Sarah Walker and Lauren Smith won England’s first Women’s Doubles medal of any colour at a European Championships since 2010 today by snaring a brilliant bronze in Denmark.
The newly formed partnership, seeded seven for the Championships, stunned the number three seeds and 2016 bronze medallists to qualify for the semi finals and faced Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva – the world number 13 pair and second seeds from Bulgaria – for a place in the final.
After yesterday’s heroics to guarantee at least bronze, the English duo were looking to end a nine year wait for English representation in the Women’s Doubles final – and a chance to emulate Gail Emms and Donna Kellogg who won silver in 2008, to add to their 2006 gold.
It was not to be though as they succumbed to a 15-21, 15-21 semi final but not before giving a battling account of themselves against a pair well tipped to win Bulgaria’s first ever European gold.
Walker and Smith led 14-12 in the opening game but a rallying cry from the Stoeva’s saw them win 8 back to back points, eventually winning 15-21.
And it was the same story in the second game, where the English led 11-9 then 13-10 before, once again, a storming fightback of 10 uncontended points took the Stoeva’s to the brink of victory, finally winning 15-21 in 38 minutes.
The Bulgarian’s will play for the title against reigning champions Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen, the top seeds from Denmark, in tomorrow’s final.
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Nine of England’s medal-winners squad from the Gold Coast seeded for the upcoming 2018 European Championships as attentions immediately switch to Spain.