By Josh Graham at the NEC, Birmingham
Huddersfield hero Marcus Ellis had no complaints after missing out on badminton glory at the Commonwealth Games alongside girlfriend Lauren Smith.
Ellis and Smith settled for a second successive mixed doubles silver after losing 16-21 15-21 to Singapore’s Terry Hee and Jessica Tan.
The duo, who are a couple on and off the court, put up a spirited display but came off second best despite the efforts of the home crowd who were out in force for Monday’s 8am start on the last day of action in Birmingham.
Ellis, 32, said: “We have to give credit to our Singapore opponents, they didn’t allow us a sniff today. They made it uncomfortable for all of us.
“More than anything we have to credit our opponents. We didn’t play the way we wanted to, but that was because of them not allowing us to.
“Sometimes, you have to say, they were just better today and they brought their top game. They have been great all tournament and today, there was not much we could have done.”
Smith and Ellis swatted aside Scotland’s Adam Hall and Julie Macpherson 21-14 21-7 in Sunday’s semi-final but were unable to go all the way.
Ellis said they would have been thrilled to medal before arriving in the second city but admitted it is always bittersweet emerging with silver having got down to the final two.
“If you told us we were going to win a badminton medal beforehand, we would have been over the moon with that,” he explained.
“But when you get to the final, it’s a 50:50 whether someone wins or loses.
“The competitor inside me said a gold is the only thing acceptable, but I’m so grateful I’m walking away with a medal, it’s going straight in the trophy cabinet.
“Hopefully it will be something I’m very proud of when I look back on it in a couple years.”
Smith, 30, lamented her under-par performance but still came away feeling positive, saying: “I was really off the pace today and I’m sorry we couldn’t put on a better show for the crowd.”
Smith admitted it stung to claim her second silver of the day, and fifth of her career, alongside Preston’s Chloe Birch in the women’s doubles.
The English pair were thoroughly outclassed by Malaysia’s Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan who prevailed 21-5 21-8 in next to no time to bring the entire Games to a close with the 877th medal handed out.
Smith and Birch’s silver took Team England’s medal tally to 176, eclipsing their previous best ever haul at Glasgow 2014 by two.
“I wanted to come here and rectify silver and turn it into gold and I am really disappointed I didn’t do that but I was just beaten by the better people.
“I should be very proud of what I’ve done and my longevity but it does sting.”
Birch was delighted to medal after confessing that she almost packed in the sport in January after struggling to bounce back from a disappointing Tokyo 2020 Olympics where the pair lost all three group games.
The 26-year-old said: “We’ve had a tough year since the Olympic Games.
“There’s been a lot of things happening behind the scenes so to be standing on the podium eight months later, it’s amazing and I’m so happy I stuck in there.”
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