Posted on 16th February 2021
Scotland’s best shuttlers travelled to Finland last week ahead of the European Mixed Team Championships finals, taking place in Vantaa from 16th-20th February. It’s the first time Scotland have played in the final stages of the competition since 2015. That year, the Scots reached the quarter-finals before defeat to a strong Russian team ended their campaign.
This year Scotland have been drawn in Group 1 against reigning champions Denmark, hosts Finland and a strong German team while Group 2 features England, France, the Netherlands and Russia. Two teams from each group will progress to the knock-out semi-finals.
Scotland beat 2013 champions Germany in the group stages in 2015 and are likely to have to repeat that feat to progress this time around. The Danes are hot favourites, having dominated the biennial event in recent years and have been champions since 2015. But there is an outstanding team spirit prevalent in the current squad which has already helped the Scots cause an upset in this event, toppling seeds Spain in December’s qualification stage.
Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance had brought Scotland back from the brink of defeat in that match before Adam Hall and Chris Grimley closed out the win with a dominant men’s doubles performance and Grimley is relishing the next challenge awaiting him in Finland.
“I’m looking forward to the European Mixed Team Championships” he said.
“We’ve got a really good team and team spirit is high both on and off court. I’m looking forward to playing some strong teams and representing Scotland.”
Unfortunately Kirsty Gilmour, Scotland’s most experienced player, suffered an injury against the Spaniards and will not recover in time for the finals but the core of the team is the same as the one which secured qualification, bolstered by the addition of Matthew Grimley, Eleanor O’Donnell and Rachel Sugden.
“I’m really looking forward to the European Championships. I’ve been injured and haven’t played [competitively] since November” said O’Donnell.
“I also love team events, it’s nice to go away as a team as we’re a really close-knit group.”
The full squad, which will be led by coach Robert Blair, is:
Joshua Apiliga, 19, Glasgow, 2 international caps
Chris Grimley, 20, Glasgow, 7 caps
Matthew Grimley, 20, Glasgow, 3 caps
Adam Hall, 24, Mauchline, 17 caps
Julie MacPherson, 23, Edinburgh, 24 caps
Holly Newall, 22, Mauchline, 8 caps
Eleanor O’Donnell, 22, Beith,17 caps
Ciar Pringle, 21, Giffnock, 2 caps
Rachel Sugden, 19, Alexandria, 6 caps
Ciara Torrance, 21, Paisley, 10 caps
Scotland will face Germany in the opening match on Tuesday 16 February. Finland are the opponents on 17 February before the Danish tie the following day, with the top two teams going through to the knock-out semi-finals.Go Back