Defeat won’t dampen Holly’s ambitions

Holly Smith.

Holly Smith.

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SUNDERLAND’S Holly Smith insists her first-round defeat at the English National Badminton Championships won’t mark the end of her eight-year mixed doubles partnership with Tom Wolfenden.

The 18-year-old, pictured, took the court in Manchester for the third English National Championships of her fledgling career little over two weeks after representing Britain at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

Smith failed to medal Down Under in the team competition and the women’s and mixed doubles, the latter with Wolfenden, before returning home and preparing for the English Championships.

They faced Harley Towler and Helena Lewczynska in the first round of the mixed doubles competition in Manchester, but they couldn’t progress to round two as they lost in straight sets 21-15, 21-19.

And, while disappointed with the outcome of the match against Towler and Lewczynska, having played with Wolfenden for almost a decade, Smith isn’t about to let the result have far reaching consequences.

“I think it was a 50-50 as to who would win that match really,” said Smith.

“It would have been nice to get a win, but Harley and Helena were a bit better on the day.

“It was a very close game – and it was annoying that I had a bit of an air-shot on the last point as well, but the plan is to hopefully keep going as doubles partners.

“Tom and I have played with each other for years and years – since we were ten – so we’ve always played well together.

“I was at the Nationals two years ago and that was my first, so I’ve played at the tournament before.

“It’s a bit different, but it’s not too bad when they’ve got the lights off at the back.”

Despite defeat, Smith admits there is plenty that her and Wolfenden can take away from the result as they look ahead to the rest of 2013.

“We’ve been with each other long enough and there are definitely a lot of positives to take and there are a lot of big junior tournaments coming up,” she added.

“We know what we need to work on so we’ll go away and do that and hopefully be better the next time we play.”

H Tickets for every day of the English National Badminton Championships are available at www.nationalbadmintonchamps.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 5811424.