10:43 am
26 Sep 2018

Wales Celebrate Return To Top Four In European Championships In Malmo

1 May 2009

After slipping out of the top four last year for the first time in 12 years, Wales confirmed their place in the elite group after beating Spain 3/1 in the final men's qualifying round in the European Team Championships in Malmo.

A record-equalling 27 countries are competing in the 37th men's European Squash Federation championship being staged in the Swedish city for the first time - together with a record 21 nations in action in the 32nd staging of the women's ESF tournament.

Fifth seeds Wales boosted their chance of a semi-final place on the opening day in Pool A after drawing with fourth seeds Germany (but gaining an 8/7 games advantage) - then clinched their promotion after overcoming eighth seeds Spain. It was veteran campaigner Alex Gough - the now retired former world No5 competing in his 19th championships since 1990 - who confirmed the victory with an 11-0, 11-8, 11-5 win over Spaniard Diego Lopez De Mota Ibanez.

Wales finished in second place in the pool, behind England. The top seeds and defending champions recorded their third successive 4/0 win - convincingly beating Germany, with only Adrian Grant dropping a game in the world No11's 11-5, 10-12, 11-2, 11-8 defeat of Jens Schoor.

Second seeds France confidently claimed their place at the top of Pool B, also marking up their third successive maximum points win in a 4/0 victory over third seeds Netherlands - with Frenchman Thierry Lincou recovering from a game down to beat fellow top string Piedro Schweertman 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8.

France, looking for their ninth final appearance in the past ten years, will take on Wales in the semis, while England face Netherlands.

Hosts Sweden, the 12th seeds, delighted a packed crowd at the end of the day with a dramatic 3/1 win over 13th seeds Italy to clinch pole position in Pool F. Stalwart Swede Christian Drakenberg - the country's reigning national champion, at the age of 33 - led the attack with a brave 5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9 win over Italian number one Jose Facchini in 77 minutes, with team-mates Carl-Johan Lofvenborg and Gustav Detter also victorious. Italy gained a consolation point when Andrea Capella beat Rasmus Hult in four games.

The top four nations will contest the women's semi-finals - with title-holders England and second seeds Netherlands confirming their anticipated places at the top of Pools A and B, respectively, with 3/0 wins. England were made to work for their victory over fourth seeds Ireland - the only other team to have competed in all previous 31 championships. WISPA Tour rivals Alison Waters and Madeline Perry battled for 43 minutes before Waters beat the Irish number one 13-11, 16-14, 7-11, 11-4.

Netherlands, again led by the debuting former Australian Natalie Grinham, maintained a clean sheet in their 3/0 win over France, the third seeds.

There were few surprises in the remaining battles for women's play-off places - but perhaps the most notable result was the final tie in Pool F where Poland, the only nation competing in the championships for the first time, beat Luxembourg 2/1. It is Luxembourg's seventh appearance in the tournament - but their first for 20 years!

Men's final qualifying rounds - Pool A:
[1] ENGLAND bt [4] GERMANY 4-0
Nick Matthew bt Simon Rosner 11-7, 11-8, 11-4
Daryl Selby bt Moritz Dahmen 11-8, 11-1, 11-3
Adrian Grant bt Jens Schoor 11-5, 10-12, 11-2, 11-8
Alister Walker bt Andre Haschker 11-4, 11-8, 11-4

[5] WALES bt [8] SPAIN 3-1
David Evans lost to Borja Golan 4-11, 8-11, 3-11 (22m)
Peter Creed bt Eduardo Gonzales De Chaves 13-11, 11-2, 11-2
Rob Sutherland bt David Vidal 8-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6
Alex Gough bt Diego Lopez De Mota Ibanez 11-0, 11-8, 11-5
Final positions: 1 England, 2 Wales, 3 Germany, 4 Spain

Pool B:
[2] FRANCE bt [3] NETHERLANDS 4-0
Thierry Lincou bt Piedro Schweertman 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (30m)
Yann Perrin bt Bart Ravelli 11-7, 11-3, 11-6
Renan Lavigne bt Sebastian Weenink 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (43m)
Julien Balbo bt Rene Mijs 11-7, 11-4, 11-7

[7] SCOTLAND bt [6] SWITZERLAND 3-1
Alan Clyne bt Nicolas Mueller 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 (28m)
Lyall Paterson lost to Kevin Villiger 13-15, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 8-11 (43m)
Stuart Crawford bt Marcel Straub 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (30m)
Harry Leitch bt Andre Holderegger 11-8, 7-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-5 (52m)
Final positions: 1 France, 2 Netherlands, 3 Scotland, 4 Switzerland

Pool C:
[9] IRELAND bt [16] HUNGARY 3-1
Liam Kenny lost to Mark Krajcsak 5-11, 11-4, 8-11, 3-11 (53m)
Arthur Gaskin bt Daniel Varga 8-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 (39m)
John Rooney bt Sandor Fulop 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (25m)
Derek Ryan bt Marton Szaboky 11-3, 11-4, 11-9 (32m)

[17] CZECH REPUBLIC bt [24] GIBRALTAR 4-0
Lukas Jelinek bt Anthony Brindle 2-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 (29m)
Roman Svec bt Nicholas de Haro 11-0, 11-2, 11-6 (17m)
Petr Martin bt Stephen Shacaluga 11-4, 11-5, 11-3
Ondrej Ertl bt Christian Navas 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (20m)
Final positions: 1 Ireland, 2 Czech Republic, 3 Hungary, 4 Gibraltar, 5 Poland

Pool D:
[10] FINLAND bt [15] AUSTRIA 4-0
Olli Tuominen bt Aqeel Rehman 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (28m)
Heikki Kononen bt Christian Coufal 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)
Henrik Mustonen bt Stefan Brauneis 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-2 (30m)
Matias Tuomi bt Lukas Gnauer 11-2, 11-1, 11-9 (22m)

