SEMI-FINALS                           the FINALS
Friday: Men's Semi-Finals
[1] ENGLAND bt [3] WALES 4-0
Lee Beachill bt Alex Gough 9-5, 9-1 ret.
Peter Nicol bt David Evans 9-3, 9-0 ret.
James Willstrop bt Ricky Davies 9-3, 9-3, 9-3
Simon Parke bt Jethro Binns 9-0, 9-0, 9-1

Thierry Lincou bt Tommy Berden 9-4, 9-1, 9-0
Gregory Gaultier bt Laurens Jan Anjema 9-7, 9-4
Renan Lavigne bt Lucas Buit 9-5, 9-3, 9-6
Jean-Michel Arcucci bt Marc Reus 9-7, 9-3, 9-6

Six Up for Anglo-French Finals
Top seeds England and France completed comfortable semi-final wins to move into Saturday's final - the sixth successive final meeting between the two nations ...

Amsterdam LIVE

Women's Semi-Finals
England 3-0 Ireland
Netherlands 3-0 Scotland

France 4-0 Netherlands

Renan Lavigne bt Lucas Buit
     9-5, 9-3, 9-6

"I knew he was not going to let go of anything, especially in front of his home crowd. It’s his 18th or 19th European Championship, the man has got experience. So I knew I had to play him tight…

"I moved well, was comfortable, and I didn’t give him a chance to express himself. I made very few errors, so, very happy with this victory here, in Amsterdam… "

Renan Lavigne

"Thank you for remembering my match last year in Rennes! But contrary to last year, the court is warmer here, and the shots that were winners last year, well, Renan could pick them up. Not to mention that he is much fitter than I am. I stopped the PSA circuit about 5 years ago, I’ve got two kids, I do some coaching, I still play a few leagues, and that keeps me fit, but not as fit as Renan, of course… But I’m happy to be playing in the Europeans, at 37…

"I needed a good start, but I made too many errors. I was up 6/4 in the third, but I hung in there, and couldn’t finish. He deserved to win…"

Lucas Buit

Jean-Michel Arcucci bt Marc Reus
      9-7, 9-3, 9-6

"I have a sore throat that has been nagging me for a few days, so I was happy to play a hard match to get rid of the “bad stuff”! But I must have really enjoyed only one rally through the whole match ... the rest of the time, I suffered like hell, thanks Marc…

"He runs well, he’s got a good length, but thank God his short game lacks sometimes in precision, but still, I couldn’t let go with my shots, because I wasn’t sure of myself physically…"

Jean-Michel Arcucci

"I tried to play a bit shorter that I normally do because he is so quick on the court… The first game was very close, but he is a very experienced player, and I maybe got a bit impatient at the end of the game.

"When he came back for the second, he had changed his game, and every time I was playing a short shot, he was just behind me and could redrop or counterattack beautifully.

"Jean Michel doesn’t make many mistakes, he is so quick, you’ve got to win the point so many times… But I still believe that if I could have won a game, things could have turned out differently…

Marc Reus, 22
Thierry Lincou bt Tommy Berden
9-4, 9-1, 9-0

"Renan and Jean-Michel really went beyond the call of duty once more, and showed yet again, that we can count on them. You know, with this format, when you start your match with your team up 2/0 in matches, and 3/0 in games, you have a tremendous psychological advantage…

"Greg and I start so relaxed, it’s Renan and Jean-Mi that have the pressure, they are the ones playing the matches. And we can just stay in shape for the next day…"

Thierry Lincou

Gregory Gaultier bt Laurens Jan Anjema 9-7, 9-4

"I really enjoyed playing against Greg…The first game was good, I played flat out. Then in the second, he was just too quick, too strong, and I got a little tired.

"It’s good for both of us to get into the rhythm for tomorrow’s matches, especially as it was a dead rubber…"

LJ Anjema
           England 4-0 Wales
"Against Wales, the matches went as expected. Maybe the Welsh boys didn’t give that a strong challenge to the English…

"But we are very happy to be in the final once again against the French…. Tomorrow will be a very competitive situation, with a lot of passion between both teams…"

David Pearson

Linda Davie watches England beat Wales to reach another final ...

Simon Parke bt Jethro Binns
   9/0 9/0 9/1

Nervous start for Jethro, he spins the racket for serve and walks off court forgetting to check and see! Parke smiles……

Simon, as always, shows his love to be on that court playing for England. As he bobbed about he looked stronger and stronger. Jethro was making unforced errors and the nerves took over. But I have to say he gets full marks from me because he kept trying.

The match lasted 24 minutes and he had to work for that one precious point. He is so young and that means he is in the fortunate position of representing his country for a long time to come. So I look forward to watching him play in another European Championship.

I said to Simon after the match “You looked as if you were enjoying that.” “Yeah,” he says with that impish smile.

Peter Nicol bt David Evans
    9/3 9/0 conceded

These two giants of the game started off just as we hoped for….. Long rallies with exciting play. How Peter can lob with such accuracy is amazing and Evans just kept on returning everything. The first game lasted 14 minutes and only the last two rallies ran away from Evans.

We are in for a treat we though, if these guys keep this up it will be magic. Sadly this was not to be the case, at the start of the second game it was questioned if it now became the best of three as England had already won the tie. Evans lost this game in 5 minutes and then conceded the third…what a shame…

James Willstrop bt Ricky Davies
    9/3 9/3 9/3

I didn’t see this match but by all accounts Davies gave a good account of himself.

Spectators reported he never gave up trying and the Welsh boy had a good match.

Lee Beachill bt Alex Gough
    9/5 9/0 conceded

I arrived in time for Gough to come off court, collect his bag and brush past me…game over…

When I asked Gavin Jones for a few careful words on his Team's performance, he said “It’s hard when you know mathematically that you have lost.”


