• European Team Championships 2010 • 27-Apr 01-May • Aix en Provence • 





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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 seeding expectation.

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.

, 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.

Photo Galleries

Draws & Results


Luxembourg Diary

Draws & Results

Session 1 (of 6):
Let the comebacks begin

The 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 layoff.

"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."

Stefan 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.

Session 2:
Safe start for France, Ryan won't let it lie ...

Hosts 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.

Denmark 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!"

Session 3:
Dutch survive a scare,
Scots start women's rolling ...

Italy, 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 Ukraine.

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 schedule.

The first women's match of the tournament saw Scotland complete a comfortable 3/0 win over Poland.

Session 4:
No joy for the minnows

Six 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

Draws & Results

Draws & Results

Session 5:
Repeat wins for Hungary and Belgium

By 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 thing.

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.
Luxembourg Diary

"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 ..."

Session 6:
France 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 Poland.

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 against Denmark.

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 wins.

"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 tomorrow ...

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 too.

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 look too.

Stay tuned ...

Welcome to Aix !

Courts 1&2

Courts 5&6

Courts 7&8

Courts 9,10&11

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