Scotland opened their European Junior Team Championships campaign with a resounding win today, beating Croatia 4-1 in Tallin, Estonia.
Rachel Sugden got the team off to a perfect start, beating Ira Misir 21-14 21-9 before Scotland were pegged back when Luka Ban overcame Christopher Grimley in a marathon singles match lasting almost an hour.
Despite winning the first game Grimley lost the match 11-21 21-17 22-20 but from that point on Scotland were dominant.
Lauren Middleton and Sarah Sidebottom won their women’s doubles 21-17 21-10 then Joshua Apiliga and Matthew Grimley sealed the overall victory with an emphatic 21-5 21-10 men’s doubles win.
Speaking afterwards Josh said “Really happy to get a win today and it was a privilege to play with Matt!” while Grimley agreed “I’m very happy to deliver the winning point with Josh and give Scotland a good start to the competition.”
All that remained was for Adam Pringle and Rachel Andrew to round off a 4-1 victory in which the entire team played a part, winning their mixed doubles encounter with Ban and Inga Sadaic 21-12 21-15.
Coach Robert Blair was happy with what he saw from his players and speaking after the match said: “There was an edgy start to a lot of the games as we adjusted to the hall.
“However, there were some good performances, especially in the women’s doubles at a crucial time in the match.
“It’s a good start moving into the crucial games against Poland and Holland tomorrow.”
Scotland are one of the 5/8 seeds in the competition and are in Group 8 with Croatia, Netherlands, Poland and Romania.
Tomorrow the young Scots will face Poland at 09.00hrs local time and Netherlands at 16.00hrs local time. Netherlands currently top the group, having beaten Poland today 5-0.
The team event runs until 11 September and will be followed by the individual events until 16 September.
Results, scores and draws at www.tournamentsoftware.com
Live streaming at www.youtube.com/user/BadmintonEuropeConf