National doubles glory for Adcocks

Chris and Gabby Adcock
Chris and Gabby Adcock
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Gabby Adcock will aim for Anthony Clark’s record 12 English National Championship titles after winning her eighth with husband Chris at the K2, Crawley on Sunday.

Ravenshead’s Adcocks, the world number six pair, proved too good for Gary Fox and Lauren Smith, winning 21-10 21-13 in 30 minutes to land their second national title together.

The final was the first time since the Adcocks and rivals Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork contested the 2012 final that two off-court partners had played each other.

Sam Parsons (19) lifted his first men’s singles title with a two-game win over Andrew Smith, while Nicola Cerfontyne did the same against England’s number one Fontaine Chapman to land the women’s title.

Heather Olver, after five successive defeats, and Lauren Smith raced to women’s doubles victory. England’s number one men’s pairing, Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis, then won a frenetic men’s doubles clash and the tightest final of the day against Matthew Nottingham and Harley Towler.

Mixed doubles

Gabby Adcock won her eighth national title after she and husband Chris produced a dominant performance to beat fellow off-court partners Lauren Smith and Gary Fox.

Adcock had already won five women’s doubles titles – the last one with Smith – but added a third mixed victory thanks to a variation of speed, touch and quickly-compiled points.

After a couple of early errors, the Adcocks found their rhythm against a couple who had played freely in their first tournament together and raced to the title in 30 minutes.

Gabby said: “I’m pleased to get that eighth title and playing one event has been a luxury with our training block.

“I want to go for the record of national titles. Next year could be difficult with the Olympics in mind but I hope to get 10 in the bag at some point.”

Chris added: “At National championships you never know how it’s going to go so we had to approach it as a tough match and thankfully we produced a decent level.”

Nicola Cerfontyne believes that her four years living in Denmark will hold her in good stead after she lifted her second national title in an topsy-turvy final against Fontaine Chapman, the England number one.

Cerfontyne and Chapman had both lost in the final in the last two years and in a close final it was the former who prevailed 24-22 21-19 to regain the title she first won in 2011.

Cerfontyne twice had to stem comebacks from an attack-minded but error-prone Chapman in both games.

Chapman saved two match points but pushed long on the third and relief was etched across Cerfontyne’s face.

“It was a nervy game as we train and know each other’s game,” said Cerfontyne.

“There were always going to be times where you take the lead and they claw their way back. The momentum changed throughout and I managed to stay on top.

“We need to get as many girls playing badminton to get the competition higher and keep each other striving to move forward.”

A fist-pumping Sam Parsons showed his future potential at world level as the 19-year-old atoned for last year’s final defeat to lift his first National Championship title.

Parsons, twice a former national junior champion, held off a spirited Andrew Smith, who last appeared at the Nationals five years ago, to win 21-14 21-16 without losing a game.

Parsons also went one better than his coach and uncle Steve Butler’s national performances, who fell at the final hurdle three times – the last coming at this venue in 1988.

“I did say before the tournament and Raj (Ouseph) had to pull out that I was here to win, so I kept my promise to my uncle and my gran,” said a delighted Parsons.

“I have to keep working hard and not let this result set me back and rest on my laurels and think I’ve already made it.

“It keeps my mind focused and I like to please the crowd. It’s all in retrospect of the game: to keep myself pumped up and do the best I can do.”

Parsons will now focus on training for the next month before his next tournament in Portugal.

He won’t be at the YONEX All England Championships due to his low world ranking, but a future berth surely beckons.

After five successive final defeats in the women’s doubles - thanks to Gabby Adcock’s dominance - Heather Olver finally landed her first with partner Lauren Smith.

Sussex’s Olver delighted the local crowd thanks to a 21-11 21-11 win over Jennifer Williams and Viki Moore.

After winning the first after a tight opener, the world number 46 pair raced to a 11-3 lead at the mid-game interval and never let up.

“You want it so much, you try and think ‘it’s okay, it doesn’t matter, finals are good’, but of course you want to win that national title so I’m really pleased we got it together - and especially in Sussex as well for a nice finish,” said a delighted Olver.

Smith added: “We were expected to win and we were solid throughout the whole event.”

The pair will now compete at the European Teams, before a busy period with the Austrian, German, YONEX All England and Swiss Opens all looming.

“It will be tough, but a great chance to see our level and where we need to go,” said Olver, with the pair set to compete in qualifying for the YONEX All England next month.

On paper the men’s doubles was always going to be a close affair as England’s number one pairing and top seeds, Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge just held off Harley Towler and Matthew Nottingham in three games.

Both pairs had endured tough semi-finals, but there was enough power on show to suggest a lengthy affair here and, at 68 minutes, it proved the longest of the day too.

Nottingham and Towler, both 22, found a way back into the final by just keeping ahead in the second and then setting up a decider when Ellis foot-faulted on his serve.

Tight serving by Ellis, coupled with lively winners, then completed victory, but Nottingham and Towler never gave up the chase.

Langridge’s victory meant he has now won the men’s title with three different partners, while Ellis won his first national title after losing two finals in 2013.

“It was a tough game and they surprised us,” said Langridge. “It’s always tough when you’re trying to win your first title and especially when you look at all the other names on the trophies, with Olympic and world medallists, so it means a great deal to be on that trophy with some of the best players we’ve ever had.”

An emotional Ellis said: “Coming here, you are playing in the quarters, semis and finals against players’ games you know inside out. It goes to show today that they could have taken it, but we managed to pull it out of the bag in the third.

“I’ve failed to convert two finals in the past and winning a first will be something I remember when I finish playing.”

Results:

XD: Chris & Gabby Adcock beat Gary Fox & Lauren Smith 21-10 21-13

WS: Nicola Cerfontyne beat Fontaine Chapman 24-22 21-19

MS: Sam Parsons beat Andrew Smith 21-14 21-16

WD: Heather Olver Lauren Smith beat Jennifer Moore Viki Williams 21-11 21-11

MD: Marcus Ellis & Chris Langridge beat Matthew Nottingham Harley Towler 21-17 19-21 21-15