By Jack Lacey-Hatton
Matthew and Christopher Grimley topped off a first-class week of badminton by becoming Scottish Open men’s doubles champions.
Roared on by a passionate crowd inside the Emirates Arena, the Glaswegian twins produced a wonderful display to beat the talented Malaysian pair of Junaidi Arif and Muhammad Haikal.
It means for the fourth tournament in a row the Open has seen a home winner after previous triumphs from Kirsty Gilmour (2017, 2018) and Alexander Dunn and Adam Hall in the same event (2019)
However, it wasn’t without tension, with the brothers managing to survive a game point in a close opener, which was neck-and-neck throughout.
But winning two lengthy rallies in succession turned the match on its head and gave the eighth seeds the advantage.
They followed this by producing a performance beyond their years in the second game, to wrap up a first BWF International Challenge title, 22-20, 21-16.
“It feels amazing to be champions,” said Matthew after the final.
“We came here this week hoping to do well but never thought we would have the trophies at the end!
“We can take so much confidence from this week, even though every round was really tough.
Read our report of the Scottish Open 2021 singles finals here
“It’s the biggest achievement of our career and to keep this title in Scotland means a lot. We’re so happy about that.”
Christopher added: “The first (game) was so intense. The Malaysians were up a little and we had to bring it back.
“Just getting that first set really gave us a bit of confidence. We pushed on well in the second, but then getting over the line was tough.
“That last point felt like it took forever, but I’m so glad we got it in the end.”
The mixed doubles final saw another British winner, with third seeds Jessica Pugh and Callum Hemming triumphing over Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto from India, 21-15, 21-17.
It was a strong start from the number three seeds who powered through the opening game in barely quarter of an hour.
The English team were pushed harder in the second game, as some clever play from Crasto narrowed the lead to 11-10 at the interval.
But Pugh and Hemming always seemed to find an answer in the crucial points, and sealed the win on their second championship point.
After the match Hemming said: “It’s an awesome feeling (to become champions) we came here to win and for us it is job done.
“We managed to get stronger through the week (100%), the time on court really helped us.
“I felt that by the end of the week we were actually playing some really good Badminton and had found a real rhythm, which can be difficult to get.”
It was left to the women’s doubles final to provide the grand finale to the championships.
Canadian’s Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tai were the only top seeds to reach a final this week, facing Anna Ching Yik Cheong and Teoh Mei Xing of Malaysia.
In truth the result of this one was rarely in doubt with Honderich and Tai, ranked 22 in the world, producing a masterclass.
They only gave away 26 points over both games, wrapping up a comfortable 21-14, 21-12 win inside 37 minutes.
“We are really excited not only to lift this championship but just to get this opportunity,” said Honderich.
“We appreciate every moment we get on court together, and I think played really well.
“Sometimes when we get a lead we almost expect the opponents to creep back up, so it was really important to win so comfortably – I didn’t expect that.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more I’m really happy.
“We always love coming back to Glasgow. I have good memories here from the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and we love the atmosphere around the city.
“I hope we’ll be back again next year.”
A genuinely high class performance from the Canadians was a fitting way to end another spectacular week of sport in Glasgow.
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