It's 'Hi Ho Silver' for England in Delhi
England suffered mixed doubles disappointment at the Commonwealth Games on the final day of competition today when Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork had to settle for the silver medal.
There was a second silver medal for England in the men's singles as European bronze medallist Rajiv Ouseph put up a creditable performance against world No 1 and defending champion Lee Chong Wei despite losing in straight games.
England had a final chance of gold when Robertson and Anthony Clark contested the men's doubles final but they went down in straight games.
Clark and Robertson's silver lifted England into second place behind Australia in the overall medal table - until Saina Nehwal's gold for India in the last event of the Games lifted the hosts back into second place overall.
Even so, BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy, who was in Delhi to support the team, was impressed with the performances.
He said: "To come away from Delhi with three silver and two bronze medals is a magnificent achievement. The Commonwealth Games represent a significant milestone in our preparations for London 2012 so to exceed our medal target here in Delhi is fantastc."
Robertson, the former Olympic silver medallist and world mixed doubles champion, won the Commonwealth title in Melbourne four years ago with Gail Emms but he and new partner Wallwork went down to Malaysia's Koo Kien Keat and Chin Eei Hui.
Robertson and Wallwork, the top seeds, fell 22-20 20-12 against their unseeded opponents who gave Malaysia their first gold in mixed doubles at the Games to go with their team gold.
The England pair got off to a fast start, leading 5-0 and 6-2 but the Malaysians hit back from 11-8 down to lead 14-11 and then 19-15.
Robertson and Wallwork responded to lead 20-19 before the Malaysians reeled off three points to take the first game.
In the second game it was level pegging up to 8-8 before the Malaysians won nine points in a row to take an unbeateable lead.
Wallwork paid tribute to Koo, saying: "He is an exceptional player and we were just unable to cope with his pace and experience."
For Robertson a silver medal made it his ninth from his fourth Commonwealth Games.
And he will try for gold later on finals day when he and Anthony Clark take on Koo Kien Keat a second time as the Malaysian partners Tan Boon Heong in the men's doubles final.
Rajiv Ouseph claimed a worthy silver medal despite losing the men's singles final against top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
The world No 16 and second seed surprised the Yonex All England champion by opening up a 5-1 lead in the first game but, as expected, Chong Wei came back strongly to take the opener 21-10 and controlled the second game to take it 21-8 on his second match point and retain the gold medal.
But it is the second time Ouseph has played the world No. 1 in the space of two months, having lost to him in the World Championships in Paris, and he will emerge stronger for the experience.
Ouseph can be well satisfied with his achievement in Delhi as he became the first English men's singles player to reach the Commonwealth final since Stephen Baddeley in 1986 and only the fifth to reach the final since 1970.
In a fine year he has now added the Commonwealth silver to a European bronze, his US Open title and his third English National title. All this success has lifted the 24-year-old from Hounslow to the No. 1 player in British men's singles looking ahead to next year's World Championships in London and the 2012 Olympics.
Robertson returned to the court for the fourth final as he and Anthony Clark faced world No 1s Koo and Tan Boon Heong in the men's doubles final.
It was the fourth meeting between the two pairs and Robertson and Clark had beaten the Malaysians to win last year's Singapore Open - England's first Super Series title.
The England pair started well and led 11-8 in the opening game. In fact, the Malaysians didn't lead in the first game until they reached 18-17 and although the scores were level at 19-19, Koo and Tan sneaked the next two points to take the opener 21-19.
Robertson and Clark also started the second game well to lead 6-3 but Koo and Tan drew level at 9-9 and, from 12-12, they applied the pressure to open up a 20-13 lead before taking the gold medal on their second match point 21-14.
That left England with a team bronze, plus three silvers and a bronze from the individual tournament following 11 days of non-stop badminton action.
ENGLAND MEDAL HAUL
Team bronze for: Rajiv Ouseph (Middx), Carl Baxter (Kent), Nathan Robertson, Anthony Clark, Chris Adcock (all Notts); Elizabeth Cann (Jersey), Jenny Wallwork, Gabby White (both Yorks), Mariana Agathangelou (Avon) and Heather Olver (Sussex).
Men's singles silver: Rajiv Ouseph (Middx)
Men's doubles silver: Nathan Robertson & Anthony Clark (both Notts)
Mixed doubles silver: Nathan Robertson (Notts) & Jenny Wallwork (Yorks)
Women's singles bronze: Elizabeth Cann (Jersey)