Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bok and Langridge topple Robertson and Wallwork at Nationals

FOUR-TIMES champion Nathan Robertson (Notts) crashed out of the mixed doubles in the English National Championships semi-finals at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday.

He and Jenny Wallwork (Yorks), who are in the England squad for the European Team Championship in Liverpool in mid-February, lost to Chris Langridge (Surrey) and Sarah Bok (Yorks) 21-18 18-21 21-16 in 56 minutes of tense badminton action.
In the final the pair, who until this tournament had not won a game together never mind a match, will face European champions Anthony Clark (Notts) and Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire) after their 21-12 21-11 win over fourth seeds Chris Adcock and Gabby White.

Bok said: “There’s no way we’ve ever played as well as that before” while Langridge, runner-up in the men’s doubles for the last two years, added: “It’s great to beat a big name. After all, he’s the England player that everyone has heard of.”

Langridge also blamed himself for the pair not winning in straight games. “We had a good lead in the second and it was my fault we lost it.”

Whatever happens in the final Bok and Langridge want to show they can be a force in London 2012. “Our biggest aim is to qualify for London,” said Bok.

Langridge added: “The Olympics in London is every player’s dream. There are stepping stones ahead and one of them is to make the coaches realise we are quite a good pair.”

In the men’s singles final defending champion Rajiv Ouseph (Middx) will meet second seed Carl Baxter (Avon) after their straight-games wins over Ben Beckman (Surrey) and Harry Wright (Lancs) respectively.

Jersey top seed Elizabeth Cann is chasing her fourth title in five years and booked her place in the final with a 21-17 21-10 win over Sarah Walker (Essex). Three-time runner-up and second seed Jill Pittard (Warks) will meet her in the final after her straight-game win over Helen Davies (Cheshire) 21-11 21-13.

Robertson was still in the hunt for one title when he and Clark, the defending champions, tackled the doubles semi-finals later in the night.

But Bok and Langridge were also in semi-final action in the level doubles as well.