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02/10/2013
EUROPEAN CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS
 

Pontefract And Worms Are Euro Champions

PONTEFRACT AND WORMS
ARE EURO CHAMPIONS

By Malcolm Willstrop

The European Club Team Championships brought together a collection of players who represent all that is good about the game.

The presence of world no.3 James Willstrop and world no.4 Nick Matthew illustrated the importance of the tournament – as did the presence of David Palmer and the likes of Derek Ryan and Simon Parke.

With established clubs such as Paderborn, Colets and Pontefract mingling with the leading clubs from less established countries, the picture was complete. 

The setting was more or less perfect as well, since Riccione, a lovely holiday resort, was a welcoming club and the weather was beautiful.

The women's final was, appropriately, between the two best-supported teams, Pontefract and Mulhouse, the latter being the scene of the recent Men's World Team Championship.

England pair Emma Beddoes and Lauren Briggs, who is about to call it a day, were first on and Beddoes was always in control in a comfortable 3/0 win for Pontefract.

Second on were Kirsty McPhee, the Pontefract captain, and Kathrin Hauck. Three close games went Mulhouse's way, the crucial factor being which girl attacked first.

So the outcome depended on the match between Deon Saffery and Laura Pomportes. It was a fitting decider, with Saffery just having one shot too many for the French girl, who battled throughout. Saffery’s success gave Pontefract their seventh win in the event.

Meanwhile in the men’s final, holders Worms looked favourites to beat Mulhouse and so it proved.

Parke, after a long and demanding match with Richie Fallows in the semi-final against Colets, was unlikely to trouble Davide Bianchetti. Although the Yorkshireman battled hard, he was always up against it, his best chance being a disqualification. However, the Italian had, for him, minimal altercations with the officials and was a comfortable 3/0 winner.

The Nick Matthew-James Willstrop match promised much and delivered three high-quality games, in which Matthew controlled matters, playing close to his best in winning 3/0, although the scoreline did scant justice to Willstrop's efforts.

Palmer, therefore, needed one game against Mathieu Castagnet to settle the outcome and it wasn't long in coming.

So Worms retained their title in style and left Mulhouse with the consolation of having produced two finalists.

FINAL PLACINGS

Men: 1. Black and White RC Worms (Germany), 2. Mulhouse (France), 3. Paderborner (Germany), 4. Colets (England), 5. Helsinki Senators (Finland), 6. Fitzwilliam (Ireland), 7. NV Squash Union (Austria), 8. Sandweiler (Luxembourg), 9. Herlev-Njorten (Denmark), 10. Szegedi Tisza (Italy), 11. Petroholding (Ukraine), 12. Edinburgh (Scotland), 13. Castle (Belgium), 14. Hafrsfjord (Norway), 15. Vaduz (Liechtenstein), 16. Mcwill Harrow (Poland), 17. Riccione (Italy).

Women: 1. Pontefract (England), 2. Mulhouse (France), 3. USC 2000 Graz (Austria), 4. Moravska Slavia Dream Team (Czech Republic), 5. Go Ahead (Hungary), 6. Espoo (Finland), 7. Malaka (Poland), 8. Riccione (Italy), 9. Stockholm (Sweden), 10. Sutton (Ireland).