Sunday, February 15, 2009

England shattered by Denmark fightback

Team England's dream of winning the European Team Championship turned into a nightmare last night as they saw a surprise 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 defeat by Denmark in the final at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

European champions and world No 4 pair Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg gave England a flying start by winning the mixed doubles then World No 21 Andrew Smith got the better of world No 6 Joachim Persson for the first time in eight men's singles meetings.

Smith had lost to Persson in the 3-0 defeat in last year's final in Denmark but in the Echo Arena he turned in a tenacious display.

Although world No 1 and Yonex All England champion Tine Rasmussen put Denmark's first point on the board when she defeated Elizabeth Cann, the Center Parcs supported Team England squad still had high hopes going into the men's doubles.

But Clark and Nathan Robertson, winning his 97th cap, could not quite get the better of Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe.

That left it at 2-2 and Kellogg and Jenny Wallwork were left with the task of winning the deciding rubber just as they had done the night before in the semi-finals against Poland.

But Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Lene Koppen's daughter Marie Roepke were too strong for them and won 21-14 21-15 to complete the fightback.

England head coach Ian Wright was clearly dispirited. "We got a good start but we need to be finishing off matches like this,"he said.

"We showed a lot of guts in the way we played against Poland but I am very disappointed that we couldn't finish off Denmark. We came here for the gold medal, we had the chance, but we didn't take it.

"We have the talent coming through, we have the coaches and the facilities but we need the team to be tougher – like Denmark were tonight.

"For us Jenny Wallwork has been excellent this week and Andrew Smith played well today but he needs to be more consistent and he knows that."

Denmark 3 England 2
(Denmark names first)

Men's Singles
Joachim Persson lost to Andrew Smith 21-16 21-19

Women's Singles
Tine Rasmussen bt Elizabeth Cann 21-14 21-10

Men's Doubles
Mathias Boe & Carsten Mogensen bt Anthony Clark & Nathan Robertson
21-17 16-21 21-15

Women's Doubles
Kamilla Juhl & Marie Roepke bt Donnna Kellogg & Jennifer Wallwork 21-14 21-15

Mixed Doubles
Christinna Pedersen & Joachim Fischer Nielsen lost to Anthony Clark & Donna Kellogg 21-10 23-21.