Exmouth’s Ben Lane sparkles at YONEX All England Championships in Birmingham.

PUBLISHED: 14:15 07 March 2019

Ben Lane and doubles partner Jess Pugh in action at the YONEX All England Championships in Birmingham. Picture YOHAN NONOTTE

Ben Lane and doubles partner Jess Pugh in action at the YONEX All England Championships in Birmingham. Picture YOHAN NONOTTE

Badmintonphoto

Exmouth badminton prodigy Ben Lane has started on fire at the prestigious YONEX All England Championships in Birmingham.

The 21-year-old Devon shuttler is through to the round of 16 in the mixed doubles after downing German pairing Marvin Seidel and Linda Efler 21-13 21-16, alongside partner Jess Pugh.

The result is a huge milestone in the English duo’s development, with youngsters Lane and Pugh winning in the main draw at badminton’s oldest tournament for the very first time.

“It feels really good!” Commented Lane after sealing the dramatic victory. “This is mine and Jess’ first win in the main draw at All England and obviously we’ve got family here with it being in England so it makes it a lot better.

“We’ve lost to them (Seidel and Efler) twice before so we had to watch back a lot of the matches we’ve played against them - I think we’ve both come a long way since then.

“We’ve had lots of hard training and lots of learning experiences since then so it just shows out there on court.”

The result is all the sweeter for the two English 21-year-olds as Seidel and Efler twice beat them comfortably in 2018, 21-10 21-18 at the World Championships and 21-17 21-8 at the US Open.

Lane and Pugh are incredibly bright prospects in the future of British badminton and this result caps their progression, with the youngsters not making it to the All England main draw in 2017 and losing in the first round last year.

The young shuttlers have long been thought of as the successors to No.1 English pairing Chris and Gabby Adcock, with an all-English match-up now confirmed for the next round on Thursday.

“We’re really happy that we could put out the right game plan, it turned out to be quite comfortable in the end,” added Pugh, part of the English team that won mixed team bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

“We analysed loads of their games and saw the styles of play, we avoided getting trapped in certain positions they like to be in.

“The hall was quite fast and it threw us off a little bit but we managed to stick to the plan and get the win.

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