Badminton: Record breaker broken

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Gill Clark broke the record for the number of England caps with her 144th match at St Austell last night, but it was a losing appearance and later England lost the series after China won 5-0 to go 4-1 up in their six-match tour.

Clark and Julian Robertson were beaten in straight games by Yang Ming and Yao Jie, but England's best-known player often performed well and the 32-year-old has another chance today at Maidenhead to finish on a better note. After her 145th appearance, she will retire.

Clark and Robertson led 8-5 in the first game and 10-5 in the second. Each time the Chinese raised their game and there was a crucial run of mistakes by Robertson near the end.

In spite of some good touches from Clark at the end, England slipped from a lead of 11-10 in the second game to lose 15-10, 15-11.

Earlier, Anders Nielsen, a bronze medallist at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games, could not cope with the pace and steeply angled jump smashes of Chen Gang, the world junior champion, who was also the Englishman's equal around the net. Chen's 15-9, 15-6 win highlighted the quality of Darren Hall's victory against the same player at Gateshead last Wednesday.

China completed their winning 3-0 lead on the night when Julia Mann, in only her second match for England, was beaten 11-2, 11-4 by Gong Zhichao.