England’s Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch each extended their unbeaten runs at the Everyone Active English Nationals this weekend to reach landmark title wins in their career.
The pair, playing together at the Nationals for the first time, rallied to the women’s doubles title with a 21-18 21-13 win over Jenny Moore and returning 2018 champion Jess Pugh.
And it was a victory that meant both hit milestones in Winchester.
For Smith, it was seven back to back titles in Women’s Doubles - a run that exceeds that of Gillian Gowers' 'six of the best' from 25 years ago - and the eighth title of her career.
In fact, Smith has not been beaten in women’s doubles competition since 2013, when she first won with Gabby Adcock, despite a regular change in playing partner.
Significantly, Birch, who lost out to Smith in the final two years ago, is the fifth partner - and fourth in four years - to pair Smith to Nationals victory in those six years.
It was, in part, a bitter sweet weekend for Smith though as she relinquished her mixed doubles crown following the withdrawal of Marcus Ellis.
For Birch, the women’s doubles title was a new one for her growing Nationals collection which now also includes a trio of Women’s Singles titles.
Birch looked every inch the defending champion as she turned hat trick hero this weekend with a 21-16 21-15 victory over second seed Georgina Bland in a repeat of last year’s final.
The triple crown meant she is the first player since Julia Mann in 2003 to successfully defend the women’s title two years running.
CLICK HERE for a full list of champions the Everyone Active English National Badminton Championships, staged by Hampshire Badminton Association in Winchester.