Men’s singles player Carl Baxter is buzzing to be sitting at the top of the National Badminton League (NBL) at Christmas following two entertaining match night wins for Surrey Smashers.
Victories over Milton Keynes Badminton and Loughborough Sport sees Surrey go into the Christmas and New Year break period as the only unbeaten team in the NBL, with more than 1000 fans witnessing an electrifying win on match-night 3 at Surrey Sports Park.
Canadian-born Baxter, who narrowly lost to Swedish number one Henri Hurskainen when Smashers hosted Loughborough, is delighted to see his side secure the ‘Christmas number one’ spot in the inaugural NBL season: “To be right at the top heading into the first festive break is amazing. We’ve made our mark on the league and people are seeing that we are real title challengers.
“We knew that this would be a competitive league with a lot of home-grown and international talent and that pretty much every team would be in with a chance of winning it.
“To be top after two matches is a great feeling. It means we can go into match night 4 full of confidence, especially as we will be playing in front of a home crowd again.”
And it’s that home crowd that Baxter says is one of the most special he has ever played in front of.
“It was truly amazing. Most of us came away from that win at Surrey Sports Park saying how it was the one of the best badminton atmospheres we have ever experienced. Nobody could have predicted that.
“To see over 1000 people in that arena for our first ever home game, getting behind us, cheering every point, was special.”
Surrey Smashers host Team Derby on Monday 26th January on match-night 4 of the NBL season, which will see Baxter placed in a possible match-up with British number one and Glasgow 2014 silver medalist Rajiv Ouseph.
“It will be a very tough match. Rajiv is a world-class player and arguably one of the best in the whole league. I really will have to be at my best to take a win but I certainly am not going to say that it will be impossible.
“We have already seen some unexpected results this season. It’s such a level playing field with everyone getting used to the new rules and format. If I am drawn against Rajiv then I am certain it will be as entertaining for the fans as every other rubber that night!”
A very limited number of tickets are still available for Smashers’ home match with Derby- a game which is set to see yet another sell-out crowd hit Surrey Sports Park!