DAY ONE : top seeds off to solid start as Belgium survive scare

The 2024 edition of the European Team Championships (ETC) got under way today in Uster with the opening Pool matches in Men’s and Women’s Divisions One and Two.   Day One Roundup after the results summary

Division ONE

Women’s Division One (09.30) :
A : France 2-1 Spain (GC), England 3-0 Czechia
B : Belgium 2-1 Scotland, Wales 3-0 Switzerland

All to seeding in opening session

No upsets in the opening set of matches as England ease to victory over Czechia,, Wales deny hosts Switzerland an early boost, the Gilis sisters put Belgium 2-0 up over Scotland, and Marta Domingues wins the second match for Spain against France – who were resting #1 Melissa Alves – who won the decider via Lauren Baltayan.

Men’s Division One (11-30 & 13.30):
A : England 4-0 Ireland (GC), Wales 3-1 Spain
B : France 2-0 Czechia, Switzerland 3-1 Germany (GC)

Wales win crucial Spain clash as Swiss win

Contrasting opening Pool A matches as England eases past Ireland 4-0, whereas the crucial Wales v Spain took almost three times as long to complete with three of the matches well over the hour, Wales going 3-0 up and winning 3-1 to boost their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

In Pool B hosts Switzerland got off to a 3-1 winning start against Germany, despite Raphael Kandra beating Nicolas Mueller in front of a packed home crowd, while France started their campaign with a comfortable win over Czechia.

Women’s Division One (15.30) :
A : England 3-0 France (GC), Spain 3-0 Czechia
B : Belgium 2-1 Wales, Switzerland 1-2 Scotland

England cruise, Belgium survive scare

Comfortable wins for England and Spain in the second set of women’s matches, but Belgium survived a huge scare while Switzerland were upset by Scotland. After Tinne Gilis took the lead for Belgium, Tesni Evans played out of her skin to beat Nele 3-1 to seemingly put Wales in the driving seat for a big upset. But Marie Van Riet saved the day for Belgium as she beat Stacey Gooding to keep Belgium at the top of the table.

England and Belgium look set for the semis with two wins today, France will need to win tomorrow and hope England beat Spain, and the winner of Wales v Scotland will qualify – that should be a cracker.

Men’s Division One (17.30, 19.30) :
 A : England 4-0 Wales (GC), Spain 4-0 Ireland
 B : France 3-1 Switzerland (GC), Germany 3-1 Czechia

Top seeds through as Steinmann excels

Top seeds England and France made it two wins out of two to all but guarantee their semi-final spots, but a stirring performance from Dimitri Steinmann as he downed France #1 Victor Crouin delighted the crowd, even if the team lost 1-3.

Spain despatched Ireland but will need a result against England tomorrow to have a chance of progressing, while the Swiss know a win over Czechia should be enough for them to progress. It was Simon Rosner who clinched the last win of the day a 3-1 victory for Germany over Czechia.

Division TWO

In Division Two there were two matches in each of the Men’s three-team pools, setting up a decider for Day Two, and two rounds in the Women’s pools. Israel were the big winners in the men’s, the 5th seeds notching up two wins to guarantee their quarter0final place,

Top seeds Finland are on course with two wins in Women’s Pool A, while after two wins each Germany and Poland will meet to decide the top places in Pool B.

Day ONE Photo Gallery


ESF Day One Roundup :


Second seeds Belgium survived a big scare in the women’s competition on day one of the ESF European Team Division 1 and 2 Championships in Uster, Switzerland.

The opening day saw two rounds of pool matches in Division 1 at the seven-court Uster Squash Arena – and while defending champions England sailed through their opening encounters in both the men’s and women’s event, Belgium’s women – fancied by many to win the title this year for the first time ever – were not quite so comfortable.

Nele and Tinne Gilis, the sisters who are ranked four and nine in the world, both won in the morning’s 2-1 victory over Scotland, but Nele was stunned in four games by resurgent world no.20 Tesni Murphy 11-6 9-11 7-11 9-11 in Belgium’s afternoon encounter against Wales in Pool B.

Tinne had earlier beaten Wales’ teenager Ellie Breach (with Emily Whitlock and Lowri Roberts surprisingly not selected) so that set up a tense third-string match decider between Marie Van Riet and Stacey Gooding, which Van Riet won 11-7 7-11 11-8 11-7.

“Tesni played fantastic and Nele started to get a bit nervous after the second game as she knew she wasn’t playing her best squash. It was a big relief when Marie won the last match,” said Belgium coach Ronny Vlassaks.

“We have our best chance of winning the title this year because Tinne has become stronger and more mature in her game. She is finding it easier than a year ago when she was affected by nerves in big matches.”

Belgium sit top of Pool B ahead of Wales, Scotland and hosts Switzerland, who lost both their opening matches against Wales and Scotland.

In women’s Pool A, top seeds England beat both Czech Republic and France 3-0, while France’s entertaining 2-1 victory over Spain means they sit second in the pool.

In the men’s competition, it was an incredible day for Dimitri Steinman who beat his coach Simon Rosner in Switzerland’s morning 3-1 win over Germany, then produced what he called “one of my best matches ever” in defeating France’s world no.11 Victor Crouin 11-9 11-7 11-4.

Steinman said: “That’s probably the best performance I’ve ever put together. It was a great atmosphere. I love playing for the Swiss national team, especially at home. I knew it was going to be a physical battle, but I played to my strengths and executed very well.”

Switzerland, however, went on to lose the match 3-1 to the French thanks to wins from Gregoire Marche, Sebastien Bonmalais and Baptiste Masotti. France defeated Czech Republic 4-0 earlier in the day so they sit top of Pool B – a great start to their bid to regain the title they last won in 2018.

England, aiming for their 44th European title, cruised to 4-0 victories over Ireland and Wales in Pool A. Ben Smith and Tom Walsh both made their senior debuts following the late injury withdrawals of captain Adrian Waller and Nick Wall. Smith, who beat Ireland’s Michael Creaven in four games, was about to fly to America to play in the NSL when he received the call on Friday.

“I was over the moon!” he said. “I was nervous to start with and although I’ve beaten Michael a few times before, that goes out of the window in a team event. It’s surreal to be here and to have Mo and Marwan [ElShorbagy] behind the glass supporting me is a dream come true.”

In Division Two, the stakes are high with the finalists in both men’s and women’s competitions earning promotion to Division 1 for 2025 (and the bottom two teams in Division 1 relegated).

Men’s Division 2 event has four pools of three. Scotland beat Poland 4-0 to top Pool A, Hungary and Slovakia will play on Thursday to decide who tops Pool B, Belgium will win Pool C if they beat Norway on Thursday and Israel have already sealed qualification from Pool D with wins over Sweden and Austria.

The Swedish team is mourning the sudden and devastating loss of Filip Krüeger who was killed in an accident three weeks ago, with all players and officials paying tribute to him with a minute’s silence at Tuesday’s opening ceremony.

Women’s Division 2 has one pool of four and one of five. Finland top Pool A after day one after a 3-0 win over Slovenia and 2-1 victory against Denmark, who sit second. In Pool B, Germany and Poland both won their matches against Norway and the Netherlands so the neighbours will face each other on Thursday with the winner set to win the group.