[18] LUXEMBOURG bt [23] RUSSIA 3-1
Nathan Sneyd lost to Alexei Severinov 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 6-11, 5-11
Stephane Ayache bt Anton Shurenko 11-5, 11-4, 11-2
Sanjay Raval bt Valery Litvinko 13-11, 11-5, 11-6
Daniel Hutchines bt George Manuchin 11-1, 11-2, 11-1
Final positions: 1 Finland, 2 Austria, 3 Luxembourg, 4 Norway, 5 Russia

Pool E:
[11] DENMARK bt [14] BELGIUM 4-0
Rasmus Nielsen bt Wim van Asten 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (21m)
Danny Knudsen bt Mats Raemen 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 (40m)
Kristian Frost Olesen bt Sam van Brusselen 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 (34m)
Michael Frilund bt Gregory Lecerf 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (29m)

[19] ISRAEL bt [22] LATVIA 4-0
Ido Avron bt Alexander Pavulans 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (24m)
Nir Zisman bt Gunars Prizevoits 11-2, 11-9, 11-5 (22m)
Nir Arkin bt Kaspars Purgailis 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (32m)
Nadav Wilensky bt Margers Zeitmanis 11-2, 11-1, 11-6 (15m)
Final positions: 1 Denmark, 2 Belgium, 3 Israel, 4 Latvia, 5 Greece

Pool F:
[12] SWEDEN bt [13] ITALY 3-1
Christian Drakenberg bt Jose Facchini 5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9 (77m)
Carl-Johan Lofvenborg bt Mirko Pareccini 12-10, 6-11, 14-12, 4-11, 11-9 (57m)
Rasmus Hult lost to Andrea Capella 11-6, 9-11, 10-12, 4-11 (38m)
Gustav Detter bt Andrea Torricini 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 (59m)

[20] SLOVENIA bt [21] UKRAINE 4-0
Klemen Gutman bt Rusian Sorochynskvi 11-2, 11-4, 11-3 (24m)
Rozle Langus bt Artem Shandybin 11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (62m)
Martin Mosnik bt Dmytro Shcherbakov 2-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (44m)
Miha Kavas bt Kostyantyn Rybalchenko 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (21m)
Final positions: 1 Sweden, 2 Italy, 3 Slovenia, 4 Ukraine

Women's final qualifying rounds - Pool A:
[1] ENGLAND bt [4] IRELAND 3-0
Tania Bailey bt Tanya Owens 11-4, 11-5, 11-1 (21m)
Alison Waters bt Madeline Perry 13-11, 16-14, 7-11, 11-4 (43m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro bt Aisling Blake 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 (32m)

[5] GERMANY bt [8] BELGIUM 2-1
Simone Korell bt Sonja Schrijvers 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (40m)
Pamela Hathway lost to Kim Hannes 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 8-11 (45m)
Sina Wall bt Yara Delagrange 11-5, 11-6, 11-2 (17m)
Final positions: 1 England, 2 Ireland, 3 Germany, 4 Belgium

Pool B:
[6] DENMARK bt [7] WALES 3-0
Julie Dorn-Jensen bt Beth Winstanley 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (21m)
Line Hansen bt Stacey Preece 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (22m)
Ellen Petersen bt Natalie Pritchard 11-5, 12-10, 11-5 (23m)

[2] NETHERLANDS bt [3] FRANCE 3-0
Annelize Naude bt Maud Duplomb 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (23m)
Natalie Grinham bt Isabelle Stoehr 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (27m)
Vanessa Atkinson bt Camille Serme 11-9, 12-10, 11-6
Final positions: 1 Netherlands, 2 France, 3 Denmark, 4 Wales

Pool C:
[9] ITALY bt [16] SWEDEN 3-0
Chiara Ferrari bt Jenny Akervall 11-7, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6
Manuela Manetta bt Anna-Carin Forstadius 12-10, 11-7, 11-6
Sonia Pasteris bt Anna Detter 11-6, 11-2, 11-5
Final positions: 1 Italy, 2 Sweden, 3 Russia

Pool D:
[10] SPAIN bt [15] FINLAND 3-0
Margaux Moros-Pitarch bt Pia Ojala 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (14m)
Elisabet Sado Garriga bt Elina Kononen 11-4, 11-7, 12-10 (20m)
Xisela Aranda Nunez bt Saara Valtola 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (29m)
Final positions: 1 Spain, 2 Finland, 3 Greece

Pool E:
[11] SWITZERLAND bt [14] CZECH REPUBLIC 2-1
Jasmin Ballman bt Klara Janoskova 13-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4 (42m)
Gaby Schmohl bt Olga Ertlova 5-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-8 (30m)
Sara Guebey lost to Hana Vagnerova 4-11, 11-2, 9-11, 8-11 (30m)
Final positions: 1 Switzerland, 2 Czech Republic, 3 Hungary

Pool F:
[12] SCOTLAND bt [13] AUSTRIA 2-1
Lisa Aitken bt Sabrina Rehman 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (14m)
Frania Gillen-Buchert bt Birgit Coufal 12-10, 11-4, 11-5 (21m)
Alexandra Clark lost to Pamela Pancis 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 10-12 (33m)

[21] POLAND bt [20] LUXEMBOURG 2-1
Anna Sikorska bt Francoise Donven 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10
Dominika Witkowska lost to Sandra Denis 6-11, 12-10, 2-11, 1-11
Anna Jurkun bt Claudia Mich 11-3, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8
Final positions: 1 Scotland, 2 Austria, 3 Poland, 4 Luxembourg