Rory Easton and Hope Warner rounded off an impressive week for England at the European U17 Championships as they were crowned mixed doubles champions.
Easton and Warner made the most of their top-seed status to deliver a stunning performance in Prague, winning a thrilling final in three games to take their status among Europe’s best.
They were not the only English stars in action as David Hong and Ethan van Leeuwen upset the odds to take their place in the men’s doubles finals, narrowly beaten but still doing enough to take silver.
But alongside those performances came a strong week from the entire English team, following up their team bronze to show that a very bright future is in store.
Easton and Warner will leave the Czech Republic with an extra prize in their luggage however, defeating Sebastian Groenbjerg and Clara Graversen in three enthralling games to take home gold.
Taking the first game, the two were pegged back by their Danish opponents to force a decider, with Easton and Warner the pair to hold their nerves and secure a 21-11 16-21 21-16 success in 39 minutes.
Hong and van Leeuwen were also involved in a great game, though they weren’t quite able to do enough to beat Kenji Lovang and Christo Popov of France, losing 21-14 21-14.
But that ended a week in which they’d played no fewer than six games together, dropping just one game before the final, including a 21-15 21-15 win over Scottish second seeds Joshua Apiliga and Adam Pringle.
Hong was also in action in the mixed doubles with Asmita Chaudhari, again defying their 14th-seed standing to reach the quarter -finals – losing to the eventually-victorious Easton and Warner.
Easton’s busy week continued with men’s doubles action, teaming up with Harry Huang in a run which included victory over tournament favourites Bartosz Galazka and Maciej Matusz. The duo went on to win bronze, losing to French pair, Kenji Lovang and Christo Popov in the semi-finals.
Warner also joined forces with Abbygael Harris, victorious in two clashes before missing out on Monday.
Harris was to gain a multitude of experience in the women’s singles too, as did Pamela Reyes, while Huang represented England in the men’s singles throughout the week in Prague.
Picture: Badminton Europe/Mark Phelan