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arrow pointing leftBack 14 May 23 - by England Squash

England finish first and fourth in European Mixed Team U15 & U17 Squash Championships

England won the European Mixed Team U15 Championship and finished fourth in the U17 Championship after a 2-1 victory over France in the U15 final and a 3-0 defeat to Czech Republic in the U17 third-place playoff.

In the U15 final, England were looking to reclaim the title after being beaten by surprise finalists Belgium last year in Eindhoven.

England’s pursuit of a 16th U15 title got off to a thrilling start with a tight encounter between England No.2 George Griffiths and his French counterpart Kousha Moslehi.

The Hampshire native began quickly but was pegged back by the dogged Moslehi, with the Frenchman saving four game balls at 10-6 and a fifth at 12-11 before Griffiths made the breakthrough to take the opener 14-12.

Griffiths then doubled his lead with a 15-13 win in game two, with both players saving two game balls, before seeing his lead reduced when Moslehi took the third game 13-11.

Griffiths, however, kept his composure well in the fourth game, with the 14-year-old taking the first six points as he cruised to victory with an 11-3 win.

England’s celebrations were short-lived, however, when France’s Amir Khaled got the better of Ismail Khalil in a see-saw contest to level the tie.

Khaled took the first game 11-8 only for England’s Khalil to respond with a brilliant 11-2 win in game two. The Frenchman reclaimed the lead with a dominant 11-5 win in the third, only for the Warwickshireman to force himself level once more with a hard-fought 11-9 win in the fourth.

In the fifth game, though, Khaled held out to send the tie into a decider with an 11-7 win.

With England’s expectations on her shoulders in the crucial third match, Warwickshire’s Mariam Eissa delivered a crushing performance.

The 14-year-old was dominant from the outset, needing just four minutes to take the opening game against France’s Leelou Laporte 11-4.

Eissa refused to take her foot of the gas in the second, racing away to a 2-0 lead with an 11-2 victory.

The shell-shocked Laporte was only able to offer token resistance in the third game, with Eissa ensuring that the U15 title would return to English hands with a comfortable 11-3 victory to finish the match in just 16 minutes.

In the U17s tie, England - whose run of 14-consecutive titles had already been ended by a defeat to Belgium in yesterday’s semi final - struggled against the hosts.

In the tie’s opening match, 15-year-old Jude Gibbins from Kent went down 11-9, 11-8, 15-13 to 16-year-old Martin Stepan.

Hampshire’s Alexander Broadbridge battled bravely in a tight second match, but after leading twice was eventually pipped in the fifth game by Vojtech Martinovsky, who recorded a 7-11, 11-3, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9 win to secure the win for the delighted Czech team.

There was to be no consolation for England in the final match as Lancashire’s Charlie McCrone slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Karolina Sramkova after being 1-0 up.

After the finals, England Pathway Manager Lucy Townley said: "We [Townley and coaches Adam Fuller and Alison Waters] are really proud of all our players. Throughout the event they have shown great team spirit and have had some valuable experiences to build upon. A special well done to the under 15s who fought through some tough battles to regain the title."

Results: European Mixed Team U15 Squash Championship Final

England 2-1 France

George Griffiths beat Kousha Moslehi 3-1: 14-12, 15-13, 11-13, 11-3 (40m)

Ismail Khalil lost to Amir Khaled 2-3: 8-11, 11-2, 5-11, 11-9, 7-11 (58m)

Mariam Eissabeat Leelou Laporte 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 (16m)

Results: European Mixed Team U17 Squash Championship 3/4 Place Playoff

England 0-3 Czech Republic

Jude Gibbins lost to Martin Stepan 0-3: 9-11, 8-11, 13-15 (37m)

Alexander Broadbridge lost to Vojtech Martinovsky 2-3: 11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11 (46m)

Charlie McCrone lost to Karolina Sramkova 1-2: 11-6, 7-11, 7-11