Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Team England kick off with 5-0 win

TEAM ENGLAND got their European Team challenge off to a perfect start with a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic at the Echo Arena in Liverpool tonight.

Fittingly, European and three-times English National champions Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg got the team off the ideal start with a 21-9 21-8 win over Pavel Florian and Martina Bensova. That was a nice way for Kellogg to cap her 80th England appearance.

National singles champion Rajiv Ouseph followed up with a 21-17 21-10 victory over Petr Koukal and Jersey's Elizabeth Cann clinched the winning lead with a battling 21-17 21-19 victory over Kristina Ludikova.

Chris Adcock and Robert Blair, winning his 47th cap, took the men's doubles with a 21-13 21-8 victory over Jan Vondra and Pavel Florian.

It was left to Jenny Wallwork and Gabby White to complete the clean sweep but the Leeds pair did it the hard way, coming back from 11-6 and 13-9 down in the deciding game to win 21-18 18-21 21-14.

England, the second seeds and 2008 runners-up, are back in action tomorrow night when they face Wales in their second Group 8 contest.

The Welsh lost 4-1 to Scotland in their group opener, Irwansyah collecting their only win in the men's singles when he beat 19-year-old Welsh Open runner-up Kieran Merrilees 21-19 21-19 in a 34-minute duel that turned out to be the longest clash with the match.

That made it 1-1 after Watson Briggs and Imogen Bankier had won their mixed doubles clash with Martyn Lewis and Caroline Harvey 21-9 25-23. Dan Travers' squad then took the next three rubbers to seal the 4-1 win.

Commonwealth bronze medallist Susan Hughes won 21-15 21-5 in just 18 minutes against Harvey, Briggs and Andrew Bowman beat Lewis and Matthew Hughes 21-18 21-19 while Bankier and Jillie Cooper toppled Harriet Johnson and Kerry Ann Sheppard 21-11 21-10.

In other matches Belarus overpowered Norway 5-0 in Group 4 helped by two wins each for men's doubles pair Aliaksei Konakh (who also won the mixed) and Yauheni Yakauchuk (who also won the men's singles).

And there was a 5-0 win for eighth seeds Ukraine over Italy in Group 7 where Iceland edged the last match of the night when they beat Hungary 3-2 by winning the deciding mixed doubles 21-15 21-13 as Helgi Johannesson and Tinna Helgadottir beat Henrik Toth and Krisztina Adam.