Daily reports and updates from the ECC Squash
Sat 6th, Day FOUR, finals day
MULHOUSE and WORMS take the titles
was the fourth and final day in Nottingham, and the European
Club Champions 2014 were crowned today.
Hot favourites Mulhouse duly claimed the women's title
with a 3-0 win over second seeded Newlands.
Lauren Briggs and Laura Massaro did the business for the French
outfit, although Kirsty West and Vicky Bell gave them more than
a little to think about, particularly in the second games.
in a terrific all-German men's final top seeds B&W Worms
took a two-nil lead thanks to Carsten Schoor and Nick Matthew,
both coming from a game down against Tim Garner - who had a game
ball for a two-nil lead - and Chris Simpson to win 3-1.
Advantage Worms, who needed three more games to become
Tuominen pulled one back for Paderborn, also coming from
one down to beat Greg Marche 3-1 in a fast-paced, high-quality,
and very entertaining match with Marche frequently going
in the final match Worms' Tim Weber needed two more games while
Paderborn's Raphael Kandra needed a 3-0 win, or a 3-1 to take it
to points countback.
Weber made a great start, going 8-0 up, and although Kandra
started to close the gap, Weber took it 11-6.
Kandra was on top in the second, levelling it 11-6 and both
sides were getting their calculators ready (Kandra actually
needed to win the last two games better than 11-7, 11-7).
The calculators weren't
needed though, as Weber took an early lead in the third, and
held on to it amid some ferocious rallies and determined
retrieving by both players, to give Worms an unassailable lead
and the title of European Club Champions for the third year in a
 Worms 2-1  Paderborn
Nick Matthew 3-1
Chris Simpson 6-11, 11-5,
11-2, 11-6 (49m)
Gregoire Marche 1-3 Olli Tuominen 11-9, 10-12,
Tim Weber 2-1 Raphael Kandra
11-6, 6-11, 11-7 worms win
Carsten Schoor 3-1 Tim Garner
2-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 (50m)
Mulhouse 2+1 Colets 0
always the same story, we play always Paderborn on the last day,
and it always comes down to the that game of the last match!
Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but it’s always to the last
I’m very proud of my boys, I feel the Germans have done their
job, and Nick of course as well, especially with the pressure
they had on their shoulders.
victory, we dedicate it to our coach, Marcus Berrett, who as you
know couldn’t be with us today. This time, we came without our
number 3 player and no coach.
And I was saying at the start of the tournament, it’s a triple…
 Mulhouse 3-0  Newlands
Laura Massaro 3-0 Vicky Bell
11-4, 12-10, 11-7 (22m)
Lauren Briggs 3-0 Kirsty West
11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (22m)
Laura Pomportes 3-0 Taylor Flavell
11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (17m)
Helsinki 4-0 Hafrsfjord
Fitzwilliam 3-1 Kahuna
Nottingham 4-0 Vaduz
Middlegate 0-4 Newlands
Pontefract 3-0 Espoo
Mulhouse 3-0 Newlands
Worms 2-1 Paderborn
Full match scores
TO THE LAST DROP OF SWEAT WAS SPENT
have to admit I did keep an eye on the 3/4 play-off on the other
side of the door during the first match between Tim, 44, and
Cartsen, 25. Tim did a good job I know, as he always does, took
the first, then fought back to nearly get the 2nd, and loses
extremely honourably against a player 20 years younger than him!
By the time I finished chatting with Tim, Nick had lost the
first game against a full of confidence Chris. Chris had a
stunning CWG, flag bearing for Guernsey, meeting and chatting
with Prince Williams, and a stunning game against Nick that he
consider to be one of his best matches ever.
Plus the day before, he beat Adrian Grant 3/1. Needless to say
the boy was hungry today. And Nick was reminded that like in
Showbusiness, you are only as good as your next match when he
lost the first game 11/6.
when I finally settled in this final, on the left wall, as
usual. And I was able to watch a lovely string of matches…
After losing the first game – and not enjoying it one bit, Nick
was still under pressure up to the middle of the game, 3/3, 6/5.
