Torjussen 1200x410 1

December 19, 2022

England safely sealed qualification for next year’s European Mixed Team Championships after an impressive weekend of action at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes.

Drawn against Slovakia, Norway and Poland in their group, the hosts won all three ties to secure a spot at the showpiece event in Aire-sur-la-Lys in February 2023.

Action started on Friday, where an England team mixed with youth and experience beat Slovakia without dropping a single tie.

Johnnie Torjussen started the day superbly with a straight-games victory against Milan Dratva in men’s singles action, before Georgina Bland battled past Martina Repiska 21-14 24-26 21-15 to give England a 2-0 advantage.

Rory Easton and Zach Russ sealed victory with a straight-games men’s doubles triumph in the next match, defeating Sebastian Kadlec and Simeon Suchy for an unassailable lead.

Further victories for Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith in women’s doubles action and Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore in mixed action ended a fine first day for the host nation.

Norway were England’s opposition on Saturday, and Mairs and Moore began action with an opening mixed win over Torjus Flaatten and Marie Christensen in straight games.

Markus Barth then defeated Cholan Kayan to draw Norway level in the tie, though a hard-fought victory for Gauri Shidhaye over Marie Mork put England 2-1 in front.

And Ben Lane and Sean Vendy sealed a second win of the weekend for England with triumph over Flaatten and Vegard Rikheim in the men’s doubles, while Abbygael Harris and Annie Lado received a walkover in their women’s doubles clash.

Team 1200x410 1

A mixture of experienced players and new faces made up the England team in Milton Keynes (Credit: Action Photography)

In the decisive clash against Poland on Sunday, Torjussen was back in men’s singles action and overcame Dominik Kwinta in just 22 minutes to give England an early lead in the tie.

“I feel really good. It was quite a dominant performance from me, so I’m happy to get through it in two nice games,” he said.

“I’ve got two wins from two games which is really good. They were quite dominant performances and it’s good to end the year on those sorts of matches.”

That was followed by a rare singles outing for Birch, who overcame a tricky second game and defeated Wiktoria Dabczynska in straight games to move England just one victory from qualification.

Birch said: “I’m really happy to get a win for the team. I’ve not played singles in a long time so I was a little nervous going in, but I think I got a really good start which really helped.

“I dominated the match to start with and then I think she worked out what I was doing, and counteracted it a little bit. I just needed to use my brain a little bit more in the second set. From 13-10 down I had a really good run and really stamped my authority on the match. I think it was good to close it out in two!”

Victory in the tie – and qualification for the showpiece event – was sealed thanks to Lane and Vendy, who came from a game down to beat Milosz Bochat and Robert Cybulski and hand England an unassailable lead.

Birch and Smith prevailed in their women’s doubles tie, and then Mairs and Moore – from a game down – proceeded to win their mixed doubles clash against Pawel Smilowski and Magdalena Swierczynska to seal a 5-0 victory in the final tie of the weekend.

“I’m happy to get that one over the line,” said Moore.

“Honestly we didn’t play our best level, but after the first set we regrouped and managed to refocus on our tactics. The second two sets were much better from us tactically.

“It’s always a honour to pull on the shirt for England. We had a bit of crowd here and people watching on the live stream so hopefully everyone enjoyed watching.

“The team put in three solid performances over the last three days, and hopefully that support carries on when we play the finals in February.”

Recent posts

Back to news