Magee's celebrate first round win over 2016 medallists
Magee’s take down 2016 bronze medallists
Date: 4/25/2017 10:52 PM
Published by : Mark Phelan
The 2017 European Championships got under way this afternoon in Kolding, Denmark with rounds in both singles events and mixed doubles. Irish number one pair Sam & Chloe Magee created a mini upset in the mixed doubles beating bronze medallists from 2016 Selena Piek and Jacco Arends in a day that turned out to be perfect for Ireland with three wins from three. 

The Magee siblings knew that there was an opportunity to win their match today against the Dutch given this was the first time we have seen Piek & Arends on a court in over 7 months. Piek has been out of the game with injury and this European’s is her comeback in both mixed and doubles. 

The match itself proved to be a very edgy affair with the Dutch doing a lot of soul searching and the Irish intent on keeping their noses in front. The Magee’s got the first game over the line 21-17 and went into the second with the momentum. 

The Dutch continued to fight in a match that lacked fluidity with both pairs trading points from 9-9 right up to 21-21. It was the Irish however that made the crucial break and took two quick points in succession to take the match and leave the Dutch despondent and out in round 1 after their 2016 semi-final. 

“We knew coming into this match we had a chance given Selena’s time off the court due to injury” said Chloe Magee immediately after their win “That being said they didn’t turn up here just to take part. They are a quality pair and they came to win. 

“It certainly was not a classic game of badminton. It was a very edgy and nervous game from both sides of the net but we stayed focused and got the job done and onto the next round with a rest day tomorrow.” said Sam Magee to Badminton Europe. 

That win did a lot for the confidence of the Irish camp as shortly afterwards Rachael Darragh came on court and after going 8-0 down against Flore Vandenhoucke of Belgium came storming back to win the first game 23-21 and the match with a 22-20 win in the second. 

Scott Evans made it three wins from three for team Ireland in the most bizarre match of the day. The Irishman lost the first set without even testing Croatian Zvonimir Durkinjak and at 11-1 down in the second the car was already warming up for a quick trip back to Copenhagen. 

“I really struggled to get into the game. I mentally struggled and the legs were just not there. 1 set and 11-1 down I think I was already in the car on the way home to Copenhagen. They I just called on my fighting spirit and just heard the voice of my mum in the back of my head telling me not to give up and keep fighting.”

Evans did indeed keep fighting and clawed his way back into the match and took the second game 21-17. There was little celebration of the usual release of emotion when the Irishman took the match with a 21-17 win in the decider and Evans once again was truly honest with the reasons why.

“The match did not deserve a celebration. It was a bit of a slog and it was just a strange match. Maybe my attitude was bad in some ways in the first set and half and just need to move on now and prepare for Anders Antonsen tomorrow as I will need to be far better than that today to even trouble him.”

To watch Scott Evans full post match interview click HERE

Mixed big guns enjoy first round shake down

The mixed doubles first round saw the introduction of some of the tournaments big stars as all the fancied pairs came through untroubled. The Adcock’s have a medal on their minds and their 21-10 21-5 win over Schaller and Burkart gives us the impression the English are right where they need to be to claim their first European medal. 

“It’s always good to come out in the opening round and get the job done” said Chris Adcock after the win. “We do not have a European medal and it is something we want so we will be doing everything possible to achieve that this week. 

The Danish armada was in full sail also as top seeds Fischer & Pedersen got their campaign underway knocking out the number two English pair of Pugh & Lane while Thygesen and Christiansen (pictured above) overcame a potential banana skin beating Efler and Seidel in a relatively easy two games. Gravholt and Fruergaard completed the hat trick of mixed wins for the home nation to give Denmark a 100% win rate across all matches on day 1 in Kolding. 

To view today's photo gallery from #EC17 in Kolding click HERE

To catch up on all the results from day 1 click HERE

Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Kolding for Badminton Europe)

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