C’WEALTH GAMES R32 – Auld enemy strike last… just

The evening session was top and tailed by Scotland matches, with a nervy start for third seeds Blair and Bankier against Malaysia and then the session finished by a hard […]

The evening session was top and tailed by Scotland matches, with a nervy start for third seeds Blair and Bankier against Malaysia and then the session finished by a hard battle with the old enemy England. Wales also had both mens and womens doubles pairs progress as the home nations saw a successful night

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Glasgow.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live).

The Malaysian scratch pairing of Goh and Lim gave home favourites Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier (pictured left) a mighty scare as they took the first game of their mixed match. A determined fight back from the scots saw them through however.

Bankier spoke of the match to say, “Hairy is an understatement. We know he’s a very good player, as a mixed combination we didn’t really know what to expect.”

Blair commented on Goh, “The Malaysians are all world class players but he is something special. His strength was his speed so we needed to find something to nullify that.”

For his part, Goh said, “They are really good players, I really tried my best. This tournament is the first time really for me to play mixed doubles. But now it is time to focus on the mens.”

The eighth seeded Australian pair of Smith and Veeran came up against strong opposition in Singapore’s Triyachart / Yao (pictured right) where again the Singaporeans caused misery for the Australians after putting them out at the quarter final stage of the mixed team event.

Yao said after, “They played very well today, very fast but we communicated well on court to change our strategy. There was not much pressure to beat the seeded players, just to give them a challenge, which we did.”

Ross Smith, who later progressed in the men’s doubles, was a little jaded after the match however, “They’re one of the best unseeded pairs to get so it’s a bit rough to get them in the first round. The quarter finals are not where we wanted to be [in the team tournament] so it’s been a bit of a disappointing tournament but now my focus is on the mens doubles.”

Carissa Turner came through her second match of the day as her and partner Thomas fought back from a game down to beat Australian hopefuls Juan and Somerville. Compatriots Font and Gwilt also made it through for Wales.

The match of the tournament came late on however, as fourth seeds Gabby Adcock and Lauren White (pictured left) took on Scots Imogen Bankier and Kirsty Gilmour in the womens doubles, last on court.

An acrobatic performance from the Scots saw the English pair under a lot of pressure, but the seeds just managed to scrape through in the end.

“I’m exhausted and relieved. We didn’t play our best badminton, but when it’s as intense as that you can never play your perfect game. It was very scrappy, just glad we got through it.” Say Adcock after.

Lauren talked of the game, “We started well but they really came back strong, and it’s hard, you just have to stick to your plan and try to win every rally.”

Bankier, once an England player, spoke of the Scot’s disappointment, “We knew it was going to be tough and they really showed their experience. It’s a tough first draw for us, and on top of that England-Scotland matches are always a bit loaded.”

Both Bankier and Gilmour (pictured right) ended up on the floor throwing themselves around to try to save one of the rallies, of which Gilmour said, “We’re both known for giving it our all, it’s just a real shame we didn’t win that rally.”

It was a shame for this match to have been played so late and for one of the pairs to have to lose, but I’ll leave the last words today to crowd favourite Michael Donohoe of Norfolk Island, who playing with Richard Cribb bowed out to a standing ovation in the Emirates Arena shortly before the crunch match went on court.

“It’s an experience that I’ll never forget. It’s mind blowing, the people: the officials, the helpers, the players and of course the fans, they’re all just incredible. It’s just so friendly, everyone is just trying to make sure we had a good time, and we sure did.”

The full results for the day can be found here.

About Michael Burke