An outstanding performance by Scotland at the finals of the European Mixed Team Championships saw them just miss out on a famous win over top seeds Denmark.
The Danes, European champions since 2015, scored a narrow 3-2 win to finish top of Group 1, ending Scotland’s campaign in the process.
But the young Scots can hold their heads high in defeat after threatening one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history.
Scotland took a deserved 1-0 lead when Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson beat Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund, saving a set point in the first before going on to win 24-22 21-16.
Next up was a formidable test for Josh Apiliga in the form of Anders Antonsen, the player who won the men’s singles at the BWF World Tour Finals last month.
Despite losing out Apiliga put in an outstanding performance, recording a creditable 21-10 22-20 score line against the World No. 3.
Rachel Sugden then took to court to face Line Christophersen in the women’s singles.
But she couldn’t overcome the 2018 World Junior silver medalist and Christophersen scraped home 21-15 25-23.
Back onto court stepped Hall along with Christopher Grimley for the men’s doubles, dominating Nohr and Anders Rasmussen in the first set on their way to a comprehensive 21-8 21-18 win to level the overall score at 2-2, with Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance still to come in the women’s doubles.
So could they perform heroics once again for Scotland?
Yes they could, but unfortunately not quite enough to secure the victory with the Danes ultimately claiming a 21-15 18-21 21-15 win and a place in the semi-finals.
Speaking after the match Hall paid tribute to his teammates: “We’re all super happy with the performances across the board. It’s not very often you get a chance to beat Denmark in a team event, no matter what country you’re from, so it just goes to show how well we did.
“On a personal note, I wasn’t happy with how I played in the first couple of matches [against Germany and Finland] so to come out against Denmark and perform to my potential gives me a lot of confidence for my upcoming tournaments.
“I just want to say thanks to the team for how good the support was throughout. We were by far the noisiest team in the tournament!
“This young team has so much potential, especially with Josh, Ciar and Rachel putting in some really good performances in the singles. It’s looking like we’ve finally got some good alternatives for Kieran [Merrilees] and Kirsty [Gilmour] coming up!”
You can watch live streaming of the event at http://www.badmintoneurope.tv/ and results, draws and match schedules are at www.tournamentsoftware.com
Photo Credit: Badminton Europe/Koen Mutton