Lauren Smith, Marcus Ellis and Chloe Birch gave as good as they got as their HSBC BWF World Tour Finals campaigns ended in the group stage.
With Smith the only player to hold an entry in more than one discipline, England’s finest took their place at the summit of the sport, a tournament open to only the top eight in the world.
They felt the full force of the world’s best pairings and both finished fourth in Group B of their respective draws at the end of a challenging week in Bali, Indonesia.
In the women’s doubles, Birch and Smith took India’s Ashwini Ponnappa and Reddy N. Sikki all the way in their third and final match, dominating the second game to force a decider.
The world No.13 duo eventually went down fighting, beaten 21-19 9-21 21-14 in just over an hour at Mangupura Hall.
They also proved more than a match for second seeds, Japan’s Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida, forcing extra points in the opener that they lost 22-20 and then missing out 21-14.
Birch and Smith were caught a little cold in their opening game that saw them beaten 21-12 21-11 by Bulgarian sisters Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva.
It was a similar story for Smith and Marcus Ellis in the mixed doubles as they landed punches but were unable to register a fatal blow.
Some of their best play came in a 21-18 21-13 loss to Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, who have been dominant forces on the BWF World Tour.
Now the attention of England’s top shuttlers turns to the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021, held in Huelva, Spain, where the stakes could hardly be higher.