Nick's Day Off ...

I had a nice relaxing day off today but the other guys did a good professional job on Wales, especially Beach and Peter because we all knew how dangerous Alex Gough and David Evans can be. Looking forward to the Final tremendously tomorrow.

The atmosphere last year in Rennes will be tough to beat but there should be a good crowd as Holland are in the Women’s Final. We know France get tougher to beat every year so we will be ready for it.

Off the court, Parkey and Jimbo seem to be having a competition as to who can eat the most food during the week. Think Parkey is edging it at the moment as last night at the restaurant proved. Having had a soup for starters, he got fed up waiting for his main course so nipped out for a quick Mars bar, then commenced to clean up his burger + chips!

No wonder he was known as ‘Pud’ at one stage of his career.

Nick Matthew

Dutch delight

French support
Style clash
Welsh advice

Best ref?

Friday: Women's Semi-Finals

[1] ENGLAND bt [7] IRELAND 3-0
Linda Elriani bt Madeline Perry 8-10, 9-6, 9-6, 9-5
Vicky Botwright bt Aisling Blake 9-1, 9-1
Jenny Duncalf bt Laura Mylotte 9-4, 9-0, 9-0

Vanessa Atkinson bt Pamela Nimmo 10-8, 9-0, 2-9, 9-7
Annelize Naude bt Lizzie Leitch 9-0, 9-2
Margriet Huisman bt Frania Gillen-Buchert 9-1, 9-4, 9-7

Third time lucky?
England, winners of every staging of the event, will face host Netherlands in the final ... for the third successive year.

Netherlands 3-0 Scotland

Linda Davie watches the hosts reach another final ...

Margriet Huisman bt Frania Gillen-Buchert
   9/1, 9/4, 9/7

It must be such a good feeling when you have had lots of time practicing on a court, it helps, it gives you that comfy feeling. Well the Dutch girls certainly must have this. They have trained here many times.

The lights are very bright on this court and I am sure it must take a bit of getting used to. A beautiful court and we had a good crowd watching. The Margriet played very well and I was certainly impressed with the way she lobbed the ball and she was just too strong for the Frania on the day.

Vanessa Atkinson bt Pam Nimmo
   10/8, 9/0, 2/9, 9/7

Pamela appeared to be in control in the first game and had game ball at 8/5, but Vanessa went back to basics, kept everything simple and clawed her way back into the game to reach 9/8. Pamela lost the ball from the glare of the lights, and this game was over.

I have no idea how you can be in one game and then totally out of the next but this is exactly what happened ... 9/0 to Atkinson in the second. If that is hard to understand explain how that same player can come back in and win the third 9/2…

Game on as we say. I have to say that Vanessa never really looked under pressure in the fourth, no panic here and she took the game 9/7 and the match 3/1 to avenge her defeat by Pam in last year's semi-final and take the host nation into their third successive final.

Annelize Naude bt Lizzie Leitch
   9/0, 9/2

So, the Dutch girls are through to meet England again, but this time it's on home soil, on courts they are well used to and in front of a crowd that will be urging them to victory.

Should be interesting ...

"Pam has some great straight balls. If you give her any loose balls in the middle, she plays some great straight short kills. She also takes the ball early. Her game is more or less one paced, but what she does, she does very well. And she moves very fast. You don’t realise that she moves fast, with her being so tall, but she is actually very fast, and she’s got a really good reach, she stretches quite well…

"It’s always very hard to cope with the pressure, you just know what’s going to happen, so you prepare yourself and try to not think about it. But during games, you always have thoughts creeping through your head…

"But then again, I guess it comes with the job, and it's part of being at the top, you just got to learn and live with it. But the expectation is so high, people just expect me to win all my matches. I’m not even allowed to lose a game anymore!"

Vanessa Atkinson

"I like playing Vanessa, it’s always a nice, flowy game. It’s such a pleasure to have a bit of support, normally, I’m always the only one from Scotland, so, that makes a change…

"I’m happy I managed to stick to the game plan, well at least for a while…

"Vanessa plays really well at the moment, and getting a game out of her is really a great result, so I’m really pleased…

"This is a great week for me, I’ve got the opportunity to play the top girls, and I’ve got support with me…"
Pam Nimmo

England 3-0 Ireland

        Linda Elriani bt Madeline Perry
             8-10, 9-6, 9-6, 9-5

"I liked the court…

Because Linda and I have such different games, the pace would vary and depend on who would take the ball early…

"I really didn’t want to play short winning shots when I was volleying, I just wanted to keep the rallies going, I really tried very hard to impose my game…

Madeline Perry

"I really suffered today on those courts. It was so hot, so bouncy. But at the same time, the front wall is so dead, and yet you can’t hit a decent length. I really didn’t feel that was a true court…

"Madeline and I have totally different games, so the game was very varied, depending who was imposing their style…

"I got back in there because I just don’t want to lose, ever, not if I can help it.

"Today, she was playing superbly, and I’m really glad that I dug in to come back into the game, and also pleased to beat her when she is playing that well…"

Linda Elriani

    Jenny Duncalf bt Laura Mylotte
        9-4, 9-0, 9-0

"I enjoyed the game. It’s always nice to represent your country and play well. I was relaxed, and I just played my own game.

"I’m really looking forward to meeting the hosts tomorrow, it should be a great occasion…"

Jenny Duncalf
"Jenny was way too strong, she is so consistent… And those girls play at that level every day…!

"If I could play the match again, I would try and do for the whole match what I did for the first half of the first game, take the ball earlier, and have a bit more belief and confidence in what I was doing…

"Ah, and also, turn professional, that’s the only way, I’m afraid…"

Laura Mylotte