Andrew Smith might have slipped to defeat on his Loughborough Sport debut but the Portsmouth badminton star is convinced his new partnership with Jenny Wallwork will soon lead to success.
The second season of the National Badminton League (NBL) got underway on Monday night with fixtures taking place in Loughborough and Surrey.
We’ve only hit together once, so we don’t know where the other person is going to go or going to hit it, so it’s just difficult.Andrew Smith
Smith was in action at the former, as his new Loughborough Sport side hosted University of Nottingham Badminton at Loughborough University.
He took to the court alongside Wallwork for the mixed doubles – the last of five events – to face world number six Chris Adcock and NBL debutant Cheryl Seinen.
Smith and Wallwork, who had only hit together for the first time the previous day, ultimately lost 9-8, 9-6, 9-6 – although Loughborough Sport did walk away 3-2 winners on the night.
And despite the defeat, Smith is convinced there is plenty more to come from the new pairing over the coming weeks.
‘It’s difficult when you’ve not played together before,’ said the 30-year-old.
‘We’ve only hit together once, so we don’t know where the other person is going to go or going to hit it, so it’s just difficult.
‘We’ll get used to it. It was okay for a first time but we’ll get better over time.
‘Chris is obviously a very good player. He is quick and does lots of things really well but unfortunately we played to his strengths on the day.
‘We know we can do a lot better than that.’
Olympian Smith – who has won international titles in New Zealand, Australia, Croatia and Vietnam – did not play in the inaugural NBL season last term.
But Loughborough Sport were eventual runners-up.
They started that campaign slowly before recovering well, although Team Derby, University of Derby’s NBL franchise, pipped them in the final.
Loughborough Sport face a rematch with Team Derby in their next fixture on December 7.
And Smith understands how important it is to maintain their strong start to the campaign.
‘It’s really good to open the season with a victory,’ he added.
‘I know last year the team did not start so well but this year it’s really good to get that first win.
‘Hopefully we can push on now. It’s really important for the team to build on this victory in our next fixture.
‘Me and Jenny have got a couple of tournaments coming up.
‘So we will get a lot better as a pair and we are confident we can then get a win.’
n For National Badminton League fixtures, tickets and team news visit nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk or follow @NBL_official on Twitter.