May 2009 All News
Blair wins 50th cap but England find it tough against China
TEAM ENGLAND suffered an action replay when they met China in Group 1B on day one of badminton's Li Ning Sudirman Cup in Guangzhou tonight.
The Center Parcs supported Team England went down 5-0 to the six-time world mixed team champions, the same scoreline as two years ago when they met in the group stages before England recovered to win the bronze medal in Glasgow.
But the England players always knew it was going to be tough tonight. The Chinese team contained four of the five title-winners from this year's Yonex All England Championships in Birmingham.
Robert Blair (Leics), making his 50th England appearance, played in the opening contest with Chris Adcock (Notts) but they found former world champions and 2008 Olympic silver medallists Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun too hot to handle and the Chinese pair won 21-15 21-14.
Sarah Walker (Essex), making only her fourth international appearance, faced Denmark and French Open winner Wang Lin and the Chinese girl was too strong for her, winning 21-15 21-11.
It was a similar story when world No 22 Andrew Smith took on world, Olympic and All England champion Lin Dan, who eased through the first game 21-10. The Hampshire man made it tougher for him in the second before Lin won it 21-18.
Zhang Yawen and Pan Pan were too sharp for Yorkshire pair Gabby White and Jenny Wallwork in winning the women's doubles 21-12 21-11.
And in the closest contest European champions Anthony Clark (Notts) and Donna Kellogg (Derbyshire) took on Olympic bronze medallists He Hanbin and Yu Yang but the Chinese pair completed the whitewash 21-14 21-14.
In the other Group 1B match inaugural champion Indonesia defeated Japan 4-1 and the Indonesians are England's next opponents tomorrow.
China 5 England 0
Men's doubles: Cai Yun & Fu Haifeng bt Robert Blair & Chris Adcock 21-15 21-14
Women's singles: Lin Wang bt Sarah Walker 21-15 21-11.
Men's singles: Lin Dan bt Andrew Smith 21-10 21-18
Women's doubles: Zhang Yawen & Pan Pan bt Gabrielle White & Jenny Wallwork 21-12 21-11
Mixed doubles: He Hanbin & Yu Yang bt Anthony Clark & Donna Kellogg 21-14 21-14.
Tomorrow (7pm) local time: England v Indonesia
Group 1A: Korea 3 Malaysia 2, Denmark 3 Hong Kong 2.
Group 1B: Indonesia 4 Japan 1.
Group 2A: Chinese Taipei 4 Germany 1, Thailand 4 France 1.
Group 3A: USA 3 Czech Republic 2, Sweden 3 Bulgaria 2.
Group 4A: Philippines 4 South Africa 1, Turkey 5 Luxembourg 0.
Group 4B: Iceland 3 Portugal 2, Sri Lanka 5 Mongolia 0.
To follow the match action live check out www.tournamentsoftware com
ROBERT BLAIR wins his 50th cap today as he and Chris Adcock fill the men's doubles berth for England when they take on China in Group 1B of the Li Ning Sudirman Cup in Guangzhou tonight.
Edinburgh-born Blair, who won three caps for Scotland in 1999-2000, is a former world silver medallist with Anthony Clark (2006), is world No 15 with Adcock and is world No 9 in mixed doubles with Scotland's Imogen Bankier.
Team manager Julian Robertson has named Sarah Walker in the women's singles as three-time National champion Elizabeth Cann is fighting a slight thigh strain.
Team England, supported by Center-Parcs, have Andrew Smith playing men's singles while world No 6 pair Clark and Donna Kellogg take the mixed doubles spot. It is Clark's 88th England appearance and Kellogg's 85th.
The women's doubles is in the hands of world No 19s Gabby White and Jenny Wallwork.
England know the size of their task, having lost 5-0 to China in the 2007 Sudirman Cup in Glasgow when they recovered to take the bronze medal.
Robertson said: "The squad are all in good spirits for tonight's challenge and, apart from Liz's inner thigh strain, everyone is fine. We don't know the China team yet."
The line-up means Nathan Robertson is kept waiting on 98 caps as he aims to join the elite 100 club. Stephen Baddeley (143), Mike Tredgett (138), Andy Goode (128), Darren Hall (117) and Ray Stevens (111) are the only men to reach 100 while Gillian Clark (145), Gillian Gowers (123), Helen Troke (115) and Gillian Gilks (111) are the women centurions.
But England face Indonesia on Monday night and Japan on Wednesday night in their other group matches.
To follow the action check out www.tournamentsoftware.com