Banishing the blues… Bolton’s Wallwork upbeat despite AJ Bell National Badminton League loss

Jenny Wallwork’s AJ Bell National Badminton League night may have ended in disappointment, but the Birmingham Lion insists a bridge has been crossed in her bid to hit greater heights.

Bolton’s Wallwork and doubles partner Mette Poulsen lost out to Surrey Smashers pair Gabby Adcock and Sophie Brown, but that didn’t stop the Lions securing the fixture – keeping their hopes of reaching the Ultimate Showdown firmly alive.

It was the first time the 30-year-old had played with Poulsen, with lack of familiarity evident in their 9-8 8-9 9-2 9-3 defeat.

But in what Wallwork believes was her first game with a left hander, there is plenty to take on board heading forward, hoping she can be better for the experience.

“It’s a shame to lose, but it was the first time we’ve played together and it was a completely new experience for us, playing against a really good pair in Gabby and Sophie,” she said.

“On their day they were better than us, they were very aggressive in the attack and played a good game, it was a very tough match to take part in.

“Mette is left-handed whereas I play with the right, it’s something new you have to get used to and I don’t think we used each other’s strengths as well as we could have done.

“We were thrown straight into it and that’s not something that can click immediately, but we’re experienced enough to get in and battle and do everything that we can.”

Though they currently sit atop the AJ Bell NBL table, Birmingham’s place in Milton Keynes is far from certain, needing results to go their way in Match-night 7 as they no longer have any matches left themselves.

That was despite Frederik Colberg and Rasmus Fladberg taking the last event of the fixture, defeating Tom Wolfenden and Olympic bronze medallist Chris Langridge in straight games.

Toby Penty also ensured his European circuit singles success wasn’t to be a one-off, also getting a victory in three games against Sam Parsons.

It now means the Lions will have a nervous wait to find out their fate, with Wallwork insisting she would much rather have destiny in her own hands.

“It’s been great to come into this team, they’ve had some very good wins and a productive season, but it’s going to be a nervous wait to see if we get into the finals,” she said.

“I’ll be watching out for the results and hoping Birmingham can pull it off, but watching makes me nervous and you just want to get out there and do it!

“We’ve had a really good turnout and it’s great that we could have the backing and the support behind us. It always makes a massive difference, I personally saw that a lot with the All England, and it really wants you pushing on and doing what you can.”

The AJ Bell National Badminton League final takes place on 8 February at centre:mk in Milton Keynes, offering a great value family evening out. Tickets to see the league’s top two teams go head to head to be champions can be booked at 

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