Badminton Life

Double Up In Manchester

Away from the Singles action at the Manchester Velodrome which played host to the English National Badminton Championships, the Doubles tournaments lived up to all the pre-tournament hype and delivered many matches of great interest and showcased the talent of true winners once again.

Tracey Hallam may have been the disappointed loser in the Womens Singles National Championship in the Veledrome in Manchester but her mood was brightened by a triumph in the Womens Doubles tournament as she clinched the title along with Donna Kellogg. Hallam had been a late replacement for Kellogg's original partner, who was scheduled to be Gail Emms who unfortunately pulled out of the tournament with an illness.

The pair lost the first set of the final 22-24 but stormed back with a 21-13 and 21-14 triumph which allowed Hallam to savour a victory over the weekend and allowed Kellogg to clinch a glorious double.

Kellogg, who was also celebrating her sixth Womens Double title in 10 years also managed to triumph in the Mixed Doubles tournament as she and partner Anthony Clark trounced Robin Middleton and Liza Smith in the final 21-9, 21-7. The margin of victory indicated their dominance of the final and indeed the event as both of the victors had been triumphant before. The 2008 win was Anthony Clarks second victory playing alongside Kellogg, who has also won the tournament playing with Simon Archer in 2004.

The triumph was no surprise to Simon Archer who, alongside partner Sarah Bok, lost out to the duo in the semi-final. Archer revealed; "They are a world class pair. They knew I was struggling with an injury so they worked me around the court" and the ruthless determination to succeed paid off with Kellogg and Clark triumphing again.

Like Kellogg, Clark also had a double reason to celebrate as he and Nathan Robertson were the victors in the Mens Double Championship. The pair had previously triumphed in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and picked up a silver medal in the European Championships, so there was no doubting their pedigree in the Doubles arena as they eventually cruised home 21-11, 21-12 over Richard Eidestedt and Chris Langridge.

This victory was Clarks seveneth consecutive Mens title and he has shown a level of consistency which must rank him up alongside any of todays modern greats. Clark could barely contain his excitement as he revealed "To win two titles is great. Its always a wonderful to win a National title and I've won seven on the trot now in a Mens doubles and two in mixed. Nathan and I reformed the partnership and it was great fun, we loved every minute of it. We played freely all weekend."

With the curtain having fallen once again on the English National Championships, it is obvious to most observers that the current state of English Badminton is extremely healthy and only injury is likely to derail some of the current crop from going on to obtain further success throughout the year.

The tournament may have been poorer from the loss of players like Gail Emms but the rest of the young talent coming through in the English game should ensure that the English National Badminton Championships remains an exciting tournament for many years to come.

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