Rajiv Ouseph and the pairing of Chris Adcock and Gabby White were both seeded sixth going into the SCG Thailand Open but England’s best badminton players suffered decidedly mixed fates on the opening day.
Men’s champion Ouseph breezed past his first opponent, Indonesia’s Dharma Airie Guna, with a score of 21-7 21-9 but wasn’t able to dispatch his next opponent so easily. Lee Dong Keun of South Korea battled for over an hour, taking Ouseph late into the third and deciding game before falling short 21-12. The victory sees Ouseph face off against Yong Zhao Ashton Chen of Singapore in the third round.
Unfortunately, fellow seeds Adcock and White suffered disappointment in the first round when they were surprisingly beaten by Indonesian qualifiers Edi Subaktiar and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja, their opponents taking the second game whilst it hung in the balance at 16-16. Chris Langridge and Heather Olver avoided a similar demise to set up a last 16 match with a Chinese Taipei that defeated fifth seeds Shin and Jang. Toby Penty matched Ouseph by reaching the second round but was then beaten in straight games.
Head coach Warren Gatland was left bemoaning the lack of talent presented to him yesterday as his British & Irish Lions demolished Australian side Western Force 69-17. Captain Brian O’Driscoll scored on either side of the interval and was joined with tries from Jonny Sexton, Tom Croft, Jamie Heaslip, Mako Vunipola, Tommy Bowe, Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling. The real focus, however, was on Leigh Halfpenny’s monster haul, bagging himself nine conversions and two penalties to bring home 24 points.
He acted as reserve in the Millennium Stadium last weekend when Tai Woffinden went off injured, but Craig Cook was unable to help the Belle Vue Aces to a win at the Birmingham Brummies, losing the speedway Elite League meeting 54-39. Chris Froome enjoyed a good day in the Criterium du Daphiné as a strong time trial propelled him to second in the general classification, whilst a top-10 performance from Geraint Thomas moved Sky Procycling to the top of the team competition. Peter Kennaugh and Ian Stannard finished over four minutes behind winner Tony Martin from Germany.
Jack Bateson, Joseph Joyce and Andrew Selby all progressed to the semi-finals of the European Boxing Championships, the latter avenging Charlie Edwards’ defeat to Germany’s Ronny Beblik. Charles Flynn and Sam Maxwell play no further part in the competition, Armen Zakaryan of Russia claiming his second British scalp of the week. England’s one-day cricket team restored some morale before the ICC Champions Trophy by beating New Zealand and Bristol Academy beat Birmingham City Ladies 2-0 to join Liverpool at the top of the FA Women’s Super League.