Rather than find excuses, Macclesfield’s Matthew Nottingham conceded he had simply not been up to scratch after failing to taste success at the National Badminton League Finals Day.
Sunday saw the culmination of the first-ever NBL season with four teams, including Nottingham’s Surrey Smashers, vying for the chance to lift the trophy.
Surrey Smashers certainly came into their play-off clash with Loughborough Sport full of confidence having topped the table in the regular season.
However, what followed was not what they were expecting, with Loughborough Sport booking their spot in the final with a 5-0 victory.
Nottingham found himself playing a crucial role in the tie, pairing up with Emily Westwood in the decisive mixed doubles with the score already 2-0 to Loughborough Sport.
But he was unable to lift his game against Marcus Elllis and Lauren Smith as any hopes of a Surrey Smashers fightback went up in smoke.
“It didn’t go to plan. Our plan was to get the men’s doubles win early doors and then the mixed doubles win but that didn’t happen and it put the pressure on the rest of the team,” he said.
“Results and performances just didn’t go our way. It was a close game in my match but we were always behind.
“We were always scraping to get points. We had a few good rallies but overall I think they were on top and they kicked us when we were down.
“Well played to them but we’ve very disappointed with how we played.
“Going onto the court at 2-0 down, we knew there was a lot of pressure on us, not only because it was a game we had to win before but now it was a game we definitely needed to win.
“There was a lot of pressure but it’s not an excuse, we didn’t play very well.”
In contrast to Surrey Smashers’ top-of-the-table finish, Loughborough Sport had finished in fourth spot, scraping into the play-offs after a strong end-of-season run.
They were unable to lift the trophy though after losing to Team Derby in the final, although Nottingham believes the initial play-off game had been a revenge-gaining exercise for their opponents.
“I think Loughborough had a bit of a point to prove because we beat them 3-2 last time,” he added.
“We are disappointed as in the league we were a lot better than how we played there. We had a lot of confidence coming in but maybe it was just one game too many.
“The crowd were great. There were a lot of Surrey fans here so it was nice to see they were supporting us when we are not just at home, which is good.”
The UK’s first ever National Badminton League (NBL) season comes to a thrilling finale on Sunday, 7 June, at K2 Crawley. Tickets are now available at nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk