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Aussies rule the roost in exhibition match

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

STARS OF THE SHOW ... the Australian badminton team line up alongside the GB All Stars at Etwall Leisure Centre.

STARS OF THE SHOW ... the Australian badminton team line up alongside the GB All Stars at Etwall Leisure Centre.

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AUSTRALIA'S Commonwealth Games badminton squad emerged victorious against a Great Britain All-Stars team at Etwall Leisure Centre.

Players from Australia's Commonwealth Games squad competed against some of GB's best known badminton stars, including Olympic silver medallists Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson, in an international exhibition event.

The event was part of the Australian team's final preparations for the 2014 Games in Glasgow, which began yesterday.

After six preliminary matches and two competitive exhibition matches the final score was 5-3 to Australia.

Each match was played to the best of three sets, with the first two sets played to 21 points and the third set a shoot-out set to just seven points.

After six preliminary matches the score was 4-2 in Australia's favour, and it was left to Great Britain's Robertson, Gary Fox and Emms to force a tie.

In the first of the exhibition matches, Robertson and Fox joined forces against Australia's Robin Middleton and Ross Smith, and after the teams took a set each, Robertson and Fox won a third set shoot-out 7-4 to keep GB's hopes alive.

Robertson then teamed up with former partner Emms to play Australia's Ross Smith and Renuga Veeran, with the match this time ending 2-0 to Australia – demonstrating the squad's potential for the Commonwealth Games.

In addition to the matches, the event also included off-court action such as smash and accuracy activities and an opportunity to meet the players and get their autographs.

Former GB badminton performance director Andy Wood, who was head coach of the GB team at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics, was the GB All-Stars coach for the evening.

The event was part of a pre-Commonwealth Games training camp for the Australians, which saw players and coaches working with Wood, now performance manager of the Derbyshire Institute of Sport.

Wood coached Simon Archer and Joanne Goode to Britain's first Olympic medal, a bronze in Sydney in 2000, and Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms to their silver in Athens in 2004.

The visiting group from Australia was made up of ten players, including 2012 Olympians Ross Smith, Glenn Warfe and Renuga Veeran, alongside Jeff Tho, Robin Middleton, Raymond Tam, Verdet Kessler, Rosie Tan, Jacqueline Guan and Gronya Somerville, and coaches Lasse Bundgaard and Ricky Yu.

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