England Delight In European Double

3 May 09

England successfully retained their titles in the European Team Championships in Malmo - beating second seeds France in the men's final for the ninth time in the last ten years, and overcoming the second-seeded Netherlands team for the seventh successive year in the women's final.

A record-equalling 27 countries were 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.

England number four Alister Walker - making his international debut in the championships - put England ahead in their 17th consecutive appearance in the men's final by beating Julien Balbo 11-7, 11-7, 14-12. In the eagerly-anticipated top string clash between the two highest-ranked players in the event, world No6 Nick Matthew faced Gregory Gaultier, the in-form Frenchman who 24 hours earlier celebrated a rise to No2 in the world rankings.

But, clearly inspired by the England shirt on his back, the 28-year-old from Sheffield defeated Gaultier 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5 to give the defending champions a 2/0 lead - and requiring France to win the next two matches by 3/0 margins to ensure victory.

And a long-awaited maiden title win by the second favourites looked on the cards when veteran French campaigner Thierry Lincou, a former world champion and world number one, reduced the deficit by beating England's second string Peter Barker 15-13, 11-6, 11-7.

But, in the tense fourth match that followed, London left-hander Adrian Grant clinched the first game against Frenchman Renan Lavigne 13-11, then secured the second 12-10 to ensure England's indisputable victory.

England also took the lead after the first match in the women's final when Londoner Alison Waters survived a tough three-game battle with Dutch stalwart Vanessa Atkinson to beat the former world champion 12-10, 14-12, 11-7 in 31 minutes.

The match that followed saw England number Jenny Duncalf face Netherlands newcomer Natalie Grinham, the former Australian making her Dutch debut at the championships. World No5 Duncalf, ranked a place below her opponent, bravely stemmed a fight back by Grinham before recording a notable 11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8 victory in 52 minutes which clinched the title for England - thereby extending to 32 years their unbeaten European championship run!

Laura Lengthorn-Massaro made it a maximum points win when she beat Annelize Naude 12-10, 11-2 in the best-of-three dead rubber that followed.

In the men's play-off ties, Wales beat Netherlands after a games countback to take third place - their best finish since 2006.

France defeated Ireland 2/1 in the women's third place play-off to repeat their success of last year - while, perhaps the best outcome in the competition was the eighth place finish celebrated by Italy, the nation's first ever finish in the top eight in 26 appearances since 1982.

Men's Final:
[1] ENGLAND bt [2] FRANCE 3-1
Alister Walker bt Julien Balbo 11-7, 11-7, 14-12
Nick Matthew bt Gregory Gaultier 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5
Peter Barker lost to Thierry Lincou 13-15, 6-11, 7-11
Adrian Grant bt Renan Lavigne 13-11, 12-10 ret.

3rd place play-off:
[5] WALES bt [3] NETHERLANDS 2-2 (Wales win 10-7 on games countback)
Rob Sutherland bt Dylan Bennett 8-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-8 (56m)
Jethro Binns bt Sebastian Weenink 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (34m)
Alex Gough lost to Piedro Schweertman 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11, 4-11 (56m)
Peter Creed lost to Rene Mijs 11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 6-11, 9-11 (76m)

5th place play-off:
[4] GERMANY bt [7] SCOTLAND 4-0
Simon Rosner bt Alan Clyne 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7 (52m)
Stefan Leifels bt Chris Small 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3 (35m)
Jens Schoor bt Stuart Crawford 11-9, 4-11, 14-12 (43m)
Andre Haschker bt Harry Leitch 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 11-1 (54m)

7th place play-off:
[9] IRELAND bt [10] FINLAND 2-2 (Ireland win 165-142 on points countback)
Liam Kenny lost to Olli Tuominen 10-12, 9-11, 9-11
Derek Ryan bt Matias Tuomi 5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3
John Rooney lost to Henrik Mustonen 10-12, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8, 12-14
Arthur Gaskin bt Heikki Kononen 11-13, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5

9th place play-off:
[8] SPAIN bt [11] DENMARK 2-2 (Spain win 8-6 on games countback)
Borja Golan bt Rasmus Nielsen 11-2, 11-4, 11-4
David Vidal lost to Michael Frilund 9-11, 13-11, 7-11, 7-11
Alejandro Garbi Caro lost to Kristian Frost Olesen 6-11, 11-3, 5-11, 7-11
Victor Montserrat bt Kim Poulsen 14-12, 11-1, 11-8

11th place play-off:
[12] SWEDEN bt [6] SWITZERLAND 3-1
Christian Drakenberg bt Nicolas Mueller 11-1, 11-9, 12-10
Gustav Detter lost to Reiko Peter 11-2, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11
Rasmus Hult bt Marcel Straub 11-13, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 (55m)
Carl-Johan Lofvenborg bt Andre Holderegger 6-11, 11-9, 11-2

13th place play-off:
[13] ITALY bt [16] HUNGARY 3-1
Jose Facchini lost to Mark Krajcsak 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 10-12, 5-11
Andrea Torricini bt Marton Szaboky 11-4, 11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 11-3
Andrea Capella bt Sandor Fulop 11-2, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 (45m)
Mirko Pareccini bt Daniel Varga 11-3, 11-3, 3-11, 11-9

15th place play-off:
[17] CZECH REPUBLIC bt [14] BELGIUM 4-0
Lukas Jelinek bt Wim van Asten 7-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-8
Jaroslav Cech bt Mats Raemen 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7
Petr Martin bt Sam van Brusselen 11-4, 8-11, 11-7
Ondrej Ertl bt Jonas Snoeck 11-3, 11-8, 11-6

