After struggling in the second set, Martin and Lessard appeared to have regained their first set touch gaining and 8-5 lead in the third. But the British pair scored six of the next seven points and didn't relinquish the lead again.
"It's unfortunate the match didn't go our way," Martin said. "It was a good match, we had our moments but we made more errors than usual."
On the winning point, Martin's block on a Dampney smash went wide, sending the 15,000 pro-British crowd into a frenzy.
Martin and Lessard enjoyed a great start to the match and built a lead as high as six points midway through the first set.
But it was the complete reverse in the second set, where Dampney and Mullin led from the start.
"They destabilized us with their service reception in the second set," Lessard said.
The British made several service errors in the match but they were more successful in their attacks, scoring 63 per cent compared to 46 for the Canadians. Lessard was credited with two aces, 12 kills and six digs while Martin had three aces, 10 kills, three blocks and six digs.
In the other pool F match, Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti of Italy defeated Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova of Russia 17-21, 21-18, 15-8.
Martin and Lessard face the Russians in their next match on Tuesday.
Men's action resumes on Monday with Josh Binstock of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., (1-0) facing Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr of Norway (0-1).
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