Preston badminton ace Chloe Birch may have tasted defeat at the YONEX All England Open but is already plotting a further progression in 2020.
The 23-year-old is one of England’s brightest prospects in the spor,t having made it to the main draw at badminton’s oldest tournament.
Birch competed in the women’s doubles alongside partner Lauren Smith, 27, but they lost out to fourth seed Indonesian pair Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu 21-19, 21-15.
“We always knew it was going to be tough but we went out there and we attacked and we kind of went to play our game and we did,” said Birch, part of the English team that won the mixed team bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
“We were a little bit unlucky in that first set but then they’re really solid, they’re really steady and we gave a few too many away in that second set. Our overall level was quite high but they’re able to sustain it and we can’t quite yet.
“There’s a reason they are top five in the world and we’re not quite there but I thought we played well.”
The English duo matched their Indonesian pairing for much of the opening game and were tied at 19-19 before conceding the final two points.
They found the going harder in the second game, conceding five consecutive points early on and were never able to recover.
Birch and Smith are a relatively new pairing though and are set on improving their world No.33 ranking.
Birch added: “The good thing for us was we were able to go out and play free, we had nothing to lose so we just went out there to play our best badminton.
“I think what you’ve always got to remember is you’ve got to play your best, if you get beaten they might just be a little bit better.
“I think we learned a lot, we showed a good level but we’re quite a new pair but we’ll take a look and come back stronger.
“Being here is amazing, in England and playing in front of friends and family, it’s really nice and we’ll take a lot from the match and hopefully next year go one better.”
The 2019 YONEX All England – Badminton’s Greatest Show on the sport’s world tour – will wow fans at Arena Birmingham, 6-10 March. For tickets and information: www.allenglandbadminton.com or search All England tickets.