from Amsterdam ... Day FOUR
Everything you didn't know you needed to know about the ETC 2005
WHERE TO SIT???
This morning, I sat down on the left side to watch English Ladies against the Dutch, and I chose the left side because it’s where the action normally is…
And it’s only when Paul Carter, Assistant Coach for England, told me “Well, I guess that, this afternoon, you’ll be sitting on the other side”, that I realised I was sitting in the middle of the English Squad!
So, I quietly moved and went to sit right in the centre…
God, it’s such hard work to report on matches, you have no idea all the parameters you’ve got to think about…
DRIVING FOR 30 HOURS…
The new men’s Fair Play Award was presented to Ukranian Roman Dolynych. This was the first year that Ukraine have taken part in this event, Chris Stahl, President of the ESF informed us.
And not only that, he told us that Roman and his team mates actually drove from Ukraine to Amsterdam…
Is that dedication and passion or what???
I nearly got into a lot of trouble again today…
Nick Matthew has been kind enough to write regularly for us on this event, and his little notes have been very successful.
And today, while the English Ladies were playing, he wrote a little piece, and gave it to me. A page folded in two.
Put it in my book, and wrote my notes, and ran around as usual like a lunatic, eventually get my last interview, Madeline Perry, from Ireland, after her fantastic match against Linda Elriani, and re-enter the Press Room…
No note from Nick.
I saw my life flashing in front of my eyes…
“He will never EVER write for me again,” I panicked.
“Well, you’ll just have to retrace your steps,” Linda Davie told me.
Which I did. And I found the golden article. It was at Madeline’s feet.
Pfuit, that was a close one…
MR “CZECH REPUBLIC” SQUASH
I was having a nice chat with Shaun Moxham, coach of David Palmer and the Belgian Ladies’ Team today. And he introduced me to an ex-tennis player who turned clever in November ’93, when he discovered squash.
“I was coaching tennis in Italy, when a friend of mine opened a squash club, and invited me to the opening. I started playing, and with my level of tennis, I looked rather good compared to the others, which was very good for my ego”, laughs Tomas Cvikl.
“He really did a lot for Czech Republic Squash, did Tomas,” stressed Shaun. “And his club in Prague is a stunning club…”
Tomas must have done something right, as when he opened his club, back in 93, there were 15 courts in the whole country, but now it boasts 550+, and during this event, both men and ladies have had their best results ever.
“We changed name, but we still have a beautiful country, the most beautiful city, Prague, where I was born and now live, our players are climbing slowing in the world ranking, and we are proud of our achievements…
And you know what, they should be…
I was quite surprised I must say, when the French Boys were playing the hosts Netherlands today, by the number of French people that were supporting the “Bleus”…
We even had a charming lady, Marie Fernandez, who works for Paris-Match, and who is preparing an “agenda du squash” with Rebecca Mor and Fabrice Moulan, from Avon Squash, now living in La Réunion, home country of … Thierry Lincou…
And so many French supporters, that at some moments, I had the impression of being back in Rennes, last year, during the last European Championships…
But something tells me that on Saturday morning, there should be a lot of Dutch supporters for the Ladies final, as they could create an upset. Well, as they are EXPECTED by their crowd to create an upset…
BEN IS IN AMSTERDAM…
Boy o boy… It’s hard being the son of a superstar, you know. I spend my life in cars, boats, I change cities, countries…
I even succeeded to sort out Simon Parke’s game, you know… “Well” I told him, “if I managed to sort out my father’s drop shots while I was in Canary Wharf, surely I can do something for you”…
I tell you, how did they even survive before I arrived, God only knows…
Each tournament has got a “cachet”, you know… People treat press in different fashions. Sometimes we are tolerated, sometimes we are given the tools to do our work, something we have to improvise, or do whatever is necessary to get by, and sometimes, you are treated royally.
I’m delighted to say that the latter applies in this case…
But everybody has been wonderful since I arrived… Even the bus driver, realising that I’ve got a bad knee, actually took me in his arms to prevent me from having to climb down the bus stairs. Everybody gave me drinks, food, a lovely room, excellent internet connection at the venue… They don’t know what to do to help out really…
Talk about support!
