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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Euro Champs: England clinch double in Finland

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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Sarah Kippax (image courtesy of Dunlop)

RESULTS: European Team Championship, Espoo, Finland

Division 1
Men’s Final:
[1] ENGLAND bt [2] FRANCE 3/0
Jonathan Kemp bt Julien Balbo 11-7, 11-1, 11-3
Nick Matthew bt Gregory Gaultier 11-6, 12-10, 11-5
Peter Barker bt Mathieu Castagnet 11-5 ret.

3rd place play-off:
[5] ITALY bt [3] NETHERLANDS 3/1
Stephane Galifi lost to Laurens Jan Anjema 5-11, 4-11, 9-11
Marcus Berrett bt Piedro Schweertman 11-4, 9-11, 11-1, 11-2
Amr Swelim bt Sebastian Weenink 11-6, 11-6, 11-8
Davide Bianchetti bt Dylan Bennett 11-5, 11-5, 11-5

5th-8th place play-offs:
[6] GERMANY bt [4] WALES 3/1
Simon Rosner bt Peter Creed 12-10, 11-7, 11-6
Rudi Rohrmuller bt Alex Gough 11-8, 11-6, 11-5
Raphael Kandra bt Nic Birt 12-10, 11-5, 11-1
Jens Schoor lost to David Evans 8-11, 6-11, 3-11

[7] SCOTLAND bt [8] CZECH REPUBLIC 4/0
Alan Clyne bt Petr Martin 11-5, 11-8, 11-2
Lyall Paterson bt Roman Svec 12-10, 11-3, 11-3
Chris Small bt Jaroslav Cech 11-5, 11-9, 11-1
Jamie MacAulay bt Pavel Sladecek 11-8, 11-9, 12-10

Final positions: 5 Germany, 6 Scotland, 7 Wales, 8 Czech Republic

Women’s Final:
[3] ENGLAND bt [1] NETHERLANDS 3/0
Sarah Kippax bt Natalie Grinham 11-9, 11-9, 2-11, 5-11, 11-8
Jenny Duncalf bt Vanessa Atkinson 11-6, 11-2, 11-4
Dominique Lloyd-Walter bt Orla Noom 11-5, 11-6

3rd place play-off:
[4] IRELAND bt [2] FRANCE 2/0
Aisling Blake bt Isabelle Stoehr 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8
Madeline Perry bt Camille Serme 2-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9

5th-8th place play-offs:
[7] SCOTLAND bt [5] GERMANY 2/1
Frania Gillen-Buchert bt Pamela Hathway 11-9, 11-7, 3-11, 13-11
Senga Macfie lost to Sina Wall 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 3-11, 6-11
Lisa Aitken bt Franziska Hennes 11-5, 11-5, 11-6

[6] ITALY bt [8] SPAIN 2/1
Katiuscia Grossi bt Stela Carbonell 11-6, 11-6, 11-8
Manuela Manetta bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-2, 11-8, 11-7
Monica Menegozzi lost to Laura Alonso Perez 5-11, 2-11, 5-11

Final positions: 5 Scotland, 6 Germany, 7 Italy, 8 Spain

Division 2

Men’s Final:
[2] FINLAND bt [6] DENMARK 2/2 (Finland win 146-136 on points countback)
Olli Tuominen bt Kristian Frost Olesen 10-12, 11-2, 11-8, 11-6
Matias Tuomi lost to Morten W Sorensen 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 3-11
Hameed Ahmed lost to Michael Frilund 12-10, 6-11, 10-12, 5-11
Henrik Mustonen bt Rasmus Nielsen 6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4

3rd place play-off:
[1] SPAIN bt [4] SWEDEN 3/1
Borja Golan bt Rasmus Hult 11-7, 11-4, 11-6
Hugo Varela lost to Romain Tenant 0-11, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11
Ivan Flores bt Sebastian Victor 11-2, 12-10, 11-9
David Vidal bt Christian Drakenberg 11-3, 11-6, 13-11

5th-8th place play-offs:
[3] IRELAND bt [5] SWITZERLAND 3/1
Arthur Gaskin lost to Nicolas Mueller 4-11, 2-11, 3-11
Steve Richardson bt Patrick Miescher 13-11, 11-9, 11-7
Conor O’Hare bt Jonas Daehler 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6
Derek Ryan bt Reiko Peter 3-11, 11-0, 12-10, 11-6

[8] HUNGARY bt [7] BELGIUM 2/2 (Hungary win 8-7 on games countback)
Mark Krajcsak lost to Stefan Casteleyn 4-11, 2-11, 9-11
Andras Torok bt Jan van den Herrewegen 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6
Sandor Fulop bt Mark Burke 11-6, 11-3, 11-4
Peter Hoffman lost to Dave de Beule 13-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 8-11

