April

Defeat to Malaysia but Scotland can hold their heads high

Scotland’s chances of a mixed team medal at the Commonwealth Games came to an end after a spirited defeat to defending champions Malaysia in the quarter-finals.

The team had fought their way to the last-eight with a strong showing in the group stages, posting two wins, but the second seeds, who fielded Olympic silver medallists in each of the three matches, proved a challenge too much on the Gold Coast, .

A 3-0 defeat was the eventual scoreline, despite the hard work of the team, which included Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson taking an early lead against Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying.

And Hall knows there are plenty of positives he can take away from his team experience Down Under.

“That's the best we could have hoped for,” he said. “They are the Olympic silver medallists and that's the first time we've played together in two years so to go out and take a set off them and actually challenge them is much higher than we could have expected, so we’re just really happy at the moment.

“We gave it our best shot but they are a quality pair and played some really nice shots so I don’t think there was much else we could have done.

“We don't get to play Olympic silver medallists every day of the week so for Scotland to play Olympic silver medallists in each of the first three matches today is pretty special for us.

“We are still early in our careers so to get the experience of playing these people on this kind of stage is going to give us a lot of confidence.

“We showed there that we can compete and it shows there is a good future in Scottish badminton. It's up there with the best I've ever played.”

It was Hall and MacPherson who opened up proceedings, taking the first game 21-14 before being pegged back by the defending champions who won the opening tie of the match 14-21 21-18 21-15.

Then came Kieran Merrilees’ chance to pit his wits against one of the greatest players of all time, more than holding his own despite losing the first game 21-14 to Lee Chong Wei.

It was an effort he unfortunately wasn’t be able to replicate in the second game, missing out 21-7, though he could certainly leave the court with his head held high.

“It's always going to be tough playing against one of the best players ever,” he said. “Back to back playing the world number two [Srikanth Kidambi, against India yesterday] then Lee Chong Wei is tough.

“The first set was pretty good. It's hard sometimes. You give these guys so much respect you can burn energy just by being nervous. I felt pretty good at the start and then I just made a few mistakes and lost confidence.

“You're never happy when you lose a match but against someone like that you want to put in a memorable performance.”

Hall then returned to the court, this time with Alex Dunn, with Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong on the opposite side of the net as Scotland looked to stay in the competition.

But, with Olympic silver medallists once again their opponents, the challenge proved just a step too far, missing out 21-10 21-15.

Yet with plenty of impressive performances throughout, this is a competition the team will certainly take plenty of pride from, with MacPherson summing up the confidence Scotland can take from the event.

“It was nice to go there and play new players and get some good quality matches,” she said.

“They put out a really strong line up in the first three matches of the tie.

“We will take confidence out of that match and it shows we can play against world class players.

“This whole team event is the best badminton I've ever played so hopefully I can take it forward into the individuals.”