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Telford's Jess Pugh hoping for vocal backing as she looks to pull off Badminton shock

Jess Pugh reckons the backing of a raucous Birmingham 2022 crowd can help her spring a major shock in the badminton mixed doubles.

Telford's Jess Pugh has been named in the Team England badminton squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Photo Credit: Sam Mellish / Team England
Telford's Jess Pugh has been named in the Team England badminton squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Photo Credit: Sam Mellish / Team England

The 25-year-old Telford ace and partner Callum Hemming today face Malaysia’s No.1 seeds Kian Meng Tan and Pei Jing Lai for a place in the semi-finals.

It is comfortably the toughest test they have faced in the competition so far but with a vociferous home support behind them, Pugh is in confident mood.

She said: “We know on our best day we can beat anyone here. We just concentrate on ourselves and prepare as best we can. If we bring our best level, we can definitely take the match.

“The home support is something they don’t have. The crowd makes a huge difference. It gives you extra confidence. Any doubts you have get drowned out by the support. You can’t beat it.

“We don’t get it very often. We don’t get crowds like this and when we do, they are not our crowds. It is a special feeling. I can’t really describe it.”

Pugh and Hemming yesterday made light work of Jamaica's Katherine Wynter and Joe Angus in the last-16.

The English pair started strongly by winning the first four points and though their opponents then hit back to narrow the deficit at 8-6, a run of eight straight points on Pugh’s serve firmly put the game under control, Hemming serving to win it 21-11.

Pugh kept the video review system busy early in the second game, challenging two line calls in quick succession. Though the first was unsuccessful, the second was, giving the England duo the serve. From there, they reeled off 10 straight points to effectively put the match to bed.

“We’re really happy,” said Pugh, who won bronze in the team event on the Gold Coast four years ago. “We knew we were hot favourites to win the game but we had to get the job done, not using too much energy ahead of tomorrow.

“Every game you play here is an amazing feeling. I went to the Gold Coast and a home Games beats any other Games.”

Kinver table tennis star Charlotte Bardsley’s busy Commonwealth Games continued with another day of mixed fortunes.

Having started the day with a 3-2 win over Canada’s Jeremy Hazin and Ching Nam Fu, Bardsley and partner Tom Jarvis were beaten in straight sets by Australia’s Nicholas Lum and Minhyung Jee to exit the mixed doubles at the quarter-final stage.

But there was better news in the women’s doubles for the 20-year-old and Emily Bolton, who went through to the last-16 with a 3-0 win over Uganda’s Judith Nangonzi and Jemimah Nakawala.

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