Historically the first day of the European Men’s and Women’s team championships has provided the opportunity for some of the lesser known badminton nations pit their skills against the more established countries in the opening rounds on the group stages resulting in a majority of one sided matches as the big guns stretch their legs.
However there was one match that was always going to have a certain spice attached to it this week, given some unsavoury online antics that prevailed in the build up to these championships, that match being the England versus Scotland encounter.
It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that there is no real love lost between both nations when pitted opposite each other in any sport but this match had even more significance given that both teams were so evenly matched.
If it had of been soccer it would have been a real game of two halves as Scotland got off to the best start possible as they stormed into a two game lead with wins from Susan Egelstaff and Kirsty Gilmour in the first two ladies singles.
The Scots appeared to have the match under control as Linda Sloan took a 1 game lead against Kate Robertshaw in the third singles but that is where the fairy tale ended for team Scotland as The tall English girl called on all her resolve to come back from match point down on two occasions to take the match 26-24.
“I really did not play my best here today but I just remained focused and when you are part of a team you fight until the end and that is what I did. It was such a relief in the end to win as we knew then we could take the doubles to win the match” said Robertshaw to Badminton Europe after the match.
Trailing 2-1 the power in the English doubles was just a little too hot to handle for the Scottish girls as Wallwork and White defeated Gilmour and Guo. Following hot on their heels were top English pair Heather Olver and Maz Agathangelou and the combination of Sloan and Cooper were always just half a step behind in the match.
The English took the match to warm cheers from their team mates in what proved to be the tie of the round but more so it was great to see both teams do what they do best just play good competitive badminton and leave all the bickering from last week behind at the door.
As a side show to the main England vs Scotland event the Dutch men’s team welcomed back both Eric Pang and Dicky Palyama to their team and the home nation proved that they have real medal credentials here this week with a 5-0 demolition of Hungary.
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Article and Image by Mark Phelan (Live in Amsterdam)