Badminton: Promising new pairing pulled up at semi-final stage

Playing together for the first time, Edinburgh’s Jillie Cooper and Renfrew’s Watson Briggs came agonisingly close to reaching the final of the mixed doubles at the Scottish International Championships the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow yesterday.

The pair had waltzed through the first two rounds on Friday and added the scalps of England’s Tom Wolfenden and Holly Smith after a 21-15, 21-9 win in yesterday’s quarter-finals. But the path to today’s final was blocked by the No.8 seeds, Kim Sorensen and Line Kjaesrfeldt. Kjaersfeldt had knocked out Bothwell’s Kirsty Gilmour in the third round of the singles on Friday and the talented teenager again broke Scottish hearts when she joined Sorensen in a comeback victory.

Backed by the home support, Briggs and Cooper took the opening game against the young Danes, but they conceded the second with ease. Undaunted, they regrouped in the decider and led 11-9 at the change of ends. But Sorensen and Kjaersfeldt regained control and went on to win 19-21, 21-10, 21-17.

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For Briggs, it has been an amazing return to the badminton court – this was his first tournament since last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi. “I only started training again last month,” said the 24-year-old. “This has been a good week, but I’m not sure yet what the future holds.”

Cooper, who won the women’s doubles title three years ago, had not played mixed doubles since the Commonwealth Games. She said: “We did really well. It’s just disappointing we couldn’t make it to the final.”

Cooper’s next tournament will be the Yonex Irish International in two weeks when she will partner Gilmour in the women’s doubles.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the mixed and whether Watson and I continue to play together,” said the Edinburgh 22-year-old.

Gilmour, 18, confirmed her potential with a second round victory over the 2008 champion and No.4 seed from England, Elizabeth Cann.

In the women’s doubles semi-finals, Glasgow’s Caitlin Pringle also made it to the last four with England’s Sophie Sankey. They missed out on the final when they lost 11-21, 11-21, to the No.3 seeds from Malaysia, Paula Lynn Obanana and Eva Lee.