Those two had a huge rally that Nick concluded as so often with
a backhand drop shot, 7/5. A harsh no let (in my opinion) made
it 8/5. That was the turning point. There is a bleeping big
difference between 6/7 and 8/5, isn’t there. Nick, feeling a bit
of a mental slow down, turned down the screw and within minutes,
he was back level 1/1, 11/5.
Chris was a bit overwhelmed with Nick’s power after that, down
5/0 9/1 in the 3rd, to lose it 11/2, and 8/2 in the 4th. All to
his credit, he fought with all his spirit and pride, to claw
back to 5/9. Nick was not under enough pressure to doubt, and
closed it down 11/6…
was much more enthusiastic that I was in the first game. It’s
always the case with the young players, like Chris, same in the
CWG with Alan Clyne, they really are so enthusiastic and pushing
themselves so much in the first game!
Funny you know, because I played well yesterday against Mathieu,
I was somehow hoping I’ll have pick up from where I left it. But
it doesn’t work like that does it! You’ve got to EARN the right
to play well. It just doesn’t happen…. You’ve got to manage that
intensity and then, your experience goes through. And that match
was a good reminder of that.
It’s like going in different gears. Chris has improved so much.
I used to have to play in a certain gear for let’s say 10m, and
then go in a different gear. But now, it’s a much longer time
before I can let the experience make the difference hopefully….
My aim, after I won the first game
and started to struggle in the 3rd, was to score a maximum of
After taking the first easily, I was down in the second, but
still managed to get a game ball, which could have made the
difference had I been 2/0.
He probably would have become edgy, but where you are playing
against somebody who is probably half you age, it’s not that
I was trying to really do my best because it was a tough choice
to decide if I would play or not, and it was decided it was me:
I didn’t want to let the team down, especially as it’s probably
the last time I play for Paderborn, as they are changing the
rules as from next year.
And I will go from being a 5 points player like I’ve been for
the past 7 years to a 10 points player. For a team who is trying
to win, there are better 10 points player than myself….
It was a nice challenge though, trying to find a way to beat a
player young and good!
Those low tins are nasty. The court is big enough at my age,
less alone when you put a low tin on it!!!!
I guess there was many factors that
carried me throughout the match: the team spirit was one of them
of course, but also, I wanted to play well.
Because I didn’t in Hong Kong, and I didn’t yesterday. I was
really poorly a few days ago, so I felt amazingly well
And if yesterday, Kempy wouldn’t let me settle, not allowing me
to find my length and my basic game, today, I felt I was
controlling the game better, and didn’t do too many unforced
Although when I got the lead, I kept getting him back into the
I hope we won’t need a 3/0 at the end, because I was up 8/3 in
the first, and I should have taken it really.
Oh well, that’s sport, there is nothing I can do about it.
OLLI OUT OF HIS SKIN
Amazing performance from both players, especially in view of
their performance the day before. Little Greg who had beaten
Thierry during the year 3/0 in an league match got beaten 3/0 by
a Guv in the zone, and Olli just didn’t have the power to match
Kempy in the 5th either.
So they both had something to prove. To their team. To
Little Greg’s lower back was troubling him since he arrived he
told us, there was absolutely nothing wrong with his movement
today. Flying regularly from one side of the court to the other,
sometimes twice in the same rally (he saved a game ball at 9/10
in the 2nd like that), he was moving fluidly, which must have
been a relief for him. You don’t want an injury at the start of
First game was weird and a half. Olli completely in control –
Greg was maybe a bit careful about his back, and the Fin was
hitting the ball as hard as ever. Olli goes shoot zoom to 7/2,
8/3 when Greg decides that this is not funny anymore, and comes
back to 9/9. With the momentum and two tins from Olli, he takes
the first game 11/9 against all odds.
excellent start for Olli in the 2nd, 3/1, but from that moment
on, it’s closed all the way, even if Olli manages to have a
minuscule cushion of 1 or 2 points. Game ball 10/8, a tin and
two plunges from the Acrobat, 10/10. But two drop shots later,
the crowd is delighted to see them level at 1/1. They want more
of those amazing fast mad bam squash!!!!
