England are through to the semi-finals of the European Mixed Team Championships after a dramatic fightback saw them come from two events down to overcome the Netherlands.
Disappointment in both the women’s and men’s singles had seen England 2-0 behind – just one event from elimination at the quarter-final stage in Lubin, Poland.
But when both the women’s doubles and men’s doubles pairs won their events to take the contest to a decider, the chance of something special was very much a reality.
And it proved so in scintillating fashion, with Chris and Gabby Adcock also winning in straight games to set up a place in the last four where Russia await on Saturday.
Having won their Group B games against Ireland and Sweden, the task was to get tougher for England in the knockout stages, with Fontaine Chapman missing out in a thrilling singles opener, 21-11 19-21 17-21 to Gayle Mahulette.
There was also to be disappointment in another three-game event for Toby Penty, with his 19-21 24-22 18-21 defeat to Mark Caljouw leaving the team on the cusp of elimination.
But England showed the resolve that saw them to silver in the last competition in 2015, with Lauren Smith and Sarah Walker taking a comfortable victory in the women’s doubles, 21-18 21-13 against Iris Tabeling and Cheryl Seinen in just 34 minutes.
And bidding for a first European title in 30 years, England weren’t done there against a Dutch side that last made the semi finals in 2006.
Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge roared their side level in the contest with a 21-13 21-16 win over Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling – taking the first eight points in the second game in the process.
And a fantastic comeback was completed in fitting style with yet another straight games victory for the Adcocks, 21-13 21-18 against Ruben Jille and Cheryl Seinen.
But while the scoreline was far from comfortable, the manner of victory will certainly be a confidence-booster for England, with only Russia in their way of reaching a second successive European Mixed Team Championships final.
Photos: Badminton Photo
See all the stars of Rio in Birmingham March 7-12
Tickets for the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2017 at the Barclaycard Arena are still on general sale.
Click here to buy your tickets now