While I was watching Renan Lavigne playing Lucas Buit, just behind me, I had Renan’s father and young brother on one side, and Lucas’ mum and son on the other side…
It’s always so nice to see the parents around you know… And we have a few around this week again…
And they always deserve a spotlight they very rarely get…
from Amsterdam ... Day THREE
Everything you didn't know you needed to know about the ETC 2005
|PUT THE BLAME ON SIR PARKE…
“What the heck are you doing here”, has been the most common sentence I heard today.
Well, it’s all Simon Parke’s fault!
For days, I tried everything to get him to write. I begged. I cried. I shouted. Nothing. I eventually threatened him to write another report on his last match with Joey Barrington in Colets last week… That did the trick. He texted me to try and arrange a phone interview.
But nooooo. Not that simple, Madam! We kept on missing each other, when he was in his room, I was out, and the reverse… Hell it was…
So the only way, THE ONLY WAY to get him to write something was to come to Amsterdam…
Which I did…
And that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it…
I love playing for England!
And it has been fantastic to have the opportunity to stick some more Caps in the bag this week just as it was in 1989 when I received my first.
All the group matches so far have been straight forward for England's Men and Women and I even played a pupil of mine, Arthur Gaskin yesterday in our match against Ireland! This was Arthur's first week playing for his country so he was a little nervous but he is giving his best and enjoying the experience with his usual self-deprecating humour.
We are playing Wales today at 4pm in the semi finals and the women have Ireland at 7pm. The standard of squash will improve dramatically now as Wales have the evergreen - Alex Gough (who is even older than me!) and the classy David Evans (Emu). These days they also have quality back-up at No. 3 with the ever improving Gavin Jones and the experienced Greg Tippings.
I will be playing Greg at No 4 and he will be giving 110% as I'm sure everyone will.
Bring it on !
Bad Hair Day in Amsterdam
The WORD from the Scottish Camp
Yeah Yeah …….Squash…Blah-Di-Blah –Di-Blah
On to the more important matters; a worrying trend of pathetic hair cuts is sweeping the European Squash World.
Starting at the top (literally) Peter Nicol’s dreadful barnet leaves him more hair-netter than nick-hitter these days, whilst the pretender to his throne, James Willstrop joins him in some sort of German B movie – Bjorn Borg, long haired fusion Nightmare.
Jethro Binns (John White’s illustrious training partner) and Andrea Torrici (Italy) appear to be getting in touch with their Lithuanian peasant sides whilst Lee Beachill, Greg Tippings and Kirsten Johnson are doing their bit for the third division footballers.
If we’re looking for someone to solve the mystery of why squash players are turning to bad hair perhaps the ‘Kojak’ of squash Paul Gregory may be useful…… although the sight of his shiny cupin on court with the overgrown locks and beard of Andre Holdegger left many wondering if this was a Buddha vs. Jesus of Nazareth celebrity death match.
Speaking of slapheads watch this space for messieurs Arcucci and Ryan who look like they might be joining Greg in the not too distant future.
Special mentions must go though to Stevie Richardson and Borja Golan.
A strategically placed rubber band leaves the Irishman with a ridiculous tuft of hair protruding from the centre of his napper whilst the young Spaniard has opted for braids prompting Heathy to comment “What’s he up to? That’s the kind of nonsense 11 year old girls get on holiday in Tenerife.”
Although Martin himself has his own issues as he is now sporting a fine ‘winter plumage’ (!) The ‘Just for Men’ bottle may be calling, if so I’m sure Dave Pearson and Paul Carter will be able to lend him a splash as they appear to be going through buckets of the stuff!!
Anyway….back to trying to get back in the top eight …
LIVE FROM AMSTERDAM…
More stories and reports from
Linda Davie in Amsterdam ...
No.1 Manuela Zehnder after leading 2 - 0 , (5 - 0 in 3rd) didn't
take her chances in the third that were presented to her from a seemingly
agitated Jana Smeralova (agitated within herself) - Smeralova
managed to impose herself from then on winning comfortably in the fifth.
Laura Mylotte on a a fine Irish win against France
Our 'ever-ready bunny' Madeline bounced back from a 2-0 defecit against Isabelle Stoehr to stage a magnificent comeback and win the first and crucial match, 9-7 in the fifth, leading the Irish as she always does.
'Chad's Chick' Aisling then came through a tough 3/0 against Celia Allamargot to win the match for Ireland, taking us to our first semi-final for ... well, let's just say a long long time, to be sure, to be sure ...
