English Junior Pride Restored
10 Apr 2007
Pride in English junior squash was restored in some style in Belgium at the weekend when England not only reclaimed the European Junior U19 Team Championship title in Brussels, but were also represented in both of the earlier men's and women's individual championship finals.
The only team to reach the final day without conceding a single match, favourites England beat No2 seeds France 2/1 to reclaim the team title they lost to Germany last year. Furthermore, Joe Lee, from Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, and Victoria Lust, from Maulden in Bedfordshire - both only 17 - exceeded their seedings to reach the men's and women's finals, respectively.
"We are delighted to regain the European team title, something we have been working towards since we lost the final to Germany last year," said Team Coach David Campion.
"It was a tense final, we knew the French would be very competitive but our players were very resilient and fully deserved their success. In fact all the players involved in the final from both teams are eligible to play in next year's Individual and Team Championships.
"In the individual tournament we had three out four English boys in the semi finals - disappointingly, Joe Lee was unable convert a match ball at 8-7 in the fifth game in the final against No1 seed Nicolas Mueller. Victoria Lust reached the final of the girls' event where she was overpowered by the No1 seed and defending champion Camille Serme.
"We are happy to be back at the forefront of European Squash. Other countries are developing and getting stronger - which can only be healthy for the game!" added Campion.
In the team final, Lee faced France's Gregoire Marche in the opening rubber. Marche had lost to Lee in the individual quarter-finals, in straight games - but the Frenchman fully tested Lee in the team opener, fighting back from 0/2 down to force a fifth game decider.
Lee, however, stuck to his task, and after 89 minutes secured a crucial 10-8, 9-7, 3-9, 6-9, 9-1 win which put England ahead.
In the second match, France's 17-year-old Camille Serme displayed the talents which took her to a second successive individual women's title only days before when she beat Victoria Lust 9-1, 9-8, 9-3 in 36 minutes to level the tie.
There were wide smiles in the England camp when Adrian Waller, the British Junior champion from Enfield made amends for missing out on an appearance in the men's individual final in the most decisive manner when he beat Frenchman Lucas Vauzelle 9-4, 9-1, 9-3 in 36 minutes to clinch the title for England.
Team-mates Oliver Pett, from Billingshurst in Sussex; Tom Pashley, from Ringmer in Sussex; and Victoria Bell, from Carlisle in Cumbria, also played crucial earlier roles in taking England to the team final.
The success in Belgium means that England now holds - simultaneously, for the first time - not only the European Junior U19 Team Championship crown, but also the senior men's and women's European Team Championships' titles, as well as the men's and women's World Team Championships' trophies!