Team Scotland beat Wales in mixed team badminton
Team Scotland’s badminton players have all but guaranteed themselves a place in the quarter finals of the mixed team event of the XIX Commonwealth Games.
With Sports Minister Shona Robison MSP in attendance at the evening session at the Siri Fort complex on Tuesday, the Scots whitewashed Wales, their Group D rivals and neighbours in the Athletes’ Village, with a 5-0 scoreline.
Having also beaten Barbados 5-0 in their first match on Monday, tonight’s result over the Welsh team gives the Scots two wins out of two matches. Two out of the five teams in Group D will progress to the quarter finals and with a match against Kenya to come on Wednesday in which the Scots are hot favourites, tonight’s result is likely to decide which team goes through from the group along with second seeds India.
Kieran Merrilees got the Scots off to the best possible start with a win over Martyn Lewis. The first game was a nervy and tight affair which Merrilees won 21-19 on his first game point before taking a slightly easier second game to win 21-19 21-15. After the match Merrilees said:
“There was a bit of pressure on me today to get the first point on the board for the team. I didn’t play my best badminton but I kept fighting through the whole match and managed to stay with him and take the win.
“I’ve lost similar matches before so it was good to be able to grind this one out and get the team off and running.”
Susan Egelstaff, bronze medallist in women’s singles in Melbourne four years ago, doubled the Scots advantage when she beat Sarah Thomas 21-9 21-10 before Watson Briggs and Paul van Rietvelde clinched the tie with an excellent 21-17 21-18 win in the men’s doubles over James Phillips and Joe Morgan, a pair ranked 53 in the world.
Afterwards, Briggs said: “I always like being in the crunch matches so it was good to play in the one that clinched the result for us today.
“It was made even better by the fact that I lost to the same guys in the European Men’s Team Championships in 2006, so it was nice to get a bit of revenge.”
With the match already won, Imogen Bankier and Jillie Cooper faced Caroline Harvey and Carissa Turner in the women’s doubles, beating the Welsh pair 21-19 21-13 and after a short rest Bankier once again took to the court, this time with Watson Briggs to face Lewis and Harvey in the mixed. The Scots took victory with a 21-10 21-13 scoreline to give them a convincing overall 5-0 win.
Speaking after the match, Egelstaff said: “It’s a good win for us today and I’m glad we were able to get the job done. We’ve got a really tough match against India tomorrow so it was important that we beat Wales tonight.
“I’m playing [India’s Saina] Nehwal in the singles tomorrow night. She’s the number three in the world and she’s won a couple of Super Series events this year so it’s a big test for me.
“I’ve played her twice before and she’s beaten me both times, but they were really close three-end matches. I feel like I’m playing really well at the moment so it should be a good match.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I think it will be a great experience for everyone in our team to play India in their home country. The atmosphere in the hall will be amazing.”
On Wednesday, Scotland play Kenya in the morning session at 0900hrs local time before facing India at 1900hrs in their final group game.