17th place play-off:
[19] ISRAEL bt [15] AUSTRIA 3-1
Ido Avron lost to Aqeel Rehman 11-7, 17-19, 7-11, 6-11 (47m)
Nadav Wilensky bt Stefan Brauneis 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 11-2 (41m)
Nir Arkin bt Jakob Dirnberger 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (32m)
Nir Zisman bt Lukas Gnauer 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)

19th place play-off:
[20] SLOVENIA bt [18] LUXEMBOURG 3-1
Klemen Gutman bt Nathan Sneyd 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (28m)
Miha Kavas lost to Daniel Hutchines 5-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 9-11 (40m)
Martin Mosnik bt Sanjay Raval 9-11, 11-3, 15-13, 11-0 (37m)
Rozle Langus bt Stephane Ayache 11-9, 5-11, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10 (60m)

21st place play-off:
[26] NORWAY bt [21] UKRAINE 4-0
Kristian Solhave bt Rusian Sorochynskvi 4-11, 11-8, 11-1, 11-8
Hans-Olav Torgersen bt Kostyantyn Rybalchenko 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8
Kim Are Killingberg bt Dmytro Shcherbakov 11-8, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6
Ronny Aasbo bt Artem Shandybin 12-10, 11-7, 11-6

23rd place play-off:
[27] GREECE bt [24] GIBRALTAR 3-1
Fabian Kalaitzis bt Anthony Brindle 11-6, 7-11, 11-1, 11-2 (23m)
Konstantinos Kargiotis bt Nicholas de Haro 11-8, 11-5, 14-12 (24m)
Petros Tzamaloukas bt Stephen Shacaluga 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (19m)
Andreas Hiotakis lost to Mark Tewkesbury 11-9, 5-11, 6-11 (25m)

25th - 28th place play-offs:
[25] POLAND bt [23] RUSSIA 3-1
Wojciech Nowisz lost to Alexei Severinov 6-11, 4-11, 2-11 (27m)
Kamil Dominiak bt George Manuchin 11-3, 11-2, 11-3 (19m)
Marcin Kozik bt Valery Litvinko 11-5, 11-3, 11-8
Maciek Maciantowicz bt Anton Shurenko 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 (18m)
Final positions: 25th [22] LATVIA. 26th [25] POLAND; 27th [23] RUSSIA

Women's Final:
[1] ENGLAND bt [2] NETHERLANDS 3-0
Alison Waters bt Vanessa Atkinson 12-10, 14-12, 11-7 (31m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Natalie Grinham 11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8 (52m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro bt Annelize Naude 12-10, 11-2

3rd place play-off:
[3] FRANCE bt [4] IRELAND 2-1
Camille Serme lost to Aisling Blake 4-11, 6-11, 13-15 (25m)
Isabelle Stoehr bt Madeline Perry 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 3-11, 11-8
Maud Duplomb bt Tanya Owens 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (17m)

5th place play-off:
[5] GERMANY bt [6] DENMARK 2-1
Pamela Hathway bt Ellen Petersen 11-4, 13-11, 12-10 (52m)
Kathrin Rohrmueller lost to Line Hansen 7-11, 10-12, 4-11 (22m)
Sina Wall bt Julie Dorn-Jensen 7-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-8 (41m)

7th place play-off:
[11] SWITZERLAND bt [9] ITALY 2-1
Sara Guebey lost to Sonia Pasteris 3-11, 8-11, 9-11 (35m)
Gaby Schmohl bt Manuela Manetta 13-11, 13-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6 (63m)
Jasmin Ballman bt Chiara Ferrari 6-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 (50m)

9th place play-off:
[12] SCOTLAND bt [10] SPAIN 2-1
Claire Kidd lost to Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 4-11 (31m)
Frania Gillen-Buchert bt Elisabet Sado Garriga 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (22m)
Lisa Aitken bt Margaux Moros-Pitarch 14-16, 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10 (39m)

11th place play-off:
[7] WALES bt [8] BELGIUM 3-0
Stacey Preece bt Annabel Romedenne 11-7, 11-6, 11-0 (17m)
Deon Saffery bt Kim Hannes 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (23m)
Natalie Pritchard bt Yara Delagrange 11-5, 11-4 (11m)

13th place play-off:
[13] AUSTRIA bt [14] CZECH REPUBLIC 2-1
Pamela Pancis bt Anna Klimondova 11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (36m)
Birgit Coufal bt Olga Ertlova 10-12, 11-9, 11-3, 11-8 (36m)
Sabrina Rehman lost to Klara Janoskova 4-11, 2-11 (9m)

15th place play-off:
[15] FINLAND bt [16] SWEDEN 2-1
Saara Valtola lost to Anna Detter 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 4-11 (38m)
Elina Kononen bt Anna-Carin Forstadius 11-7, 11-2, 5-11, 6-11, 11-3 (47m)
Pia Ojala bt Lovisa Forstadius 11-4, 11-4, 11-0 (14m)

17th place play-off:
[19] HUNGARY bt [21] POLAND 2-1
Edina Szombati bt Anna Jurkun 10-12, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1 (33m)
Helga Kecse-Nagy bt Dominika Witkowska 11-4, 5-11, 11-3, 11-7 (28m)
Krisztina Szekely lost to Anna Sikorska 3-11, 11-1, 10-12 (15m)

19th - 21st place play-offs:
[18] GREECE bt [17] RUSSIA 3-0
Seirena Kazamia bt Ekaterina Marusan 11-0, 11-1, 11-2 (19m)
Eliza Kargioti bt Olga Petrukhina 11-2, 11-3, 11-6 (16m)
Nikoleta Pozidi bt Natalia Zapevalova 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (22m)
Final positions: 19th [20] LUXEMBOURG; 20th [18] GREECE; 21st [17] RUSSIA