When is a retirement not a retirement?
Alpha’s Sinead Chambers announced she was stepping back from international badminton at the start of the season and she was lost for words to describe how she came to be back in green.
Last week she was back in the thick of the action, facing one of her sternest challenges yet as she stood in the spectacular Gymnastics Center in Karzan, Russia waiting to make her return.
She could hardly have wished for a more daunting occasion, partnering Ireland’s most outstanding player of the past decade Chloe Magee against the seeded host nation.
While two-times Olympian Magee had beaten Ksenia Polikarpova in straight sets back in 2013 in the Yonex Dutch International, Ireland’s top player was unable to reproduce a similar result and lost to the Russian 21-14 in the decider.
Sinead couldn’t help Chloe to avenge that defeat in the doubles as they had no answer to the Russian pair of Evgenia Dimova and Nina Vislova, losing 21-12 21-16.
Ireland were not too despondent after the 5-0 defeat as Russia went on to top the group with a further two 5-0 drubbings against Hungary and Slovakia.
And on the second day of action, the Irish were able to banish their defeat to the history books.
Sinead and Chloe recorded an excellent straight sets victory over the Hungarian pair Agnes Korosi and Laura Sarosi 21-13 21-12.
With Chloe winning her top singles clash against Daniella Gonda, Ireland were unlucky not to snatch a further victory which would have secured a runners-up place in the group as they were to record a fine 4-1 victory over Slovakia.
Sinead was drafted in to play second singles and got off to an excellent start by taking the opening set 21-18 and was well on the way to winning in two straight sets but could not get across the line and this allowed Katarina Vargova in to level 21-17.
The Lisburn physio was able to call on all her experience to come back to take control to seal a crucial victory 21-15.
In the doubles, Sinead and Chloe were simply in a different class and ran out the victors 21-13 21-17.