The Women’s Challengers : Who can stop England ?

England have only failed to win the Women’s ETC title twice, and they’ve only failed to reach the final once. Both defeats came against France – the 2019 final, while in the 2010 semi-finals the hosts inflicted England’s first-ever defeat in the semi-finals, but then lost in the final to Netherlands, who had themselves lost the previous seven finals to England!

An impressive record then, but on the other hand the last four finals – and eight of the last ten – have finished 2-1, with each of England’s last three wins – all against different opponents – going to a decider.

So they’re definitely beatable – and there’s a different dynamic in the three-player women’s format – but who might be able to do it in Uster ?

It may take a while, but we do come to a verdict at the end …


England are fielding the same lineup as last year – Gina Kennedy (WR6), Sarah-Jane Perry (WR17), Lucy Beecroft (WR23), Jasmine Hutton (WR27) and Lucy Turmel (WR29).

They didn’t look unbeatable as they regained the title in 2022 and defended it in 2023, but they’re by far the strongest squad and are the ones to beat.


Runners-up last year in Helsinki, and favourites to win Pool B, Belgium are headed by the Gilis Sisters Nele and Tinne. They were seeded sixth then, with Nele unable to play in the 2022 event in Eindhoven, but made it to the final before falling just short.

The sisters have plenty of ETC experience – here they are in the 2014 event in Amsterdam – and as they’ve risen through the world rankings they’ve become a potent threat to any team. This year, with World Rankings of #4 and #9 they would start favourite in any matchup.

They do need both sisters to win though, as against any of the other top seeds their third string will invariably come up against a much higher-ranked opponent.

Not that even winning the pool is a given – after starting against Scotland they face a strong Welsh team and then hosts Switzerland, but it would be a major upset if they didn’t reach at least the semis.

[3] WALES :

Runners-up in 2022, Wales are in a similar position to Belgium with a strong top order, both of who would need to win to have a chance of beating England .

Tesni Murphy (WR21) and Emily Whitlock (WR24) are capable of beating anyone on their day, the top English and Belgian players included.

They may well get another shot at beating England in the semi-finals if the pools go to seeding, but they’d definitely prefer beating Belgium to win the Pool and hopefully save the England match until the final.

Wales start against Switzerland before facing Belgium in their second match on the opening day, and that match will dictate much of what happens going forward. Should the top two matches be shared, Wales would be favourites to take the win – and if that match happens to be on first, the pressure would definitely be on the Belgians.

[4] FRANCE :

Champions in 2019 after losing out to England in the previous five finals, France then lost their top two players Camille Serme and Coline Aumard and finished fourth in 2022 and 2023.

That puts them into the same pool as England, but probably their most important match on the opening day is the first one against Spain, in which a win would have them looking good to reach the semi-finals again.

Melissa Alves (WR26) won the deciding third string match in the 2019 final, but is the French #1 these days, with Marie Stephan and Enora Villard both ranked in the 40s and rising star Lauren Baltayan in the 80s, so on paper they’re big underdogs against any of the top three.

[5] SPAIN :

Marta Dominguez (WR59), winner of the European World Champs Qualifier, is Spain’s #1 this year but all their other players are well outside the top 100, so are unlikely to be able to make much impression on the top four.

They face France then Czechia on the opening day before meeting England on Day Two but by then their fate may already be decided.


On paper (harking back to the days when we actually printed out World Rankings) the Swiss have a good chance of exceeding their seeding. With Cindy Merlo (WR54) and Nadia Pfister (WR79) they have a solid and experienced top order, and although Ambre Allinckx and Celine Walser are outside the top 100 they are more than capable of pitching in with a win, especially with home support.

A tough but winnable opener against Wales is followed by a match against Scotland before facing Belgium on Day Two. They’ll probably need to win both of those to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2001, and fifth might be a more realistic target, but never say never.

[7] Scotland & [8] Czechia

Probably more so than in the men’s the two promoted teams will fancy their chances of consolidating their places in Division One and possibly even more. To do the first of those Scotland will need to beat Switzerland and Czechia must get the better of Spain.

Scotland look to have the better chance, with Georgia Adderley (WR34) and Alison Thomson (WR84) looking a good match for the Swiss, but can either stop England … we don’t think so.


As we said at the end of the men’s challengers, everything can be changed by one massive upset or one inopportune injury, and that’s even more true in the women’s three-person team format.

So with that said, our prediction is for Belgium to stop England and become the 2024 ETC Champions. Stay tuned …