Cooper experiences highs and lows at Perth Championships

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Edinburgh’s Jillie Cooper claimed the women’s doubles for a third time – but she and Edinburgh-born Robert Blair had to settle for second best after a tough mixed final at the Yonex Scottish National Badminton Championships at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth.

In the best match of the day, it was Olympian Imogen Bankier who claimed the mixed title for a seventh year in a row and her sixth with Watson Briggs, but they had save eight game points in the second before clinching victory 21-19, 28-26. At the end, Cooper slumped onto her knees in the middle of the court.

It had been a happier end to another three-end match in the women’s doubles. Partnered by Bothwell teenager Kirsty 
Gilmour – she retained the women’s singles – Cooper took the title 21-15, 19-21, 21-16.

Blair, who played for Scotland, then England and should be back in Scottish colours for this year’s Sudirman Cup in Kuala Lumpur in May, claimed his first Scottish National title alongside Gordon Thomson in the men’s doubles, beating two-time champions Jamie Neill and Danny Leinster 21-17, 21-11. “This is my first Scottish Nationals since 1999 and it’s nice to be back,” said Blair, who is from Longniddry.

With champion Kieran 
Merrilees injured, Falkirk’s Calum Menzies repeated his 2010 victory in the men’s singles, beating Glasgow Uni student Danny Leinster 21-11, 21-12.

In the women’s singles, Gilmour defended her title by defeating four-time former winner Rita Yuan Gao 21-16, 21-12.