Third is still very close even if Olli again takes a good start,
4/1, but 5/5, 6/6. Olli takes the lead, 9/6, Little Greg claws
back, 8/9, but again, the Finish who seems to be running on
fumes finds the energy from nowhere and makes it 2/1, 11/9.
the 4th, Olli is always ahead, and quite comfy, 7/3, 9/5, 10/6.
At the precise moment, Nick, who was in the first row just in
front of me, with an ice machine to take care of his knee (no,
not ice CREAM, I wish) turns and quietly states “maybe I should
have won my match 3/0 after all”.
11/6. Game and match for Olli.
Worms camp spirit was down. Mike the manager, turns to me and
says, well, Tim’s ranking is 156. Kandra’s 59.
Ah I thought. This may be the year Paderborn takes it back….
Things looked pretty good for Norman’s boys…
TIM IN THE ZONE…
You have days like that. You are supposed to be the underdog.
And you are flying. Or you are supposed to be flying, and you
was completely petrified with the “enjeu” of the moment, the
responsibility he carried suddenly.
Yes, if he was to win – on paper he was supposed to – Paderborn
was champion. And it was just too much for the young man.
Tim Weber is an extremely gifted player. But an amateur one
really. I saw him play in Cairo back in November.
I was impressed with his skills and also by his job, he is a
part time carpenter, bless him. I say part time, because the
rest of the time, he is working with Mike, the Rowe sponsor, in
the Production department.
Not as fit as he would like to be – or that you have to be when
you are a full time player, Tim makes up for the lack of fitness
superb racquet skills, power and determination, plus an
excellent read of the game.
he simply overpowered his young opponent.
Using a few tricks to breathe out at each serve, like asking
three or four times what the score was, discussing with the ref,
taking a lot of time to serve, chatting with his opponent and
getting into his skin.
You can’t blame him. It worked….
And he went into Rafa’s skin, into Rafa’s head. Finding some
outrageous shots and moves – I doubt he’ll be walking for the
next few days – Tim played the match of his life. Come on, he
led 8/0, 9/1 in the first and too little too late, Rafa found
his game at the end, but still, 11/6 for Tim.
second is much better for the Paderborn boy, the mirror of the
first one, 9/2, 11/6!
But in the third, Tim was just in the zone, as he was in the
first game. Belief at 400%, legs of a young 16 years old, he
zoomed from 3/3 to 6/3, 8/4.
Again Rafa did his best, fought tooth and nail, but again, Tim
was in a different stratosphere: 11/7 on his first game/match
And it’s a hat trick for Worms. Or as Mike said it: “the
Rafa was so much more nervous than I was.
I just didn’t have anything to lose, no pressure of me. Just the
will to win. But no pressure. I just kept pushing myself, and
On the last point, as I was serving, I told him that I had
absolutely no air left and that I needed to take it on the first
game/match ball…. And I did!!!
what we came for….
There were some sensational matches today…
Olli unbelievable…. Chris, cracking game, and even the last
We always face things together, we win together, we lose
together, we stick together.
SOLID START FOR MULHOUSE
Briggs, now 35 but former WR18, played her role to
perfection in this opening leg of the Women’s final. Mulhouse
being the major favourite with the presence of Laura Massaro in
1, Lauren still had to make a good match to set up her team.
And that’s exactly what she did. A very solid first game, taking
her opponent on her weakness right away (backhand back corner),
she took the first game 11/3.
The second saw Kirsty change her tactic, hitting extremely hard,
stepping up the court, and taking the initiative. It worked
wonders, allowing here to get up 5/1.
The Mulhouse lady reassessed, found her length again, and
hammered that backhand corner (Kirsty is lefthanded) again and
again, forcing her opponent to find the tin numerous times.
Lauren takes the second 11/7.
Third was very disputed, as the Scot representative never gave
up. 3/3, 4/4, 6/7. Despite a few errors, Kirsty was still in the
match. But some lovely shots at the front, wrong footing Kirsty,
and it’s 11/6 in the 3rd for a clean 3/0 victory.
was aware her forehand was stronger than her backhand, so I
tried to expose her backhand. It worked for the majority of the
times, although when you play in the same spot all the times,
the player gets used to it!
