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Young Lions match expectations at World Juniors

England’s young lions sealed a 14th place finish – in line with their seeding – at the World Junior Mixed Team Championships amid a rollercoaster of results and experiences in Canada.

The English enjoyed a strong start in the group stages with a pair of 5-0 wins over Macau and Mexico and a 3-2 win over Austria. Ultimately though a 5-0 loss to a rampant Indonesia secured second place in Group H.

That brought a tougher passage in the deciding positional rounds.

Whilst Indonesia went on to beat Denmark 3-0, eventually ending with a World Mixed Team bronze medal for their efforts, England’s hopes of a top 12 finish were dashed by a 3-0 loss to Singapore.

The scoreline drew similarities to two years ago in Bilbao when a then 3-0 loss to the same opponents robbed England of a shot at the top 10.

It was a tough learning curve for the young lions who,  after morale boosting group stage wins, never got a chance to establish themselves in the ties.

The beauty of the Mixed Team event is such though that is gives an immediate chance to get back on court – and the young lions showed the necessary pride and fighting spirit to pick themselves up against Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankans had previously been beaten 3-1 by Scotland and England were able to show the same level of dominance as their near neighbours, winning 3-0 to set up a 13-14th place shoot out with Euro rivals Sweden.

Both Sri Lanka and Sweden had already exceeded expectations by reaching the top 16.

The English have past history with Sweden having beaten them 3-1 on the way to a 9th place finish last year.

However, this time around it was the Swedes who were to taste victory, albeit they survived a charging English comeback at 2-0 down, eventually taking the deciding women’s doubles tie to edge 3-2.

It all meant a 14th place finish for England for whom Ethan van Leeuwen (5/5) and William Jones (4/4) take unbeaten records into the individual events.