Stourbridge star Charlotte Bardsley said she was proud of her women’s table tennis team despite their crushing 3-0 defeat to Wales in the Commonwealth Games quarter-final.
Bardsley, 20, lost the opening doubles 3-1 alongside Maria Tsaptsinos and was not required in the singles as Tin-Tin Ho and Tsaptsinos tasted defeat.
Bardsley had held her nerve excellently earlier in the day to help England progress to the knockout stages with a dramatic win over Nigeria that went to the final game but there was no repeat of those theatrics on Saturday night in Birmingham’s NEC.
Bardsley, who only took up the sport when she could not find a spare court at Kidderminster’s Heathfield School badminton club as a youngster, said: “Obviously, it's a disappointing loss, but I'm proud of the team because we fought really hard. We couldn’t ask for more from anyone and we all tried our best.
“We tried to build on the match against Nigeria and it didn't work out in the end.
“We need to be able to reset. There are new opportunities in the future competitions. As a group we have put in some good performances.”
Bardsley’s partner Tsaptsinos blamed the emotional hangover of England’s dramatic victory over Nigeria for their last-eight thrashing.
Reading’s Tsaptsinos, 25, was part of the side that claimed bronze on the Gold Coast in 2018 but failed to guarantee another medal match as England went down to the team ranked two places below them.
Tsaptsinos said: “It was very difficult, we probably had the hardest draw of the Commonwealth Games but well played to Wales, they played really well and got through their group first.
“We had the hardest group coming in as 12th seeds after winning bronze in 2018 which was really difficult.
“We had the No.1 seeds Singapore in our group and then Nigeria who were probably the hardest of the other lot to beat.
“And we put it all out against them this morning and I think there was nothing left in the tank to be honest. It was really hard - I've had a headache all day!
“100 percent [there was an emotional hangover after Nigeria] and that’s not saying Wales didn’t play unbelievably, they did and you can only beat the person that is put in front of you at the end of the day and they beat us, so congrats.”
Tsaptsinos enjoyed playing in front of a home crowd even though Wales’ pocket of boisterous support drowned out the English faithful as it became one-way traffic on the table.
After losing the doubles 3-1 with Bardsley before failing to keep the match going with an 11-8 11-9 11-4 singles defeat to Wales’ 16-year-old sensation Anna Hursey, Tsaptsinos is turning her attention to the events to come with plenty still to play for.
She added: “The crowd has been absolutely unbelievable. I can't fault them at all, I've got some friends and family up there. It’s really nice to play here.
“I’m going to regroup, get some rest - I don’t think I’ve slept in about four days! Then we go again for mixed, singles and doubles.
“Medals are always the target. I’m with Tins [Tin-Tin Ho] in the women’s doubles, Sam Walker in the mixed doubles and singles obviously by myself!
“There are medal expectations but we will wait to see what the draw is and take it match by match but hopefully come out with some good results.”
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