Badminton Life

English Players Battle to Semis

English duo Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms have a long history of success and quality behind them which befits World Champions and Olympic Silver medalists and the form of the two at the European Championships in Denmark indicates they are in good shape for the forthcoming summer events.

The English team would have found even greater joy at the quarter final victory as it came over the Scottish team of Watson Briggs and Jillie Cooper. Given the close rivalry of Scotland and England, any triumph is warmly received and even though the English team operates at a far greater level than their British counterparts, a victory over the Old Enemy is always a great thing. Robertson and Emms managed a routine 21-5, 21-9 victory which emphasized the difference in class and skill of the two teams.

Standing in the way of eventual glory for Robertson and Emms are Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg, so an all-English final should provide an intriguing twist to the entire competition if both teams get through. There is a history between the two with Clark and Kellogg being the defeated finalists in the 2006 World Championships and this match will offer some chance for revenge.

Clark and Kellogg had a similar triumph in the quarter final as they defeated Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier in another all British line-up. It was a tougher match than the one that Robertson and Emms had to endure as the 13-21, 21-14, 21-14 score suggested. Losing the first set wasn't too serious for Clark and Kellogg as they turned the match around with two comfortable set victories to set up the All English encounter.

Although they will be at opposite sides of the net for the Mixed Doubles event, Emms and Kellogg look good to secure another European Ladies Gold as they have progressed to the semi-finals in that event too. There was definitely something strange going on with the European tournament as even the Ladies Double event featured a Scotland versus England match in the quarter finals.

Imogen Bankier and Rita Yuan Gao were the Scottish duo seen off comprehensively 21-9, 21-13 as the English team triumphed again but in the grander scheme of things there is no great shame in the Scots losing to their English counterparts.

Being in two semi-finals means that there is a good chance that either Emms or Kellogg will finish the tournament with two gold medals but if this is to happen, one may well have to overcome the other. Such is the small nature of badminton players that this is not a surprising state of affairs but it definitely adds an intriguing twist to the tournament.

Clark and Kellogg may have been expecting to face the current champions of Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Juhl in the semi-final but Laybourn withdrew after falling foul of flu and meant that the Danish duo of Carsten Mogensen and Helle Nielsen progressed to the semi match-up.

The European Championships are always a good showcase of quality badminton and as this tournament has reached the semi-final stage, the 2008 version has lived up to expectations.

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