Champion treadmill runner Laura then finished the job off with another hard fought 3/0 win over Laurence Bois.
Look out the English ... remember the Six Nations ...
Nick Matthew's second day diary ...
Everything is still going smoothly here in Amsterdam.
The men had a 4 - 0 win over Finland last night with Peter Nicol looking particularly sharp against Olli Touminen. The Women have beaten Scotland and Germany, both 3 - 0. Everyone was pleased for Vicky Botwright today who made her first appearance at number one for England.
"I had to take deep breaths every time I was serving.
I am pleased I won my first cap as England No.1 and was pleased with the team performance."
The coaching staff have had their hands full coping with us as usual, but Carts (aka Jose Mourinho) and DP (aka David Brent) managed to escape for an hour or two for a Chinese last night, whilst the rest of us watched the dull 0 - 0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Phil Newton, our physio, has had no such luck though, with us keeping him busy as always. His neuromuscular machine has come in handy for myself to loosen up after a night's sleep on the soft beds in the hotel.
Just relaxing at the moment before our match with Ireland tonight with Carts currently reminiscing about his Europeans debut back in 1852 !
ZEUS IS BACK
Greek team report day two
from Petros Tzamaloukas ...
Second day in Amsterdam and we finally got on court against Switzerland. We all knew it was going to be a tough match but we were determined to do as well as we could in the pool matches and get a good start.
Unfortunately we lost 3/1 but I think Paul Gregory's performance and win is a good weapon for us for getting the second place in the group. Paul (Zeus) is back and the team spirit is fantastic. Fabian fought well but went down to Swiss No 1.
For the afternoon against Israel we will need the rest of the Gods to perform to their best and give the second pool position to Greece. The Greek players and bench need a Rehangel spirit !
Take care ...
Sergiy Zamomlystrow enjoys his first
Euro Team outing, against Scotland, and will be back for more ...
I am 16 years old and have been playing squash since 2002 - 3 years.
I was born in Crimea, and I live with my mother and at present I am at school. Next year I go to
University to study International Economics.
I hope that in 7 years time we can win this Championship, This is our dream ...
French coach André Delhoste reports on France's opening matches ...
Here are our results of our first day in Amsterdam ...
FRANCE v WALES
Against Wales, in our 10am match, we chose to present our 4 main players to assure a comfortable victory against the most threatening adversary of the pool.
Little did we know that they would chose to leave on the bench their two best players, Gough and Evans…
After a hesitant start on the centre court, Renan, who couldn’t find his length in the first game, nevertheless won his match against Greg Tippings 9/7, 9/2, 10/8. Despite a last effort in the third game, the welshman was tired and couldn’t fight much anymore…
Meanwhile, on court number 20, Jean-Michel [Arcucci] was struggling against Jethro Binns. The front walls here are particularly slow, and it’s hard to accelerate the pace, not to mention that the marks to find a perfect length vary a lot from other courts. Jean-Michel did concede two games, as he couldn’t take his opponent out of his comfort zone. Then again, we were not worried, as the others games were quite severe… The final result, 7/9 9/1 2/9 9/2 9/0
Greg went on right after that, and despite a very rocky start against Ricky Davies, he was down 0/7 in the 1st, he was able to string the points quickly as he succeeded to take the ball much earlier, fixed his opponents and played good drop shots. 9/7, 9/0, 9/4.
Thierry ended the match on the Central against Gavin Jones, changing the pace constantly, taking the ball early and pushing the Welsh to the back constantly. He took advantage of this match to adjust his length and his winners as soon as a opportunity presented itself.
FRANCE v GERMANY
For the 5pm match against Germany, we swapped Jean-Michel for Laurent. Germany left their number one to rest, Simon Frenz.
Laurent started against Oliver Post, while Renan was playing Johannes Voigt. Those two matches were over quite quickly, imposing a far too fast pace for their opponent, losing 9 points for Laurent, and 5 for Renan.
Greg was playing the Junior Simon Rosner, and transformed the encounter into an exhibition match. The young player lacked experience at such a level, and Greg made him play from the middle of the second game. 9/0, 9/2, 9/0.
Thierry ended once again playing Stefan Leifels, pushed himself physically and tried to play as many short balls as he could. 10/8 9/5 9/0.
