England bow out of Thomas Cup

England may have fallen at the Thomas Cup group stage but there were plenty of positives to take from the action in Bangkok.

Drawn alongside heavyweights Malaysia and Japan in Group D, qualification was always going to be a tough ask and 5-0 defeats against both consigned the English squad to an early exit.

But a morale-boosting 4-1 win against USA ensured the tournament ended on a high for a team featuring several Thomas Cup debutants.

England opened up against Malaysia on Monday, with Toby Penty first on court as he took on world no.6 Lee Zii Jia.

Lee raced into an 8-0 lead in the opening game, which he went on to win 21-10, and took the second 21-15 to get Malaysia off to a winning start.

England’s task got no easier in the second match, which pitted Ben Lane and Sean Vendy against Olympic bronze medallists Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.

Lane and Vendy edged a tight first game 21-19 but the Malaysian duo hit back to take the next two 21-15, 21-16 and dash hopes of a famous triumph.

Johnnie Torjussen’s clash also went to a decider, with the youngster going down 21-16, 19-21, 21-11 against Ng Tze Yong before Rory Easton and Zach Russ, then Cholan Kayan, went down in straight games.

It was a similar story against Japan the following day, with Penty again taking on one of the world’s best in Kento Momota, who prevailed 21-18, 21-11.

Lane and Vendy flew out the traps against Takuro Hoki and Yuta Watanabe, winning the opener 21-12, but saw a lead slip away once more in a match lasting just shy of an hour as Japan established a 2-0 lead.

The advantage was made unassailable when Kanta Tsuneyama beat Torjussen in three games, and neither Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood nor Sid Palakkal were able to reverse the tide in straight games defeats.

It was a different story against USA as the English squad ensured they ended the tournament with a victory to their name.

Penty set the tone with a convincing straight games victory over Enrico Asuncon, dropping just 12 points, and Torjussen made it two from two in the singles by seeing off Don Henley Averia 21-12, 21-11.

Easton and Russ secured the success by opening their account for the week in straight games against Adrian King-Sun Mar and Henry Tang and though Kayan went down in three against William Hu, Hemming and Stallwood ensured England finished with a flourish by beating Asuncion and Averia 21-13, 21-9.