The third day of the 2022 European Team Championships featured the four Division One semi-finals on the Glass Court at Klokgebouw, and the Division Two semis plus Division 1&2 playoff matches at Squash Time.
It’s England v France again as Welsh gatecrash women’s final
Semi-finals day at the Klokgebouw venue saw three teams maintain their run of appearances in the finals, but it was the Welsh women who stole the headlines as they reached their first ever final – emulating their male counterparts who did it for the only time in 1997.
Elevated to third seeds at the expense of depleted defending champions France, it was fitting that the two should meet for a place in the final. Emily Whitlock, making her debut in Welsh colours this week, got them started with a three-nil win over Enora Villard.
“Tesni [Evans] had better win now,” said Emily – who had limited appearances for England before switching to the country where she’s always lived – after the match, “I’ve waited long enough to play in this tournament, I want to reach the final now!”
Tesni duly delivered, beating Coline Aumard – a member of France’s championship winning team in 2019 – in straight games and the Welsh celebrations erupted.
In the final they’ll meet top seeds England, who beat unexpected semi-finalists Netherlands, who were resting their top two players – although #1 Sarah-Jane Perry had a real tussle with young Fleur Maas toe secure the win in the second match.
The men’s final will, once again, be England v France, for the 19th time in the last 21 editions.
France – seeded four after 2019’s loss in the semi-finals – were the first team to reach the final, beating Germany 4-0 although Baptiste Masotti and Greg Marche were pushed hard by Simon Rosner and Raphael Kandra in the opening pair of matches before Gregory Gaultier clinched the win.
Top seeds and defending champions England lost to France on countback in last night’s pool match, so played the Pool B winners Scotland, seeded three after they beat France in the 2019 3rd/4th match.
Patrick Rooney and Adrian Waller put England ahead with 3-0 wins over Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban in the first two matches, meaning one more game would be enough to take them to the final. Scotland’s Rory Stewart was having none of it though, as he beat George Parker in three close games to keep the match alive.
For France tomorrow will be a 19th Men’s final – all of them against England, who will be appearing in their 28th final in a row.