Final positions: 5 Ireland, 6 Switzerland, 7 Hungary, 8 Belgium

9th – 11th place play-offs:
[9] SLOVAKIA bt [10] UKRAINE 4/0
Tomas Toth bt Ruslan Sorochinskiy 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5
Peter Kviecinsky bt Valeriy Fedoruk 11-5, 11-8, 11-8
Miroslav Celler bt Dmytro Scherbakov 4-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-8
Marek Manik bt Kostiantyn Rybalchenko 10-12, 11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4

Final Positions: 9 Slovakia, 10 Austria, 11 Ukraine

Women’s final qualifying rounds:
[3] AUSTRIA bt [4] BELGIUM 2/1
Sandra Polak lost to Yara Delagrange 9-11, 6-11, 5-11
Birgit Coufal bt Kim Hannes 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9
Sabrina Rehman bt Liesbeth Dries 5-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10

[6] CZECH REPUBLIC bt [5] FINLAND 2/1
Veronika Koukalova bt Elina Kononen 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10
Lucie Fialova bt Saara Valtola 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7
Klara Janoskova lost to Jutta Tuunanen 1-11, 6-11, 8-11

[1] SWITZERLAND bt [2] WALES 2/1
Sara Guebey lost to Tesni Evans 10-12, 10-12, 9-11
Gaby Schmohl bt Deon Saffery 11-6, 11-8, 11-7
Agapi Kazamia bt Fiona Murphy 11-8, 11-6, 11-7

Final Positions: 1 Switzerland, 2 Wales, 3 Czech Republic, 4 Austria, 5 Finland, 6 Belgium

England Clinch European Championship Double

England positively reclaimed its status as the top squash nation in Europe by winning both the men’s and women’sEuropean Team Championships titles in style at the Esport Center in Espoo, Finland.

For the 11th time in the last 12 years, England faced fierce rivals France in the men’s final of the European Squash Federation event which is in its 39th year.

European championship newcomer Jonathan Kemp started with a comfortable 11-7, 11-1, 11-3 victory over Julien Balbo, and world number one Nick Matthew did what was expected from him – beating Gregory Gaultier 11-6, 12-10, 11-5, despite having to struggle in the second game against the French number one’s aggressive game, deadly dropshots and some arguing over lets and strokes.

“It’s good to have some drama on the court, it makes it more exciting,” a smiling Matthew commented after the game. “I’m glad I won the last match of the season.”

It took just one further game to settle the title for England – Peter Barker beating Mathieu Castagnet 11-5 to leave the tie beyond France’s reach.

Though England’s victory is hardly surprising, it is still highly valued by the players. “People think that we just need to show up and win,” continued Matthew after England’s 19th men’s win in a row, and the 36th of all-time. “It’s not that easy. These are top players we’re playing against.

“We’re very proud of England’s record and tradition. When the women lost in last year’s semi-finals, we all felt the pain,” explained the 30-year-old from Sheffield.

But it was the women’s final that was the biggest celebration of the day for England: The men’s team, having already secured their championship, sat tightly in the audience cheering for the ladies.

After losing in last year’s semi-finals following 32 successive title successes, England’s women made no mistakes this time. The third seeds faced title-holders Netherlands, led by former world number one and world champion Vanessa Atkinsonand ex-world number two Natalie Grinham.

In the opening match, England’s Sarah Kippax took a two-game lead – only to see the experienced Grinham fight back to draw level. But the 27-year-old world No18 from Halifax gave one of the performances of her life to regain control of the match to score a notable 11-9, 11-9, 2-11, 5-11, 11-8 victory.

World number two Jenny Duncalf then clinched England’s victory by taking a comfortable 3/0 win over the experiencedVanessa Atkinson, who made her ETC debut in 1993 and has played every year since then.

“Last year’s disappointment motivated us and this was a great reward for the whole team,” said England coach David Campion.

The men’s bronze medal went to Italy, who beat Netherlands 3/1 to claim their first ETC medal and their highest ever finish after appearing in the championships in every year but one since 1978.

The women’s bronze medal went to Ireland after two hard-fought matches against FranceAisling Blake beat Isabelle Stoehr 3/1 before 12 times Irish champion Madeline Perry bravely fought back from 2/0 down to beat French No1Camille Serme 2-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.

Hosts Finland celebrated two victories in the tournament. The men’s team secured its place back in the elite Division 1 after finishing in pole position in Division 2 following a dramatic 146/136 points win over neighbours Denmark after a 2/2 finish in matches!

Then the ESF board also announced that Finland will host the 2012 European individual Championships.

“For Finnish squash, it is extremely important that we constantly have big tournaments and world-class players here,” saidLeo Hatjasalo, president of Finnish Squash Federation.

“Finland, as other squash nations, is committed to the goal of making squash an Olympic sport. Having top tournaments and top players in Finland helps us convince the Finnish sports community that this is a world-class sport and deserves to be part of the Olympic family.”

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