ROBERT BLAIR won his first senior title at the Yonex Scottish National Championships this afternoon when he lifted the men’s doubles crown while Jillie Cooper took her fourth women’s doubles title in partnering Kirsty Gilmour, who also retained her singles trophy.
But 2011 world silver medallist Imogen Bankier stole the show by winning her seventh mixed doubles title and her sixth with Watson Briggs when they saved eight game points in the second game on the way to winning a thrilling mixed doubles final with Blair and Jillie Cooper 21-19 28-26 in the last match of the afternoon at the Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth.
Edinburgh-born Blair, the 2006 world men’s doubles silver medallist who is now based in Glasgow, teamed up with two-time singles champion Gordon Thomson (Glasgow) to topple top seeds Martin Campbell (Edinburgh) and Angus Gilmour (Troon) in the semi-finals 14-21 21-16 21-13.
And in the final they overcame third seeds and two-time winners Jamie Neill (Hamilton) and Keith Turnbull (Larkhall) 21-17 21-11. Neill and Turnbull had reached the final by winning the closest and longest match of the tournament by edging out second seeds and defending champions Watson Briggs (Renfrew) and Paul Van Rietvelde (Longniddry) 21-19 18-21 23-21 in 62 minutes.
Calum Menzies claimed his second men’s singles title when the Falkirk man overcame East Kilbride’s three-times champion Craig Goddard in the semi-finals 21-18 21-11 and outplayed Glasgow’s Danny Leinster in the final 21-11 21-12.
Edinburgh’s Cooper landed her fourth women’s doubles crown when she and Bothwell’s Gilmour won a close encounter with Swiss-based former champion Rita Yuan Gao and her partner, Caitlin Pringle. The top seeds beat the second seeds 21-15 19-21 21-16 to foil Yuan Gao’s bid for a seventh title.
Gilmour then returned to the court to retain her women’s singles title by beating four-times singles winner Yuan Gao 21-16 21-12.
The Yonex Scottish National Championships were back in Perth for a 12th consecutive year courtesy of BADMINTONscotland in conjunction with Perth & Kinross Council, Perth Common Good Fund, Perth & Kinross Sports Council and Live Active Leisure.
Men’s singles semi-finals: (5/8) Danny Leinster bt (5/8) Ben Torrance 21-11 24-22, (2) Calum Menzies bt (5/8) Craig Goddard 21-18 21-11. Final: Menzies bt Leinster 21-11 21-12.
Women’s singles semi-finals: (1) Kirsty Gilmour bt Emma Cook 21-8 21-4; (2) Rita Yuan Gao bt Rebekka Findlay 21-12 21-13. Final: Gilmour bt Yuan Gao 21-16 21-12.
Men’s doubles semi-finals: (3/4) Robert Blair & Gordon Thomson bt (1) Martin Campbell & Angus Gilmour 14-21 21-16 21-13; (3/4) Jamie Neill & Keith Turnbull bt (2) Watson Briggs & Paul Van Rietvelde 21-19 18-21 23-21. Final: Blair & Thomson bt Neill & Turnbull 21-17 21-11.
Women’s doubles semi-finals: (1) Jillie Cooper & Kirtsy Gilmour bt Hannah Laing & Megan Richardson 21-15 21-12; (2) Rita Yuan Gao & Caitlin Pringle bt Frances Heslop & Viktoria Tsvetanova 21-5 21-11. Final: Cooper & Gilmour bt Yuan Gao & Pringle 21-15 19-21 21-16.
Mixed doubles semi-finals: (1) Robert Blair & Jillie Cooper bt (3/4) Patrick MacHugh & Caitlin Pringle 21-18 21-11; (2) Watson Briggs & Imogen Bankier bt (3/4) Paul Van Rietvelde & Kirsty Gilmour 17-21 21-19 21-14. Final: Briggs & Bankier bt Blair & Cooper 21-19 28-26