England Retain European Junior Crown In Malmo

28 Mar 05

England maintained their tight grip on the European Junior U19 Team Championships title by defeating Germany in the final in Malmo, Sweden, to claim the trophy for the 21st successive year since 1984.

After beating seventh seeds Netherlands in the quarter-finals, then hosts Sweden in the semi-finals - both by 3/0 margins - the top-seeded team led by European Junior Individual champion Chris Simpson swept to a maximum points 3/0 victory over second seeds Germany at the Bellevuestadion.

It was the seventh final meeting between the two teams - and the seventh English triumph. The battle opened with a clash between the teams' number ones - a repeat of the earlier individual final between Simpson, the 17-year-old England captain, and Germany's Simon Rosner.

Rosner put up a brave fight - particularly after surviving a two-hour marathon semi-final against the French No1 Mathieu Castagnet less than 24 hours earlier! A focussed Simpson, however, beat Rosner 9-4 9-3 9-6 to put England into the lead.

England No2 James Wright, who was rested for the semi-finals, clinched the title for the favourites with a comprehensive 9-4 9-1 9-6 dismissal of Jens Schoor, before Jenna Gates, runner-up in the women's individual competition, made sure of a clean sheet by beating Germany's Pamela Hathway 9-0 9-3 - winning the first game in a single hand!

"We're incredibly happy," said England team manager Mike Harris, whose squad came through the tournament without dropping a single match.

"The players were completely relaxed, but utterly focussed, throughout this campaign - and it's been a long haul, some ten days or so - so they are now looking forward to celebrating, and deservedly so," added Harris.

"Three of the squad - James Wright, Tom Richards and Jenna Gates - have now played for the last time as juniors, so this was their moment of glory."

France achieved their seeding by beating hosts Sweden, the fifth seeds, 2/1 in the play-off for third place.

Final:
[1] ENGLAND bt [2] GERMANY 3-0 (Chris Simpson bt Simon Rosner 9-4, 9-3, 9-6; James Wright bt Jens Schoor 9-4, 9-1, 9-6; Jenna Gates bt Pamela Hathway 9-0, 9-3)
3rd place play-off:
[3] FRANCE bt [5] SWEDEN 2-1 (Mathieu Castagnet bt Gustav Detter 9-6, 9-6, 9-4; Thibault Prandi lost to Sebastian Victor 6-9, 2-9, 10-8, 6-9; Celia Allamargot bt Anna Detter 9-2, 9-6, 9-5)
5th place play-off:
[7] NETHERLANDS bt [4] BELGIUM 2-1 (Sebastiaan Weenink bt Rik Smet 9-1, 9-3, 9-4; Bastiaan Meulenbelt bt Giel Kreemers 9-6, 9-2, 9-7; Esther Jongerden lost to Charlie de Rycke 9-6, 5-9, 5-9)
7th place play-off:
[9] SCOTLAND bt [6] SWITZERLAND 3-0 (Jamie Macaulay bt Nicolas Muller 9-4, 9-3, 3-9, 9-3; Graham Melvin bt Kevin Brechbuhl 9-5, 9-0, 7-9, 8-10, 10-9; Alexandra Clark bt Jasmin Ballmann 9-1, 9-0)
9th place play-off:
[10] WALES bt [11] DENMARK 2-1 (Peter Creed bt Kristian Gross Jeppesen 9-1, 1-9, 8-10, 9-1, 9-3; Mark Carnall lost to Kristian Frost 6-9, 6-9, 3-9; Gemma Davies bt Julie Nilsson 9-1, 9-0, 9-1)
11th place play-off:
[8] CZECH REPUBLIC bt [12] SPAIN 3-0 (Ondrej Ertl bt Pedro Espeleta 9-1, 9-3, 9-1; Jaroslav Cech bt Diego Lopez de Mota 9-4, 4-9, 9-1, 8-9, 9-1; Lucie Fialova bt Chantal Moros-Pitarch 9-5, 9-5, 10-8)