Team Derby’s defence of the inaugural National Badminton League title got off to the best possible start after Gail’s side clinched a 4-1 victory over Surrey Smashers at the University of Derby’s new £10.8m sports centre.
Rajiv Ouseph drew first blood for the incumbent champions by beating Carl Baxter in the men’s singles event, before Ollie Baczala and Amanda Hogstrom lost to Robert Blair and Emily Westwood to level the scores.
Chris Coles and Andy Ellis then edged Chris Langridge and Dean George in a tightly-contested clash, before 15-year-old debutante Grace King stole the show by beating English national quarter-finalist Georgina Bland to seal victory for Derby.
Gail then wrapped up the emphatic win alongside doubles partner Kate Robertshaw to swat aside Gabby Adcock and Abigail Holden in straight sets.
On the subject of teenage teammate King, the Olympic silver medallist said: "Grace was brilliant – absolutely fantastic. This is what this league is about – to showcase young talent – and she played amazingly well.
"For the first two sets, she was flying. Then, there was this adrenaline come-down and a few nerves crept in. But it was great that she held it together and won the game."
Up next for Derby is an away fixture to Loughborough Sport on Monday 7 December.