Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kellogg & Wallwork rescue England's golden dream

DONNA KELLOGG (Derbyshire) and Jenny Wallwork (Yorks) saved Team England’s gold medal hopes in the European Team Championship semi-finals at the Echo Arena in Liverpool tonight.

After a four-hour battle with Poland the second seeds won 3-2 to book a final rematch with holders and 12-times winners Denmark, who beat Russia 3-0 in the morning semi-final.

But England, who lost to the Danes in last year’s final in Herning, were taken all the way by Poland and needed a nail-biting three-game win by Kellogg and Wallwork over Kamila Augustyn and Malgorzata Kurdelska in the women’s doubles to make it into tomorrow’s final.

Last year they beat Poland 3-0 in the semi-finals but this time it was a different story despite Kellogg and Anthony Clark (Notts) winning the opening mixed doubles 21-15 21-9 against Michal Logosz and Natalia Pocztowiak.

But Poland levelled it when World No 9 Przemyslaw Wacha defeated World No 21 Andrew Smith (Hants) 21-11 22-20 in the men’s singles before Jersey’s three-times National champion Elizabeth Cann came back from a game down to defeat Augustyn 4-21 21-4 21-9 in the women’s singles.

Poland wouldn’t lie down, however, and Logosz and Robert Mateusiak, the world No 10 pair, were too sharp and aggressive for a subdued Nathan Robertson (Notts) and Clark.

That made it 2-2 and it all hinged on the women’s doubles. Kellogg and Wallwork took the opener 21-12 but Augustyn and Kurdelska came back strongly in the second 21-17 before the England pair edged home 21-12 to put England into the final with Denmark at 2pm tomorrow.

A delighted Cann, who won the crucial singles point, revealed she was given a talking to by coach Yvette Yun Luo after losing the first game. “I wasn’t sticking to the tactics,” she said. “So she was just drumming it in. It worked, didn’t it!”

Head coach Ian Wright said: “We knew it would be a hard slog and it was. The Poles played well but we stuck at it. I am particularly pleased that some of our younger players stepped up to the plate which is what we wanted them to do in this tournament.

“I thought Jenny Wallwork was excellent and, of course, Donna Kellogg’s experience was vital.

“Now we are in with a chance of the gold and we have home advantage. It’s 1984 since we last won it and it’s time we reclaimed the title.”