FINALS : England retain men’s crown, Belgium win historic women’s title

 ETC 2024 : Finals and 3/4 matches

Division One Finals :
W  [2] BELGIUM 2-1 [1] ENGLAND
        Nele Gilis 3-1 Gina Kennedy  11-2, 11-8, 11-13, 11-5 (64m)
Marie Van Riet 0-3 Lucy Turmel  8-11, 7-11, 2-11 (24m)
       Tinne Gilis 3-0 Jasmine Hutton  11-8, 12-10, 11-2

M  [1] ENGLAND 2-2 (8-7) [2] FRANCE
     Curtis Malik 2-3 Sebastien Bonmalais  8-11, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10, 4-11 (102m)
Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 Victor Crouin   11-5, 11-6, 11-0 (31m)
Tom Walsh 0-3 Gregoire Marche  7-11, 10-12, 6-11 (42m)
Marwan ElShorbagy 3-1 Baptiste Masotti  7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10 (57m)

Division Two Finals :
     Alasdair Prott 3-0 Daniel Simon  11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (25mm)
   Greg Lobban 3-2 Farkas Balazs  9-11, 11-3, 3-11, 11-6, 11-3 (63m)
 Martin Ross 3-0 Bendegúz Kamocsai  11-7 ,11-2, 11-4 (24m)

     Saskia Beinhard 3-2 Emilia Soini   11-7, 10-12, 5-11, 11-3, 11-2 (43m)
   Sharon Sinclair 3-0 Riina Koskinen  11-2, 11-3, 11-7 (17m)

3rd/4th Matches :
 Yannick Wilhelmi 3-1 Owain Taylor  17-15, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (72m)
Nicolas Mueller 3-0 Joel Makin   14-12, 11-9, 11-9 (39m)
Robin Gadola 0-3 Elliott Morris  10-12, 4-11, 2-11 (35m)
Dimitri Steinmann 2-2 Emyr Evans  11-4, 5-11, 7-11, 11-5 — (57m)

Tesni Murphy
3-1 Marie Stephan  11-3, 5-11, 11-4, 11-8 (36m)
Lowri Roberts 0-3 Lauren Baltayan   9-11, 5-11, 9-11 (25m
Emily Whitlock 3-1 Enora Villard  9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (52m)




Belgium made squash history at the ESF European Team Championships in Zurich on Saturday as the formidable Gilis sisters earned the nation’s first ever title.

Victories for both world no.4 Nele and no.9 Tinne sealed a 2-1 victory at the Uster Squash Arena – denying England a 41st title out of 43 championships and becoming only the fourth country to etch their name on the illustrious trophy (after France in 2019, the Netherlands in 2010 and England on every other occasion since 1978).

Nele beat England’s Commonwealth Games champion Georgina Kennedy in four games in the match’s opening rubber. Apart from dropping a high-class third game on a tiebreak – saving three game balls but never having a match ball – Nele was calm and controlled throughout her vital 11-2, 11-8, 11-13, 11-5 victory over the 27-year-old from London.

Lucy Turmel then levelled matters with an expected 11-8, 11-7, 11-2 victory over Belgium’s world no.202 Marie Van Riet, so the result came down the third rubber between Tinne and Jasmine Hutton – a repeat of last year’s final match-up which Hutton had won so crucially.

World no.29 Hutton had her opportunities, but errors on attacking shots proved crucial, especially at the end of the second then the Englishwoman looked to be taking control – and it was Tinne who achieved redemption with a 11-8, 12-10, 11-2 win.

Nele said after her sister’s title-clinching victory: “My phone is blowing up! Everybody is telling me we re-wrote history! I can’t take it in just yet. I’m so, so proud of the whole team.

“It’s something we always believed we would do at some point – but it feels so, so good to achieve it. I really, really do hope this is a massive boost for squash in Belgium and will inspire lots of juniors, get a lot of media attention and get more people playing.”

The 28-year-old is engaged to New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paul Coll. She smiled: “I’m European champion and getting married in two months’ time – life is pretty good!”

The sisters paid tribute to their long-time coach Ronny Vlasseks :“Ronny has been massively important for both of us. All the effort, time and belief he put in me is unmatched.”

Wales won a tight women’s bronze medal match which came down to a decider between Emily Whitlock and Enora Villard. The world no.24 from Colwyn Bay won 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7. Earlier the hugely promising Lauren Baltayan (who celebrates her 17th birthday tomorrow) beat Lowri Roberts in three and Tesni Murphy beat Marie Stephan in four.

ElShorbagy brothers lead England to victory

The men’s final started with an eventful 102-minute five-setter between Sebastien Bonmalais and Curtis Malik which the French no.3 took 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 10-12, 11-4. He needed a 15-minute timeout at the start of the fourth following a nasty collision, after which he had to be helped off court by the physio. Malik took that game on a tiebreak, but the decider slipped away from the Englishman.

England no.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy beat a disconsolate Victor Crouin in straight games, with some tetchiness between the players before ElShorbagy rounded off affairs with a bagel in the third.

When 34-year-old Gregoire Marche achieved a 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 win over Tom Walsh, who was making his debut at this event, France led 2-1 and 6-5 in games heading into the final rubber between Marwan ElShorbagy and Baptiste Masotti.

It was a tension-filled epic. When Masotti took the first game, he knew he needed only one more for France to take the match to points countback at worst. ElShorbagy took the next, but Masotti was 8-3 up in the third before a run of eight unanswered points put the England player 2-1 ahead. Amidst a bear pit atmosphere and a flurry of refereeing decisions, ElShorbagy took the fourth 12-10 after a distraught Masotti tinned two drop shots in succession.

“I love it!” said Marwan afterwards. “I’ve played close, tense deciders before and I love those moments. I’m so buzzing. I didn’t want to lose my first Europeans. I love this country, they have done so much for me so this was the least I could do.

“I messaged each one of my team-mates this morning and said, ‘Let’s fight for each other.’ I can’t feel my body – I don’t know how many minutes I’ve played this week. My body was numb this morning but honestly, I wasn’t going to lose today, that’s for sure.”

Switzerland won the men’s bronze medal match 2-1 against Wales – repeating their performance of last year in Helsinki and at the WSF Men’s World Team Championship in Tauranga, New Zealand last December. Nicolas Mueller beat an out of sorts Joel Makin in three and Yannick Wilhelmi put the hosts two-nil up.

Elliott Morris won in straight games to put the Welsh back in it, and with Emyr Evans 2-1 up against Dimitri Steinmann they were close forcing points countback. Steinmann rallied to take the fourth though, giving the Swiss an unassailable advantage in games.

Next year’s European Teams, with some changes to the format following the weekend’s ESF AGM, will be held in Poland