Lydia Powell hopes home-court advantage proves vital as the Hastings badminton star bids to help her team claim an historic National Badminton League title.
The National Badminton League is in its inaugural season and reaches a climax on Sunday June 7 when the top four teams go head-to-head at finals’ day.
Powell will be turning out for Team Derby, who finished runners-up in the league and now face a stern test against the University of Nottingham for a spot in the final later that same day.
But the 19-year-old believes her side has all the tools necessary to make it all the way and be crowned the first ever champions.
“I’m really excited for the finals of the NBL and I’m happy it’s at the K2 in Crawley. We had the senior nationals there and it was great for me being a southerner,” she said.
“I had a really good vibe when I stepped out on court and it almost felt like a home court for me.
“There should be a big crowd there and I’m looking forward to helping Derby hopefully be successful.
“I think the NBL season for Derby has been good. There’s been ups and downs, but I certainly think we’re one of the strongest teams.
“It would be really special for the team to win, and it would be a chance to go down in badminton history as the first team to win the title. That will definitely be a big motivation.”
Derby were battling with Surrey Smashers for top spot in the league, but just missed out after winning three of their five matches.
But Powell has no doubt that if her side meets Surrey in the final, Derby can exact revenge for their 5-0 defeat earlier in the year.
“We have got Nottingham in the play-offs. They’re another strong side like Surrey and obviously one of our closest rivals,” she added. “But we know we have the play to beat them in Crawley.
“We took a bit of fall against Surrey earlier in the season, but we managed to bounce back to finish the season strongly and hopefully we can go on and win on finals’ day.
“Ideally we’d want Loughborough in the final, we have beaten them before this season. But a rematch with Surrey would be equally good as it was would be a chance for redemption.”
The UK’s first National Badminton League (NBL) season comes to a thrilling finale on Sunday, 7 June, at K2 Crawley. Tickets are available at nationalbadmintonleague.co.uk
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!