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





XTRAS ...   Luxembourg Minnows Diary ... Irish Eye ...
Diary of the Luxembourg Minnows day 4 & 5

Dear Kitty,

We have had a great time here in Aix-en-Provence, however we are now feeling rather strapped for cash and the time is nearing where we will have to head for home.

In all fairness you have been very kind to us. Over days 4 & 5 of the ETC, you brought the men’s team victory over Poland and Greece and 21st place overall. As for the women, you also looked favourably upon them with wins over Greece and Poland!

Despite you bringing us victory on the squash court (even if it was less than that achieved by the Netherlands and England), we have decided that we can last no longer. In your honour we shall go all out at the local casino.

Well played Kitty – we looked forward to seeing you next year!


In earlier days ... who's who ?

More Diaries (minnows or otherwise) gratefully accepted ...   etc@cubbins.com

The Irish Eye #3
Edwin Brennan reports

With the semi-finals on the glass court on the other side of town I decided to stay in the club to get a flavour if what's happening here. Steve will no doubt provide excellent coverage of the semi-finals in which France play Ireland in the 2nd Ladies semi-final.

Arthur Gaskin took to the court however he faced a tough task against the Czech number 1. Arthur was not given a chance to settle in the match and the Czech's quickly found themselves 1-0 up.

Mr 5 setter Derek Ryan was on the second court at the same time. Derek lost the 1st before coming back to take a 2-1 lead. In the 5th set both players looked tired but it was the Czech man who had more in the tank, emerging a 3-2 winner.

Steve Richardson was up next against a young Czech opponent, he was quick around the court not allowing the Irish man to settle. The young Czech won 3-0, which meant they won the tie.

Niall Rooney took to the court last in the dead rubber match. It was little consolation to the Irish that he won 2-0.

News then filtered in from the glass court that the England ladies were in trouble. In a match that was well reported the lost 2-1 meaning there will at last be a new name on the ladies trophy. The live streaming from the glass court was shown in the club on a small computer screen behind the bar.

The ultimate prize was on offer, a chance to play the Netherlands in the final and get your hands on the silverware. In a close first match Laura Mylotte was unlucky not to get the Irish off to a winning start lost 3-1 to give France a 1-0 lead.

Next up was Madeline Perry against the fast improving Camille Sreme. The match was close throughout but Madeline levelled it for Ireland making it 1-1 and going down to the decider.

Aisling Blake had alot of pressure on her shoulders but not as much as the French player playing in front of the noisy home crowd. Stoher the experienced French player rose to the occasion winning the match and securing her teams place in the final.

The Irish meanwhile set up another match against England for 3rd & 4th in the morning.

Back to the men's and Ireland were drawn to play Finland with the highest
they can now finish is now 9th. The second session of the day for the men started off just after 8pm.

First up was Derek Ryan a 5 setter in this match would be great with the chances of coming down to games a real possibility. Unfortunately this wasn't to be as Derek lost the opening match 3-0.

Arthur Gaskin was on the other court and again any extra games would be greatly needed. Arthur playing brilliantly throughout, he didn't manage to beat his higher ranked but did manage to sneak a game in the process.

Niall Rooney was next up, he made a return to form working his opponent putting the pressure on. This seemed to work for Rooney as he emerged a 3-1 winner.

So it was simple Steve Richardson needed to win 3-0 and not drop more than 10 points throughout. A tough task for anyone not least for a tired Richardson. Unfortunately it was too big of a task as Steve lost the 1st game meaning the tie was no a dead rubber.

Ireland now face Sweden for 11-12 place at 9.30am! Off to bed early...

The Irish Eye #2
Edwin Brennan reports

I arrived at the club this morning shortly after 10.30 to see the Irish ladies play at 11 their final pool match against England. With both teams assured a place in the semi-final it was time to decide who topped the group.

First up was the number 2's Aisling Blake and Sarah Kippax. Both players were close in the early stages but Blake made a few errors at crucial times throughout the match which allowed Kippax to win 3-0 and give England an early lead.

Next up was Madeline Perry and Jenny Duncalf. Both players have just arrived back from an extended trip to the Cayman islands.

