Stourbridge table tennis star Charlotte Bardsley relished a once in a lifetime experience after her Commonwealth Games came to an end.
Alongside Emily Bolton, Bardsley lost 3-0 to strong Singaporean pair Tianwei Feng and Jian Zeng in the last 16 of the women’s doubles.
Bardsley revealed she will take plenty of lessons from her time in Birmingham playing in front of a boisterous home crowd that was nothing like she’d ever seen before.
She said: “It was a really difficult match but we gave it our best. They were on a different level to us, so it was hard.
“I think I’ve definitely learnt a lot and being able to perform in front of the big crowd and in really crucial moments has really helped me and hopefully I can do that again in future competitions.
“I was taken aback at how much support we had. I didn’t really know what was going to happen and I didn’t really know what was going to happen but it was a great feeling.
“It’s really special to compete in my home city because I’ll probably never get this opportunity again in my lifetime. It has been fantastic to play with all my friends and my family watching me.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
While success eluded her in the women’s doubles, Bardsley will remember fondly her decisive role in ensuring the women’s team made the quarter-finals.
After being pegged back by Nigeria in a thrilling decisive group-stage encounter, it came down to the very final game with the scores locked at 9-9 before the 20-year-old prevailed.
England went on to lose to Wales but Bardsley was also proud of her achievements in the mixed doubles alongside Tom Jarvis where they beat Singapore's Yew En Koen Pang and Xin Ru Wong to make the last eight.
She said: “I think the highlight definitely was winning the deciding match against Nigeria.
“Also getting to the quarter-final of the mixed doubles with Tom and beating the No.2 seeds from Singapore was a really good thing.”
Bardsley’s partner Bolton was the last England player to take to the table following her late call-up and bemoaned the duo’s tough draw against experienced opponents.
She said: “Obviously they are a really good pair. They’ve probably played together for a long time and it was really difficult.
“It is what it is and that’s just the way the draw is sometimes. We tried our best to put our game onto them but they are strong and they had an answer to everything we threw at them.
“I’ve really enjoyed the Games. It has been a really nice atmosphere every day watching matches on the bench with the girls or in the stands.
“Being chucked in last minute was a little bit of a surprise, but it’s been a really enjoyable experience. Hopefully in four years’ time I might still be around and I can build from here and improve my game further.”
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