All-England action for Jersey duo

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Elizabeth Cann plays in the first round of the Yonex All England Championships in Birmingham tomorrow afternoon, while Solenn Pasturel needs to win three matches in the qualifying rounds this afternoon and evening if she wants to join Cann in the main event.

Pasturel, Melbourne bound with Jersey’s Commonwealth Games team, starts her qualifying campaign with a match against Li-Yin Chang of Taipei at 4 o’clock.

Cann is due to face Yu Hirayama of Japan at 2.40 pm tomorrow.

Jersey’s badminton team manager and former England No 1 men’s singles player Mark Constable remembers the All England with some fondness.

‘It is a prestigious tournament, one of the oldest on the circuit that attracts the world’s best.

It is the one everybody wants to win.

All the top Chinese and Asian players hold it in high regard and travel over for it.

‘It is the equivalent of The Open in golf or Wimbledon in tennis.’ Home fans will look to Olympic mixed doubles silver medalists Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms to retain their All England title but they will face stern competition.

Last year the Chinese took up where they left off at the Athens Olympics by winning four of the five titles, equalling their feat of 1997 and eclipsing Asian rivals Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.

Said Constable: ‘I haven’t played in it since 2002 but it was always the highlight of my year.

I lived in the area and always had good home support.

It is a big arena and always special.’ Constable reached the last 16 in the men’s singles on a couple of occasions: ‘I usually met a top Chinese or Indonesian player and always played well.

I lost a tight three-set game to the world champion in one year.’ The England squad for the Commonwealth Games is expected to be chosen after the conclusion of the All England Championships.

This will have implications for Cann, who has already been selected for the Jersey team for Melbourne, but will travel with England if she is chosen in their team.

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