Badminton Life

England Suffer Highs and Lows at The Thomas Cup

The Thomas Cup in Indonesia was certainly a strange event for the English team. Entering the tournament with key players missing through injury or being saved for later events, there was a Jekyll and Hyde element to the team with some great results and some terrible ones thrown in for good measure.

The first game was a tricky match versus Malaysia but no one would have predicted the 5-0 triumph that the Malaysians came away with. Malaysia may have been the Group seeds and former world champions but a 5-0 drubbing to any team is never good and some of the English players should not be too happy with their level of performance.

However, the English team showed great character by bouncing back in their next match which saw them defeat Korea by a score 4 to 1. Andrew Smith claimed Englands first set of the tournament in a nervy 3 set encounter with Hong Ji Hoon but this appeared to calm the team down and was definitely the springboard for the triumph.

Rajiv Oueph quickly disposed of his opponent in two sets before Nathan Rice completed three singles triumphs that saw England with an unassailable 3-0 lead. Both teams won a doubles match each which prevented England from achieving a white wash victory to make up for their white wash defeat to Malaysia but the victory took them through to the knock-out stages.

The first round of the knock-out stage saw England paired off against Nigeria. No doubt keen to carry on the feel good factor that their 4-1 victory over Korea created, the English team seemed fired up from the start. This was shown with their singles players winning their matches to kill the tie dead at 3-0 ensuring England progressed further.

Again Rajiv Oueph and Nathan Rice won their ties with the third victory coming from Ben Beckman. Beckman may have dropped the first set in his match but did not let this affect as he raced back to win the next two sets and seal England's passage.

If England were hoping for the luck of the draw, they definitely did not get as they were paired to play Indonesia, the host nation. Unsurprisingly, the home crowd were fully behind their national heroes and the young English team were comprehensively disposed of. A 3-0 margin was no overstatement of the capabilities of the Indonesian team and the English can have no complaints about the score.

Andrew Smith put on a spirited show and was narrowly edged out in a 3 set hour long thriller but this was the one bright spot of England's performance in this round. It is natural that the English players will be bitterly disappointed about some of their results with drubbing from Malaysia and Indonesia being particularly unpleasant but they did have a young team on show.

If the players can learn from the experience and ensure they come back having learned from the experience, there is every chance the English badminton team will be able to have much more success in the future.

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