England teams progress to European Team Championships finals
Both the men’s and women’s England teams confidently booked their places in the European Team Championships 2023 finals after comprehensive wins over Switzerland and Wales on day three in Helskinki, Finland.
Both teams featured on the impressive all-glass court situated inside the Mall of Tripla for their semi-final matches. The women’s team took on Wales in the first match of the day with World No.8 Georgina Kennedy looking to get England off to the perfect start as she faced Tesni Evans.
The Commonwealth Games champion won the first game emphatically 11-1 but was then halted by Evans as the Welsh No.1 took games two and three to lead 2-1. Kennedy battled back however and started to attack the front two corners with more frequency as she could see Evans was starting to tire. Kennedy won 11-4, 11-6 to take the match 3-2 and give England a 1-0 lead.
Jasmine Hutton was up next as she looked to seal England’s place in the final, taking on Lowri Roberts. Hutton was in superb form and kept a strong, high T position to constantly have Roberts on the back foot and move her at every opportunity. After securing the opening game 11-6, Hutton had no trouble winning both following games 11-4 to send the women’s team into the final.
“We’re really happy,” said Hutton after her win.
“A goal of ours was to get to the final, so we’re really happy to have achieved that.”
“We’ve never played before, we’ve trained a few times in Manchester but I knew she was a really good athlete so I knew it was going to be tough and I’m just happy to get the win.
“I think I adapted to the glass court well. It’s important to get your length and depth on here and I thought I did really well today.”
Switzerland were the opponents for the men’s team as they looked to join the women’s team in reaching the final.
Yorkshire’s Nick Wall was up first as the No.4 in the team, against World No.105 Robin Gadola. After some lengthy opening exchanges between the two, Wall took control of the middle of the court and never looked back. He volleyed well throughout the whole contest to always keep Gadola behind him and set up numerous attacking opportunities. After 34 minutes, Wall scored the first points on the board for England, winning 3-0.
An all top-20 clash was up next as the No.1s Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nicolas Mueller took to the court. ElShorbagy came out at a blistering pace, volleying every ball in sight and moving quickly out of the back corners to pile the pressure onto Mueller. After establishing a 2-0 lead, ElShorbagy trailed 8-4 in the third game but mounted an impressive comeback to force a tiebreak and then take the game 13-11 to give England a crucial 2-0 lead in the tie.
Patrick Rooney needed to now only win one game against Dimitri Steinmann to secure England’s place in the final. The Merseyside man looked to be feeling the effects of his brutal match with World No.10 Joel Makin from Thursday night as he struggled to stay consistent in the match and couldn’t find a way past Steinmann’s amazing retrievals as he lost 3-0.
It was then down to Adrian Waller to wrap up the match for England as he took on Yannick Wilhelmi, still needing just one game to progress. Wilhelmi started the better of the two as he lead 4-0, but the experienced Waller found his form as the game went on and after setting himself up with three game balls, lost the next two rallies but slotted a beautiful cross-court nick at 10-9 to seal England’s place in the final.
The women’s team will play Belgium in their final, with play due to start at 12:00 local time. The men’s final against France will follow the women’s final on the Mall of Triple all-glass court, with play scheduled for 14:00 local time. Both finals will be available to watch live on SQUASHTV.
Results: Women’s semi-final -
England bt Wales 2-0:
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 11-1, 13-15, 2-11, 11-4, 11-6 (58m)
Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt Lowri Roberts (WAL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (22m)
Results: Men’s semi-final -
England bt Switzerland 3-1
Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 13-11 (32m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) lost to Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 0-3: 7-11, 8-11, 7-11 (45m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Yannick Wilhelmi (SUI) 1-0: 11-9
Nick Wall (ENG) bt Robin Gadola (SUI) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (34m)