November

Bronze for Scotland at European Junior Team Championships

Scotland belied their seeding to pick up a bronze medal at the European U17 Team Championship with a sparkling win over France in Prague.

Heading into Friday with three group wins out of three – winning 12 individual matches and losing just three – the young Scots took on higher ranked France for a place in the semi-finals.

Rachel Andrew and Adam Pringle got them off to a strong start in the mixed doubles, but were made to fight by Kenji Lovang and Juliette Moinard.

Eventually the Scots prevailed 9-21 21-19 21-14 in 43 minutes and progress only got smoother for Scotland from thereon out.

Joshua Apiliga claimed a comfortable 21-10-21-12 victory over Clement Allain before Rachel Sugden downed Ainoa Desmons 22-20 21-13 to clinch the all-important third point and secure Scotland a medal.

With top seeds Denmark having overcome Germany 3-0 earlier in the day, they set up a clash with the Scots to decide who would play for gold on Saturday.

And the Danes proved too strong in the end, but only after Scotland had made them work for every single point.

Andrew and Pringle were again taken to three games, losing the opener 21-12 before hitting back with a 21-16 victory of their own.

That score was reversed in the decider, though, as Clara Graversen and Sebastian Gronberg winning the first point of the tie for Denmark.

Apiliga then came within a whisker of levelling the tie as he won his opener 21-18 against Nicolaj Wolf.

And when he saved five game points to draw even at 20-20 in the second, he could have gone on to seal the game and the match.

But Wolf won the two crucial points to clinch it 22-20 before taking the decider 21-14 in a 53-minute epic.

Sugden could then do little to prevent Frederikke Lund from taking the deciding point, going down 21-15 21-18 to leave Denmark playing for gold but Scotland celebrating their bronze.

But there won’t be too many celebrations for Scotland as their attention now turns to the individual events, which get underway tomorrow.

Full results at www.tournamentsoftware.com

Photos by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe