TODAY at the EuroTeams:
Tue 27th, Day ONE
27 matches at Set Squash today as
the Euro Teams 2010 got under way. All went pretty much to
The main exception was seventh seeds Ireland holding
Wales, the third seeds, to a 2-2 draw, veterans David Evans and
Alex Gough taking the Welsh points at the bottom of the order
while Ireland's veteran Derek Ryan secured the draw with a 3/2
win in the final match.
Slovakia, 27th and bottom seeds, beat Luxembourg, eight
places above them, but since the Slovaks didn't compete last
year that may be a false ranking.
Only one women's match went to a decider as second seeds the
Netherlands denied Denmark a possible upset after Line
Hansen had beaten Vanessa Atkinson at the top of the order,
while hosts France and defending champions England
were untroubled in both events.
Draws & Results
Session 1 (of 6):
Let the comebacks begin
opening round of matches featured two returning stars, both
playing at number one for their teams.
Borja Golan has been out of action for eight months with
a knee injury, and he was first on court for Spain against
Croatia. It wasn't too tough a test as Borja won 11/1, 11/3,
11/4 in 20 minutes, but it was a significant milestone for the
former world ten, who has slipped to #102 during his enforced
"This was a great tournament to make a comeback in," he said,
"playing for you country with your team-mates around and the
social side of it too.
"I've been playing every two days for the last two months, but I
took a few days off before this event. It was a good break in a
way, I hadn't had a chance to spend time with my family and
friends for a long time, but towards the end I was really
looking forward to competing again, I started to get the itch."
Casteleyn last played for Belgium in this event "10 or 11
years ago", and his comeback was just as successful - by the
time I watched Borja win his first game 11/1 and made my way to
the Belgium v Turkey match, Stefan had already won!
"The timing was right for me to come over for this on," he said,
"and especially since it's here in Aix. I know a lot of people
here and I'm good friends with Jean-Mi [Arcucci], and it was
just a good chance to meet up a lots of my old friends."
Spain and Belgium wrapped up convincing wins,
while Sweden won comfortably against Gibraltar ...
Hungary are on top against Slovakia but were made to work
hard for a 3/1 win.
Safe start for France, Ryan won't let it lie
France, well-supported on courts one and two, safely
navigated their opening match against Scotland, four
straight-game wins for Galultier, Lincou, Castagnet and Marsh
doing the business.
matched that scoreline against a plucky Polish outfit, while the
Czech Republic surprisingly dropped a point in beating
Cyprus 3/1, number one Panos Hadjiphilipou beating Pavel
Sladecek 3/1 as the Czechs rested number one Jan Koukal.
In what always promised to be a close encounter, Wales
lead Ireland 2/1 before a typical comeback from 2/1 down
by Derek Ryan forced a draw. Arthur Gaskin beat Jethro Binns 3/0
in a match of the new number ones, but David Evans levelled it
for Wales with a similar win over fellow-veteran Steve
Richardson. Alex Gough, playing at number four, beat Niall
Rooney to put Wales back in the lead before the languid and
lanky Ryan, playing in his 24th consecutive Euro Teams, denied
Peter Creed in 59 minutes to earn the Irish a point.
"I got my act together in the end," said a delighted Ryan, "I'm
still loving it as long as I can move around the court!"
Dutch survive a scare,
Scots start women's rolling ...
who have a squad strong enough to trouble many of the first
division teams, had little trouble in disposing of Greece 4-0,
while Switzerland look on course to do the same to the
Netherlands v Finland was another tight looking tie, and
it's proving to be just that so far, with LJ Anjema needing a
3-2 win over Olli Tuominen to prevent the Finns taking a 2-0
lead. The Dutch took the lead via Sebastiaan Weenink, and Dylan
Bennett completed the win with a tough 12/10 in the fourth
victory over Henrik Mustonen ... putting court one well behind
The first women's match of the tournament saw Scotland
complete a comfortable 3/0 win over Poland.
No joy for the minnows
women's matches started at 15.30, and it was an entirely
predictable six three-nils as four of the less established teams
went the proverbial learning experience.
Wales beat Greece, Spain beat Luxembourg,
Austria beat Cyprus, and Belgium beat newcomers
Turkey, all very convincingly.
Ireland took on Italy, who did so well to make the top
eight last year, and although it was never easy the Irish came
out on top.
