By RJ Mitchell
MATTHEW GRIMLEY has revealed that a week-long training stint with England top dogs Sean Vendy and Ben Lane has provided the perfect preparation for his bid to claim a second men’s Scottish National Doubles Championship title with brother Chris.
The English duo lead the race for qualification for the Paris Olympics in the Team GB men’s doubles category, sitting 18th with Alex Dunn and Adam Hall in 26th position and the Grimley twins 44th.
Now after a week’s sparring with Lane and Vendy under the watchful eye of GB badminton legend Nathan Robertson, Matthew says ‘Team Grimley’ are good to go as they bid to reclaim the treasured title they previously won in 2021.
Matthew shared: “With Alex (Dunn)and Adam (Hall) in Asia and really pushing for the Olympics and trying to get as many points as possible, we went down to Milton Keynes to get some extra sparring and hitting with the English guys.
“It was a great week of training and we got a lot of match play which should sharpen us up for the nationals and the other tournaments we have coming after them.
“We were mainly coached by Nathan Robertson and also Anthony Clark so it was some great coaching.
“We also got to spar with Sean Vendy and Ben Lane and they are the top guys in GB now so it was a great standard.
“They just have that extra bit of quality. Their shots are very accurate and tight across the tape and they also train at a very high intensity.
“So it was great to experience all of that and now we hope we can build that all into our own game starting this weekend at the Nationals.”
Although defending champions Alex Dunn and Adam Hall will miss this weekend’s action, with the latter receiving treatment on a wrist injury, Matthew has no doubt that the competition will be fierce.
He said: “Adam Pringle and Jack MacGregor are probably our main rivals and are seeded No.2. So we know each other’s games very well as we train with them every day and it will be nice to see how it will go if we meet them in the Nationals.
“They are a good pair with Adam being a strong rear court player and Jack very good around the net, so if they are on top form it will be a very difficult match.
“Because we train with them we know each other’s respective strengths and weaknesses and that should make it very interesting if we meet them in the final.
“But there are a couple of other good pairs in the draw like Callum Flockhart and Callum Crangle and Josh Taylor and Evan Kenny, they will probably fill the three and four seed positions, and they will be determined to push through.
“So there is good depth and we have a great set up with the SDS (Scottish Development Squad) guys coming through and certainly when we watch them in training, working a couple of courts down from us, you can see they are improving all the time.”
Yet despite the host of talented youngsters who will be snapping at their heels, the Grimleys remain firm favourites to reclaim the Scottish Men’s Doubles title again, and with their great rivals Alex Dunn and Adam Hall sidelined, Matthew is determined to make the most of the opportunity their absence has provided.
He said: “With Adam and Alex out it does give us a great chance but, as I mentioned, there are still some very good pairs in there competing and hungry to win their first nationals.
“So we will just go in and try and play our best game, we know the pressure is on us, but we have shown we can cope with that.
“So hopefully we can go in and win the title as it would be great to be Scottish Champions for a second time.
“It really means a lot to be national champions and it was such a great feeling when we won it a couple of years back and we are really determined to do it again.
“In 2021 we actually beat Alex and Robert Dunn, after Adam (Hall), who obviously usually partners Alex, withdrew injured.
“So it was nice to get them in the final and we were just pleased to get the job done in straight sets and now we want to do it again and show that we aren’t just one hit wonders in this respect.”
After winning back to back titles before Christmas when the Grimleys annexed the Irish and Welsh International Championships, the brothers’ hard work and dedication is starting to pay off.
Now Matthew is hoping that a strong campaign at Scotstoun this weekend can act as a launchpad to a successful 2024 and he said: “The end of 2023 was really good for us and we just want to keep building on that and developing momentum.
“There were some good wins at International Challenge level and now we need to be pushing into the lower World Tour level events like the Super 100s and Super 300s and try and make the later stages of them.
“So that is the main goal and also to move our ranking up, which is 50 at the moment, to try and make top-32 so we can play the highest level tournaments.
“After the Nationals it is the German Open and we have a busy March with the Orleans Masters, Swiss Open and Spanish Masters and they are World Tour events so they are very important to us and we need to make a strong showing.”
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Tickets are now on sale for The Scottish National Badminton Championships from 2-4 February at The National Badminton Academy, Scotstoun.
We are offering Badminton Scotland Individual Members a 50% discount on all tickets – you will have received your code via email – Tickets must be ordered in advance to take advantage of this offer. Discounted tickets will not be available on the door.
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