Scotland are guaranteed at least a bronze medal after Motherwell’s Alex Dunn and Beith’s Eleanor O’Donnell reached the semi-finals of the mixed doubles at the European Junior Championships in Mulhouse today.
But Glasgow twins Matthew and Christopher Grimley came so close to joining them in tomorrow’s semi-finals, only to miss out to Denmark’s Daniel Lundgaard and Jesper Toft in their men’s doubles quarter-final.
Dunn and O’Donnell won their last 16 clash with Ukraine’s Oleksandar Shmundyak and Yevgeniya Pakssyutova 21-16 21-12 then booked their place in the last four with a 21-16 22-20 victory over England’s Callum Hemming and Fee Teng Liew.
They now face top seeds Pawel Smilowski and Magdalena Swierczynska of Poland in tomorrow’s semi-final.
The Grimleys began today with a 21-13 21-13 win over Dutch pair Sebastiaan Li and Ties Van Der Lecq but Dunn and Giffnock's Ciar Pringle just missed out on joining them in the last eight when they went down to second seeds Smilowski and Robert Cybulski 21-19 20-22 23-21. Dunn and Pringle saved two match points in the second game to force a decider and then saved two match points before the Poles won at the third attempt.
In the quarter-finals the Grimleys fought a battle royal with Lundgaard and Toft before going down 19-21 21-19 21-19 after leading 16-11 and 17-13 in the decider in a 58-minute thriller.
Coach Robert Blair said: “The day started with very composed and comfortable wins for Alex and Eleanor and the Grimley twins.
“The lack of drama was made up for in our final last 16 contest where Ciar and Alex agonisingly lost to the Polish second seeds, setting in the third. A few unfortunate errors and good shots by the Polish pair gave them passage to the quarter finals.
“Alex made amends with Eleanor by controlling their quarter final match against English opposition. Despite a few rash shots in the second set, where the prospect of winning a medal was coming between them and their tactics, they played with great aggression and skill.
“They managed to regain an element of composure after letting three match points slip away and finished off the match 22-20.
“They can look ahead with little fear of the remaining pairs if they can repeat their performances of today.
“Unfortunately the Grimley boys lost in a very tight match against the Danish No.1 pair. There was never more than a few points in it throughout the match. The boys managed to take a little control in the third game and edged out a five-point lead at 16-11. However, that sparked a spirited fight from the Danes who produced some incredible shots to sneak through 21-19.”
BADMINTONscotland Chief Executive Anne Smillie said: “Congratulations to Alex and Eleanor on winning at least a bronze. Let’s hope they can keep the winning streak going.
“I feel for the twins and for Alex and Ciar in their doubles as they came so close to progressing.”
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