Team Scotland’s badminton players went out of the mixed team event at the XIX Commonwealth Games today (Thursday) after a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Auld Enemy in Delhi.
Having finished in second place behind India in Group D last night, the eight-strong Scotland team progressed to a quarter final berth against England in the morning session today at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
Watson Briggs and Imogen Bankier took to the court first for the Scots in the mixed doubles tie, once again threatening to upset higher ranked opposition when they faced Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork, a pair ranked in the world’s top 10.
The Scots lost the first game 21-14 but, with a vocal contingent of travelling fans cheering them on, fought back to take the second 21-15. But in the third, Robertson in particular stepped up a gear and the English pair won 21-14 15-21 21-7 to go 1-0 up in the match
Afterwards, Bankier said: “We thought we had a chance and we showed that by taking the second game. But they are a world class pair and Nathan is very experienced – he’s one of the best mixed doubles players in the world and they stepped it up a gear in the third. They’re the kind of players who are so good that if you give them any chance at all they will take it.”
Briggs confirmed: “We served well in the second game but Nathan served amazingly in the third and when he gets into a rhythm it’s hard to break him down.
“But we might have them again in the mixed in the individual event so hopefully today’s match will help us with that and if we can break his rhythm we could have a chance.”
Kieran Merrilees was next on court for Scotland in the men’s singles, but despite his best efforts he couldn’t overcome world number 16 Raj Ouseph, leaving Scotland trailing 2-0 by the time Susan Egelstaff took to the court to play her women’s singles tie.
Egelstaff gave Team Scotland a glimmer of hope when she scored a 21-9 21-18 win over Liz Cann, the player she beat in the women’s singles bronze medal play-off match four years ago in Melbourne, but defeat in the men’s doubles for Briggs and Paul van Rietvelde gave the English team a 3-1 winning scoreline to take them through to the semi-finals.
Looking back at the match Egelstaff said: “Scotland have played England so many times that we all know what to expect from each other. We’ve had some good matches before so everyone in the team thought we might have had an outside chance today.
“I’ve beaten Liz before so I knew I could do it again and I just tried to be positive and think about my own game. I was really pleased with how I played, I controlled it well and I played some good net shots so I’m happy with my performance.
“She’s a really good fighter and a great athlete. She raised her performance in the second game today – she does that a lot. She did the same thing when I played her in Melbourne four years ago so I was happy I played well and managed to close the match out in the second game.”
Team Scotland’s shuttlers will now turn their attention to the individual events which start on Saturday, where third seed Susan Egelstaff will aim to finish on the podium as she did four years ago in Melbourne.