England, giving first caps to Dominique Lloyd-Walter and
Sarah Kippax, were too strong for Germany, while at the same
time England's men were taking on their German counterparts too.
Although Norman Junge took a game off Adrian grant, it was still
a 4/0 win for the defending champions.
Two Turkish debuts while
Pamela Pancis makes it 20 for Austria
Repeat wins for Hungary and Belgium
now we've had a few longer matches and the schedule on some
courts is running behind, and we also have some teams coming
back for their second match of the day.
Hungary had an easier time of it second time around as
they despatched Gibraltar 4-0, and Belgium were equally
impressive against Croatia - and this time we managed to catch
Stefan Casteleyn in the act ...
Israel entered the fray in Pool C with a solid win over
Turkey, and they face pool favourites Spain tomorrow first
Bottom seeds Slovakia bounced back from their morning
defeat by Hungary to dispose of Luxembourg 4-0, creating the
first upset of the day - although since the four countries who
missed out on last year's event were seeded at the bottom of the
pile maybe it's not too much of a surprise.
"It's disappointing to lose when we were seeded to win," said
Luxembourg's Niall Woodger, "but to be fair the Slovakians
looked good against Hungary this morning and they've obviously
been training hard. It just makes our match with Gibraltar
tomorrow even more important ..."
through, Dutch given a fright ...
The men's matches were
wrapped up with 4-0 wins for Austria over Cyprus -
emulating their ladies - and the Czech Republic over
The final matches of the day were two Pool B women's matches.
Hosts France were comfortable winners over Switzerland as
Isabelle Stoehr and Camille Serme gave them an unassailable lead
before Maud Duplomb applied the finishing touches, but second
seeds the Netherlands found themselves in a battle
Annelize Naudé put the Dutch ahead, but Denmark struck
back as Line Hansen, who won her fifth national title
last week, saw a two-game lead over Vanessa Atkinson disappear
before reasserting in the decider to record one of her best-ever
"I've had some close games against Vanessa but never beaten
her," said a relieved Line, "and at two-nil up it was looking
quite good. She started playing better and I got a bit
impatient, I was just glad to sneak it the win the end."
The Danish joy was short-lived though, as Orla Noom closed out
the match 3/0, 12/10 in the third o conclude day one, same again
Day One Preview:
Late start at Set as the jostle for places begins
It's an 11am start at Set Squash - the latest of any of
the five days - as 27 Men's and 21 Women's national teams set
out on the task of finishing as high as they possibly can.
Only the top eight - the First Division, Pools A and B -
in each event can actually win it, but this is one of those
events where interest in the first few days centres on the race
for places. It will be a real surprise if perennial winners
England don't make both finals, and equally so if they don't
meet perennial runners-up France and the Netherlands
in the men's and women's finals.
The only time France didn't make the men's final in the last ten
years was when they were missing both Thierry Lincou and Gregory
Gaultier - and they still finished third even then. The Dutch
women are missing Natalie Grinham, but her only appearance was
last year and they still finished runners-up to England, as they
have for the last seven editions.
So, the first three days aren't about the big guns, we'll leave
them to their own devices unless something spectacular happens,
and instead concentrate on the pool matches that look like
providing the closest tussles, and on some of the nations we
don't hear too much about.
It won't be easy, with 27 matches to be played today,
effectively in four different clubs as Set Squash is one of
those rabbit-warren type of clubs that has obviously grown over
time with additional sections being added - it's very different
from, say, Amsterdam's Frans Otten where you have ten courts,
five a side down a single corridor.
The whole place has been done up for the event though - we'll
have a couple of "Xtras" about it - and very impressive it looks
So, as ever, we'll cover what we can, and help from any of the
team managers / coaches / captains / fans - anyone really - will
be much appreciated (Luxembourg have already offered).
Interesting looking men's matches today: Spain v Croatia,
will Borja Golan make his comeback? France v Scotland,
will the big guns be rested ? Wales v Ireland, a crucial
Celtic clash. And the minnows matches, Slovakia v Luxembourg,
Hungary v Gibraltar and Israel v Turkey.
For the women Ireland v Italy looks the pick of the
bunch, but Israel v debutantes Turkey will be worth a
Stay tuned ...
Welcome to Aix !