England were beaten by Malaysia in badminton’s gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games on Monday night.
The 2010 bronze medallists went down 3-1 as Malaysia made it a third Commonwealth team gold in a row since England last stood on top of the podium.
The England challenge got off to the usual good start from husband and wife combo Chris and Gabby Adcock in the mixed doubles and Rajiv Ouseph did his level best to make it 2-0 in the men’s singles but once Malaysia made it 1-1 they never looked back.
The Adcocks, who live in Milton Keynes, defeated Chan Peng Soon and Lai Pei Jing in a thrilling mixed doubles. The world number five pair took the first game 21-14 but had to come from behind in the second after trailing 17-13 and then saved seven game points before winning 28-26 on their third match point after 51 minutes. Adcock’s big, left-handed cross-court smash was a key shot in the contest.
Rajiv Ouseph looked on course to give England a 2-0 lead when he came back from a game down to lead 11-7 in the deciding game against Chong Wei Feng in the men’s singles.
But after the change of ends the Malaysian turned the tables to lead 15-13. Ouseph recovered to 16-16 but a four-point burst by Chong Wei gave him four match points and he took the contest on his fourth to win 21-17 19-21 21-19 after 71 gripping minutes. It was Ouseph’s first defeat of the Games.
Malaysia moved ahead when they took the men’s doubles as Adcock found himself back on court as early as the third match for the second day running. Adcock and Andy Ellis could not get the better of Malaysian pair Tan Wee Kiong and Goh Wei Shem, who won a close contest 21-19 21-17.
That meant two-time English National champion Sarah Walker had to win the women’s singles to take the tie to a fifth contest. But in Tee Jing Yi she was up against an opponent ranked 42 places higher at number 33 in the world.
Walker made Tee fight all the way for her 21-16 21-17 victory to give Malaysia a 3-1 winning lead and leave England with the silver medal.
But that silver medal the first for England in the minimum target of three set by the team management and now they can build on this in the individual events, which start today (Tuesday).
England Team captain Rajiv Ouseph said: “I’m a bit disappointed with how the end result went but I can only be happy with how I played yesterday and today in the semi-final so hopefully I can take that forward into the individual.
“When we started the tournament, if you had offered us a silver I think we would have taken it.
“But with the way the match was, I had a bit of a lead in the third set, I was a bit disappointed with how I let it go, and that probably shifted the momentum back to Malaysia in the whole team match.
“I’m really proud of the whole team, it’s a really young team and not a lot of players have had big tournament experience so for them to go through this and come out with a silver is really pleasing.”