She is a nice player, very clean and fair, very honest, I truly
I’m now based in London, I coach at Dolphin Square, in Pimlico.
I also train and play for Connaught Club in North East London.
And I’m involved in Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. I work in Athlete
Mentoring, and it’s such a rewarding experience.
feedback you get from those young adults is just amazing. You
try and feed them with self belief and positive thinking. That’s
definitely something I want to keep up doing.
I know where I want to fit, but it’s all a question of settling
into it. I still feel I’m in a transitional period. When you’ve
been a professional squash player, it’s hard to settle
somewhere. But you know, I just want to enjoy life and be happy.
As they say, “Live, Love, Laugh’….
ECSTATIC MULHOUSE PRESIDENT
He probably was a bit nervous in the second game of the World
Champion Laura Massaro when she found herself down 9/2 against
Vicky Bell, but had the most ecstatic of smiles as she closed it
down in 22m 3-0….
For those of you who don’t know Thierry Jung, he is the
definition of the squash fan “par excellence”. He was the heart
behind the Mulhouse World Team Event in 2013, and for the little
anecdote, gave his own personal money for having SquashSite to
cover the event (when Thierry Lincou heard about it, he shared
the expenses with him… Now you know it all).
For the past 10 years, he’s been working his racquets off to get
Mulhouse on the map, getting from 2nd French Division Champs to
numerous French Titles. And now, that much anticipated European
title is a consecration. It’s been exactly 10 years now we came
up to the National League in France with the Girls. We had
reached the final twice, but always fell at the last hurdle.
This is our first ever European title, and an great honour for
Mulhouse City, as never a Team Sport had managed to bring back
an European Title.
We are aware we had a gem of a group this year, and it’s a bit
of a wink to Isabelle Stoehr, our Captain, retired from WSA, now
a physio, that told me first time she arrived in Mulhouse that
she would bring me the European Title. That’s done. Thanks Isa.
We wouldn’t be here without the support of Mulhouse City, the
Alsace Region, the Conseil General, and of course, Mulhouse
Squash Club and its owner Christophe Rohmer (whose son actually
won his two matches in the Pools!). Also, a big thank you to
Philippe Cuntzmann, from Hypermarkets Leclerc, who has been
believed in us from the start, and allowed the Team to exist.
And thanks to all our supporters who made the journey here, and
all those who stay at home, the are more and more to follow us
and support us all year long.
Merci to all.
Women's 3rd/4th: Pontefract 3 Espoo 0
Scott must have
been carrying an injury, in his back or something. Because if
the first game was good and intense, I could feel after that he
was not moving as freely as he wanted to. That’s the problem
when you reach a certain age. He is 39, I’m 42… You start to
feel the long matches the following days much more when you
reach your forties. I’m truly lucky that I finish the week
tired, but with no injury anywhere…
I’ve been playing for two seasons now for Mulhouse, but I never
had the chance to play at home yet. I’m told the place is great
and that the food is really good! But I’m truly happy we’ve made
the bronze this year, it’s such a club of passionate people,
Thierry, Bernard the physio, all the supporters. Plus, it’s nice
to be associated with players like Castagnet and Lincou…
I’m happy with my
week really, although my wrist is still sore, I’ve been able to
perform pretty well. I missed a bit on my squash specific
preparation, and I couldn’t work on the racquet skills, one of
my weaknesses and something I need to keep working at more than
other players. So this week was really good to put me back in
Very happy with a 3/0 victory against Adrian. It’s not THAT hard
to take a 2/0 lead from Adrian. It’s much more difficult to win
the match, he is such a consistent player, very strong mentally,
he doesn’t let go of anything! I could feel he was a bit tired,
and that turned into my advantage in the 3rd. I also know he
doesn’t enjoy when I go and pick up every ball under the sun and
that what I really made a point of doing to day. I think I
managed to frustrate him in the end.
