Badminton: Super Louis-Lane: Muggeridge mugged

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The Independent Online
SUZANNE LOUIS-LANE, the national champion, took an important step towards proving her contention that the English rankings are wrong, when she beat the England No 1, Joanne Muggeridge, to win the fifth tournament in the new British Grand Prix circuit at the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth, on Saturday.

Louis-Lane climbed to within five points of Muggeridge after her 1-11, 11-1, 11-7 victory in the final of the Friends Provident Hampshire Open, and it will be their relative standings in the points table that, this season for the first time, will decide who gains pole position.

Louis-Lane's strong public criticism of the existing rankings was based on their subjectivity and importance - which is unfair, she alleged, when endorsement bonuses can be involved.

The new system has its critics, too, among them Darren Hall, who won the men's singles by coming from 13-10 down in the first game before overcoming his close rival, Anders Nielsen.

Hall, the former European champion from Essex, beat the former national champion from Surrey 18-15, 15-7 - which put him 290 points clear at the top of the table.

Hall has been concerned that international commitments might endanger his national ranking if he were to be available for only a few of the seven tournaments on the circuit, but this latest success makes it virtually certain that he will remain England's No 1 into a fifth successive year.

Results, Sporting Digest,

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