Jenny got off to a great start going 1-0 up but her lead was short lived as Madeline put the pressure on and what was a 1-0 lead from England turned into a 2-1 lead for Ireland. The 4th game was nailbiting with Madeline racing to a 9-3 lead before Jenny made a remarkable come back to win the game 11-9. In the 5th and final game it was Jenny's turn to go infront clocking up a 8-3 lead before Madeline rose to the occasion and made a brilliant return to win the watch outright 3-2.

This levelled the tie at 1-1 making the 3rd match crucial.

Laura Mylotte took to the court against the experienced Tania Bailey. Bailey kept a cool head in the decider making her Irish opponent work hard throughout not given her any easy points. Bailey ran out the 3-0 winner to ensure England top the group.

The attention then turned to the other decider between hosts France and the Netherlands. The winner of the group avoids England in the semi while the runner-up books a place against the top seeds in the other semi.

The home team obviously benefits from the great crowd that gathered to watch the match. They cheered their side on to victory meaning France to group B and go on to face Ireland on the glass court tomorrow.

Ireland took to the court against Scotland in the Men's section. Ireland had its full team out their against close rivals. In the first match Arthur Gaskin took on Scottish number 1 Alan Clyne fresh from his victory in Galway at the West of Ireland open earlier this month. Clyne is super fast on court and has to one of the fittest guys on the tour. He was too good for Gaskin today but Arthur never goes down without a fight.

On the other court Niall Rooney was up against Lyall Paterson where the 2 players are of similar standard. Niall took the 1st before Lyall levelled it making it 1-1.
Rooney, who is slightly more experienced having reached a high of 84 on the PSA circuit at one stage, fought hard throughout the match and clinched it 3-1 to make the tie 1-1 overall.

Next up was the very experienced Derek Ryan fresh after a rest yesterday. He was up against the Scottish number 2 Stuart Crawford. Ryan had a brilliant start going 6-0 up, he carried his momentum in taking the 1st 11-4. He made hard work of the rest of the match trading points and games until he emerged a 3-2 winner 11-9 in the 5th.

Steve Richardson meanwhile had a comfortable win of the Scot Jamie Maculay 3-0. That sets Ireland up in the 5-12 playoff stage tomorrow against the Czech Republic.

The Irish Eye #1
Edwin Brennan reports

I arrived in sunny aix shortly after 3pm today, having flown in a few days early for the ESF AGM on Saturday for which I am the Irish delegate. I had a very early start this morning leaving my house in the West coast of Ireland at about 3am. After 2 ryanair flights via Stansted it was a relief to make it to the club. The road up to the club forces you down some narrow roads and around some tight corners.

It was a hive of activity as I arrived to see the Irish mens team on court against France. The home crowd were out in force cheering their side on. On court 1 was Arthur Gaskin against Thierry Lincou. Lincou was on fire getting to every ball with ease. He was playing steady throughout and only made 1 or 2 minor errors in the whole match.

On court 2 Niall Rooney was playing Mathieu Castagnet. Rooney was moved up to number 3 as Derek Ryan was rested after his excellent win against Wales yesterday. Rooney was trying some of his usual trick shots but the French man was to quick off the mark winning 3-0.

Unfortunately I missed the first match of the tie which saw Neil Martin take to the court for the first time at senior level. In what was a learning experience for him against Greg Marche he picked up some valuable experience which will stand to him as the event progresses.

The final match saw Steve Richardson take on Renan Lavigne. Both players are very experienced but the French man got the better of Richardson winning 3-0. France won the tie 4-0 and take on Wales tomorrow. While Ireland take on Scotland to secure valuable play-off positions.

The ladies meanwhile have gotten off to a great start beating both Italy and Scotland 3-0. Laura Mylotte has returned to the squad after missing the last few championships.

She along with Madeline Perry, Aisling Blake and Zoe Barr have a strong side who are ones to watch.

Diary of the Luxembourg minnows - Day 3

Day 3 at the ETC has arrived, the sun continues to shine, the swimming pool has become more popular than ever and the squash is approaching the business end of the week. Whilst for some the importance of getting a tan is high up on the agenda, for many teams the third day brings about some crunch games in deciding their final Pool placements (no pun intended).

For the team from Luxembourg, things were no different. Whilst the ladies team had the day off (and chose to spend part of it shopping), the men's team knew they faced a crucial encounter against their counterparts from Gibraltar. Their line up consisted of Anthony Brindle, Christian Navas, Stephen Shacaluga and Mark Tewkesbury and, seeing as they had put in a better performance against the Slovakians, the Luxembourgers knew they could take nothing for granted.

