Longtown badminton star Lauren Smith is out of the YONEX All England Open – but is pleased with the strength in depth developing in the British game.
The 27-year-old, who has won five Commonwealth Games medals, flew into the second round at badminton’s oldest tournament but lost out to Malaysian pair Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie in the mixed doubles on day two.
Smith and partner Marcus Ellis never really got going at Arena Birmingham, losing out 21-15 26-24.
Despite the defeat, though, Smith talked positively about the English game, with experienced duo Chris and Gabby Adcock defeating up-and-coming compatriots Ben Lane and Jess Pugh at the prestigious tournament.
She said: “I think it’s an incredibly positive thing. We’ve obviously got the three pairs here and then we’ve got other pairs at Milton Keynes and you get good sparring opportunities.
“It keeps our level high and you can all work together to improve as a collective.
“It’s not about competing in England, it’s about competing with the rest of the world, but to have multiple pairs through to the latter stages can only be a good thing for now and in the future.”
Ellis and Smith started slowly in their first-round match before staging a comeback, but couldn’t repeat the trick in round two.
Their Malaysian opponents raced into a first-game lead and never looked like succumbing despite the English pair’s efforts.
Smith and Ellis made a better first of it in the second game but the English players couldn’t maintain composure for long enough.
* The 2019 YONEX All England will wow fans at Arena Birmingham, 6-10 March. For tickets, go to www.allenglandbadminton.com.