Here it is for the first day. Tomorrow, we’re playing Spain at 3pm, but will decide after training who will play…
LIVE FROM AMSTERDAM…
As you may know, I was not chosen to go to the Europeans this time. But not to worry, Linda Davie is in Amsterdam, and we'll be getting notes and stories from the players, so watch this space…
Celia Allamargot, the youngster making her debut for the French
Team has sent us her first words…
|England Off To A Flier
Nick Matthew reports ...
Arrived here in Amsterdam yesterday afternoon after a mini delay due to the lovely northern weather, and met up with the Southern Softies at Schipol.
Beach was immediatley nominated to drive the team bus and treated Linda and the rest of the girls to a roller coaster ride in the car park.
Had a lovely dinner at the function last night and spent the rest of the time debating what Alison's initiation should be and whether DP would find out about Jenny's 50 pound fine (hope I haven't let the cat out of the bag).
The team this year is a good mixture of youth and experience with Alison making her debut and Linda and Parkey trying to add to their 52 and 50 caps respectively.
The first match went ok without any hitches. The guys beat an under strength Holland 4 - 0 and the girls beat Belgium 3 - 0, the highlight of which was Alison serving out on her first England appearance.
GREECE ,THE BEST LOOKING TEAM
We arrived on Tuesday afternoon from Athens and the team was completed with the arrival of Paul and Fabian earlier in the day.
Unfortunately the sun is not here but stayed home but the hotel and venue are very nice.
Yesterday evening we had a walk in the beautiful city of Amsterdam and today (Wednesday) we are preparing for our Thursday pool matches against Switzerland and Israel. It's a bit strange that we are not competing the first day and tomorrow we'll have plenty of work.
We are the Greek Gods (photo below) and we look forward going as far as possible. Who expected Greece to be crowned European football champions in Portugal? No one! Now it's the Greek Squash team's turn but unfortunately the championships system doesn't give us this opportunity. But be aware ...
I hope you have a lot of humour, we'll keep in touch,
cheers for now ...
England Girls' Winning Start
It's Wednesday 27th April and day one of the European Team Championships in Amsterdam.
The matches are being played at the FransOtten Stadium which is theperfect arena to stage such a huge event, boasting 20 glassback courts and a show court with three glass sides.
It's so far so good for the English squad. The Women's team drewthe short straw and had to play their first match at 10.00 am, with a practice beforehand at 9.00am (8.00 am UK time !!! shhhh)
We played Belgium and our team picked for this match was Linda Elriani, Vicky Botwright and Alison Waters, with JennyDuncalf playing later in the Scotland Match
We all managed to win 3 - 0 quite comfortably, and what with it being Ali's debut England Senior match, she played steadily and nerve free to win her match losing only a handful of points.
At 7.00pm we played Scotland, which was tougher match for us on paper, but again we managed to win 3-0 without dropping a game.
Waters set for Senior Debut
London's Alison Waters will make a surprise England squash debut at the European Team Championships in the Netherlands this week.
The 21-year-old from Southgate has stepped up to replace Yorkshire's world No8 Jenny Tranfield, who is suffering with an Achilles injury and is now unable to take part in the event.
Waters, who was selected as first reserve when the team was first announced, will join team-mates Linda Elriani (Sussex), Vicky Botwright (Lancs) and Jenny Duncalf (Yorks) in Amsterdam to defend the title which England's women have held unopposed since 1978.
Waters has enjoyed a highly successful run over the past year, winning the WISPA 'Young Player of the Year' award in December, then in February becoming the first unseeded player ever to reach the women's final in the British National Championships. Later in the same month, Alison picked up her maiden WISPA title, winning the Southport Open in the USA.
"Alison is a young talent with a great future," said England Squash National Coach David Pearson. "She thoroughly deserves her place in the England team."
Waters is overjoyed to be making her England debut: "To represent your country in any sport is the greatest honour, so I'm thrilled to be playing for England for the first time," said Alison. "I feel very sorry for Jenny, but I'm delighted to chosen to take her place.
"When I look back and think of how much I looked up to players like Linda and Vicky when I was much younger, it's fantastic to think that I'm now playing alongside them in the national team! Without doubt, this is the highlight of my career so far," Waters added.
England will also be defending the men's European title in Amsterdam. The all-Yorkshire squad features Lee Beachill, Peter Nicol, James Willstrop, Nick Matthew and Simon Parke.