At 1, Nathan Sneyd got the ball rolling with a cool 3-0 win whilst on the other court Danny Hutchines, after going 2-0 up, scraped through in 5. This put the team from Luxembourg on the verge of their first win but work was still needed to make it happen! Fortunately, Sanjay Raval put in an assured performance winning 3-0 thus clinching the tie for the minnows. Last on court, Niall managed to squeeze past his opponent 3-2, sealing an important 4-0 victory.

With spirits much improved, the men's team decided to celebrate with a swift-ish 9 holes of golf on the adjacent course. Of course this also provided the perfect opportunity for Kitty to accrue yet more money for any balls failing to make it past the ladies tees! Indeed, thanks to 2 feeble drives each (photos supplied) from Stephane Ayache, Danny Hutchines and Nathan Sneyd, Kitty has earned herself a further €30! Hooray.

Tomorrow the team shall keep you up to date on all their antics alongside reports of the women's crucial encounter against the Greeks and the men's match against Poland. See you then ...

Diary of the Luxembourg minnows - Day 2

After a disappointing loss at the hands of Slovakia yesterday, the team from Luxembourg knew they would have to improve on day 2.

Indeed, such was the mood in the camp that a system was put in place to whip people into line. Nicknamed "The Kitty", every wayward serve would henceforth cost a player sharp €5; every minute that someone was late for a team meeting - €1.

Other misdemeamours, as decided upon after the offences had been
committed, included:

- Losing a set 11-0 = €5
- Wearing a Swiss team shirt on court = €10

The opponents for the men's team today took the form of group front runners, Sweden and Hungary. For the ladies, Finland stood in the way of success.

Whilst the results were not altogether different from yesterday, the team were sure that Kitty had played her role well and the performances put in by all were much improved.

Of particular note, Nathan Sneyd turned in a good performance against the Swedish number 1, Rasmus Holt, going down in a closely fought match 3-1. Likewise, Daniel Kaiser lost by the same margin at 4 against his Hungarian counterpart.

So how much money did Kitty accrue? Well, the balls were raaaather bouncy, Stephane tends to get a bout of the sweats (hence the change of shirt), so Kitty has ended up with a total of €*** - a good night out is sure to be had on Saturday!

Tomorrow brings a crucial match for the men's team against Gibraltar, whilst the ladies have a day off and a chance to sit by the lovely pool and relax, In any case, the minnows from Luxembourg shall be sure to keep you posted.

Luxembourg Minnows Diary ... Day One

Day one in Aix-en-Provence, the weather was fine and, after a couple of cheeky beers the night before, the team from the little land of Luxembourg were in good spirits for the matches that lay ahead.

The men knew they faced an important match against the team from Slovakia, who were something of an unknown quantity (seeded 27th as opposed to 19 for Luxembourg owing to them having not played last year). The women on the other hand faced a tough prospect against Spain.

Despite Danny Kaiser getting the bus times wrong, the team made it to the club in time to see a cracking match between LJ and Oli, followed by the matches between an extremely strong English side and their German counterparts. If ever matches could serve as some motivation for the Luxembourg team, surely that was it?

Unfortunately for the minnows, that is not quite how things panned out.

First up, the ladies team comprised of Sandra Denis, Claudia Mich and Francoise Donven came up against a well organised Spanish team and, despite some hard fought games, ran out....3-0 losers.

Could the men do any better, thus putting themselves in a good spot in their pool? The team, made up of Nathan Sneyd, Sanjay Raval, Niall Woodger and Daniel Hutchines, playing on courts 1 and 2 (following on from James Willstrop and Adrian Grant - tough act to follow), couldn't dig deep enough and were disappointed to lose to a stronger than anticipated Slovakian outfit.

So, all in all a tough day for the Luxembourg team with the prospect of even tougher matches ahead (Sweden and Hungary tomorrow). Regardless of the outcomes of those matches however, the teams are convinced that they can put in a good account of themselves, even if it means beating their higher rated opponents at the bar on Saturday night...

More Diaries (minnows or otherwise) gratefully accepted ...   etc@cubbins.com

Kitty says thanks ...


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