Pictured: Jacob Schueler, Australia. Photo credit: Ballarat Badminton
Two rivalries ensured an electric atmosphere on finals day at the VICTOR Oceania Men’s and Women’s Team Championships 2020.
The Trans-Tasman gold medal match between Australia and New Zealand took place on the courts parallel to one of the biggest Pacific rivalries – New Caledonia and Tahiti – who are competing for the bronze.
Both opening singles games showed every players commitment to the cause, as Abhinav Manota’s made a fantastic recovery from 10-4 down to take the first game 28-26, while New Caledonia’s Ronan Ho-Yagues got the first game under his belt 21-19. Both performances inspired the team to take their respective gold and bronze medals.
Men’s team – Gold medal match
Australia’s Anthony Joe got Oceania’s reigning men’s single champion hot under the collar as he lead for most of the first game. At 10-4 up in the first game, Manota took it up a notch to bring the game back into contention, with the pair always within one point of each other from 16-16. They went the distance as Manota took the first game in extension before following up with a more prominent win in the second.
New Zealand’s men’s team were blessed by current and previous men’s singles specialists as the next two players on court were made up of the 2019 champion and 2020 runner-up. However, Australia’s Schueler and Lin did not let the occasion exceed them as they flipped the scoreboard around.
Maika and Dylan were assigned with the survival mission as walked on to court in a must win situation for New Zealand to stay in contention.
An interesting decision by Team Australia saw a split of their usual pairings, as Rio 2016 Olympian Matthew Chau partnered with Mitchell Wheller took on the kiwis first. However, the pair justified the risk as they lead the team to a 3-1 victory and booked their place in the TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020.
- Abhinav Manota (NZL) vs Anthony Joe (AUS) 28-26 21-16
- Jacob Schueler (AUS) vs Oscar Guo (NZL) 21-18 16-21 21-14
- Ying Xiang Lin (AUS) vs Edward Lau (NZL) 21-19 23-21
- Matthew Chau/Mitchell Wheller (AUS) vs Maika Phillips/Dylan Soedjasa (NZL) 21-17 21-13
- Simon Wing Hang Leung/Sawan Serasinghe (AUS) vs Oliver Leydon-Davis/Abhinav Manota (NZL) 21-15 21-13
Team manager and coach (and ex-Australian player) Stuart Brehaut said:
“I’m very happy with the outcome. Perhaps a little bit surprised as we knew New Zealand entered the match as favourites”
“It was a good opportunity for our players and they all stepped up today”
Talking of the decision to split up the men’s doubles pairs:
“Given that New Zealand’s strength in the men’s singles was so high – we wanted to maximize our opportunity to take two points in the doubles”, says Brehaut.
Australia and New Zealand will meet once again at 1pm local time (GMT+11) as the women’s team compete for the gold. Watch their match on the live stream, powered by OVO.
Men’s team – bronze medal match
With the bronze medal and the pride of the Pacific at place, Tahiti and New Caledonia bared all on Saturday morning.
New Caledonia’s Ronan Ho-Yagues lead the charge as he took the first game. However, Beaubois returned to the second game with interest as he put his foot on the gas, outwitting his opponent to win the next two comfortable games.
Looking to avenge De Geoffroy’s victory over Beaubois in the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games semifinal, Bernaix took pride in his execution of today’s match as he got the second point on the leaderboard from Tahiti.
Survival was left up to New Caledonia’s Bryan Nicole as the team were down 2-0 against Tahiti. Yet Scilloux made light work of the deciding match, pumping a fist into the air as Tahiti guaranteed their bronze medal before the doubles took place.
- Louis Beaubois (TAH) vs Ronan Ho-Yagues (NCL) 19-21 21-12 21-9
- Quentin Bernaix (TAH) vs Yohan De Geoffroy (NCL) 21-14 21-18
- Keivens Scilloux (TAH) vs Bryan Nicole (NCL) 21-13 21-17
- Louis Beaubois/Keivens Scilloux (TAH) vs Yohan De Geoffroy/Ronan Ho-Yagues (NCL) 15-21 22-20 21-19
- Quentin Bernaix/Leo Cucuel (TAH) vs Lucas Juillot/Bryan Nicole (NCL) 21-16 21-18
The men’s team presentation will take place after the women’s team finals.
Check out all results and statistics on Tournament Software.