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20 February, 2023

England’s campaign at the European Mixed Team Championships came to an end on Friday with defeat in the semi-finals to Denmark, after winning two out of three group stage matches earlier in the week.

Back on Tuesday, England’s campaign in Aire-sur-la-Lys started with a 4-1 ‘Battle of Britain’ victory over Scotland in the opening pool stage encounter.

Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith opened the tie with a straight-games victory over Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson, in Ellis’ first match since last summer.

That was followed by a men’s singles victory for Johnnie Torjussen over James Robertson, before Kirsty Gilmour pulled a rubber back for Scotland with a women’s singles win over Abigail Holden.

However, Ben Lane and Sean Vendy followed up with victory in a three-game battle versus Alexander Dunn and Hall in the men’s doubles to seal the tie, before Chloe Birch and Smith also prevailed in a women’s doubles encounter over MacPherson and Ciara Torrance.

Progression into the semi-final was sealed on Wednesday, with England picking up another 4-1 victory over Ukraine in their second tie of the tournament.

Action started with Holden suffering a narrow defeat to Polina Buhrova, before Torjussen levelled up proceedings with a straight-game triumph over Oleksandr Shmundyak.

Birch and Smith then put England ahead with a comfortable triumph over Mariia Stoliarenko and Yelyzaveta Zharka, before Lane and Vendy sealed progression by beating Glib Beketov and Ivan Druzchenko.

And Ellis and Smith made it a fourth victory with a victory over Viacheslav Yakovlev and Polina Tkach.

With a last four spot already sealed England decided to shake up competing players for their final group match against Denmark, who had already sealed a semi-final spot.

Harry Huang came in for the men’s singles and tasted defeat to Anders Antonsen, though still impressed against the former world No.2.

Freya Patel-Redfearn then tasted defeat in a tight battle against Line Kjærsfeldt, before Rasmus Kjær and Frederik Søgaard sealed victory for the Danes with a men’s doubles victory over Callum Hemming and Ethan van Leeuwen.

Maiken Fruergaard and Sara Thygesen then beat Birch and Smith in the women’s doubles, before Gregory Mairs and Jenny Moore sealed a mixed doubles victory for England over Mathias Thyrri and Amalie Magelund.

England were then drawn to face Denmark again in the semi-final, with Germany drawn against France.

Patel-Redfearn was first up for England and tasted defeat in the opening rubber, falling 21-5 21-15 to Line Christopherson as the Danes took a 1-0 lead.

The defending champions went 2-0 up after the men’s singles rubber, with world No.1 Viktor Axelsen sealing a 21-12 21-8 over a battling Torjussen.

And victory was sealed following the women’s doubles encounter, Sara Thygesen and Maiken Fruergaard defeating Birch and Smith 21-18 21-15 to secure a 3-0 victory.

All eyes will now be on build-up for the YONEX All England Badminton Championships in Birmingham, which begin in just over three weeks’ time.

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