Adcocks get a bye at English Badminton Championships

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Defending champions Chris and Gabby Adcock, of Ravenshead, have been handed a first round bye in the English National Badminton Championships mixed doubles, but look set to meet Matthew Clare and Jessica Hopton in the second round on Friday at the K2 Crawley in Sussex.

The Adcocks are seeded to meet Harley Towler and Emily Westwood in Sunday’s final.

But the Crawley crowd will no doubt be behind Gail Emms and Matthew Nottingham if the unseeded pair can make it through to a last eight date with Towler and Westwood.

Top seed Rajiv Ouseph will begin his campaign for an eighth title against Avon’s Christopher Evans.

Ouseph, three titles away from Darren Hall’s record 10 triumphs, is seeded to meet Toby Penty in the semi-finals, though Sam Parsons will have something to say about that.

Fifth-seeded Parsons, last year’s runner-up, is set to meet Penty, pictured, in the last eight.

Meanwhile, Hampshire’s Andrew Smith, the 2008 Olympian who is back at the Nationals after a five-year absence, starts his bid as second seed against Matthew Clare, of Yorkshire.

Sussex favourite Heather Olver will be hoping to land a first national doubles’ title with partner Lauren Smith in the women’s doubles.

Olver, a perennial runner-up in recent years thanks to the exploits of Gabby Adcock, will begin their title assault against Surrey pair, Georgina Bland and Samodani Wijetunge.

Olver and Smith’s main threat to the title comes from Yorkshire duo, Sophie Brown and Kate Robertshaw, the second seeds.

Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge are favourites to win the men’s doubles at the K2.

The top English pair are seeded to meet Peter Briggs and Tom Wolfenden in the semi-finals.

In the women’s singles, Warwickshire top seed Fontaine Chapman begins her campaign against Ciara Lindsay.

Five-time winner Elizabeth Cann is unseeded this year and should meet eight-seeded Helena Lewczynska in an enticing second round encounter.