As team captain, I would have been extremely disappointed if we
hadn’t got back home with a bronze. People don’t realise the
support that Thierry and his team in Mulhouse support not only
the team, but also help us with our professional career. And the
only way we have to thank them, is to give everything we have on
So, we go back with at least a bronze, that was the minimum we
fixed ourselves with. Now, we want that European title, although
we have got to get the French Title first!
As for me, the season starts now….
I win the match
3/1, as Jonathan told me it was his last professional match (off
to coach in Qatar) and he wanted to play in 5 although the
result was sealed.
At the start, I just couldn’t feel my game at all. I was loose
at the front, I was loose at the back. I just couldn’t find my
game. I was so much expecting that short game, the complete
opposite from yesterday’s match against Grégoire, I just
couldn’t settle at all.
I guess the bottom line at the start was, I knew what I had to
do to win, be very tight, be very strict, straight game, but
today, I just didn’t feel like it. I wanted to have a bit of fun
I managed eventually to get a good balance between straight game
and attacking. And what an entertaining squash he plays. A real
pleasure that was….
WHAT A START FOR MULHOUSE!
his 3/0 defeat against Carsten Schoor yesterday, Simon probably
had a real envy to prove not only to his team but also to
himself that there was still like in the old bones. And there
The first rallies were absolutely furious, and I thought that
none of them would actually finish the match alive! Actually,
Jane, Simon’s wife, heavily pregnant (read the Blog about it)
and about to have their little girl in 11 days at the most, was
watching the match.
At some point, Simon was so in the red I turned to Jane who was
in heavy discussion with another lady and went “you do realise
your husband is about to die out there?!!”. She glanced at him
for half a second and went “yeah, he’ll be alright” and carried
on with the conversation….
Well actually, she was right. Scott made a few errors, still
giving his best, but as Simon said, probably didn’t move as well
as he wanted thanks to a nagging hamstring injury. And the
Mulhouse man got the match in 3.
As he went to sit next to Jane who was still chatting right
behind the backwall glass with the same lady, she acknowledged
his presence with a “so, did you win?”.
She loves him really…..
MATHIEU MAKES IT 3/0 AGAINST GRANTY
not THAT difficult to lead 2/0 against Adrian. But it VERY
difficult to actually win the match” smiled Mathieu at the end
of the match, right after Thierry Lincou actually sealed of
Mulhouse victory in the “Petite Finale” as we French call it.
Adrian is not at his best this week, he admitted himself he
needed a few more matches to be “tip top” as he said it after
losing yesterday against Chris Simpson 3-1. And Mathieu took
full advantage of that, closing the match 3/0, in front of the
Manager that truly didn’t believe his boys would make it that
easy…. Simon 3/0, Mathieu 3/0, it was up to the Guv to close it
AND THE GUV MAKES IT OFFICIAL
Thierry went on the court against MadShooter Kempy, Mathieu
hadn’t won yet. And at the start, the Englishman was up to his
old tricks, nick nick nick and nick roll…. Thierry wanted to
have a bit of fun today, and was trying to match Kemp at the
front. Yeah right. Not sure it was the good tactic, but hey,
what do I know?
It’s only when he found himself down 6/3 that the former world
number one remembered that there was a backwall in squash and
side walls that he was one of the best to get his drives cling
And as he made the rallies longer and the court bigger,
strangely enough, Kemps found more the tin than the nick. Go and
figure. Back level at 8/8. Some great rallies, but it’s the
Englishman that find the angles, 10/8 game ball Kempy.
By that time, Thierry knows that he only needs one game to get
the bronze. And he does what he did his whole career. Comes back
from game ball/match ball, and wins it on tie-break. Today was
no different, 12/10.
finish on a positive note. Mathieu has really made a stupendous
game against Adrian, I must say I didn’t dare dreaming of a 3/0.
And what about Simon, 3/0 as well against Scott, that was not on
the card either a priori. I guess he made a point of playing out
of his skin to balance yesterday’s 3/0 defeat against Schoor.
I didn’t expect this one to be “that easy”…