Jess Pugh and Li Lian Yang, prevailing in straight sets.

But a battling performance from Kieran Merrilees quickly restored parity, as he triumphed over three-time Olympian Scott Evans despite a comeback effort from the Irish player.

Victory for Adcock and Vislova swung the tie in University of Nottingham's favour, as they came from a game down to defeat Marcus Ellis and Smith 3-1.

And in an all-Malaysian clash across the net, Yang clinched the title for her side, defeating Lyddia Cheah Yi Yu in straight sets as her teammates stormed the court in celebration.

But while it was a upsetting end to the season for Team Derby, Smith – who has now lost all three Championship Finals to date – was quick to praise her side's efforts.

“It's really disappointing,” she said. “We started so well but then to lose that momentum means it's tough to take.

“The team put in a really strong performance and I think we should be proud of how we have done all season.

“Nottingham are such a strong team, they've got real depth, so we were up against it, we did all we could, but unfortunately it wasn't enough.”

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