U15 & U17 2018 European Team Championships Malmö Sweden
The U15 & U17 European Team Championships held in Malmö, Sweden, finished with a double win for the England teams. England dominated the group and early play-off stages, with both teams reaching their respective finals without dropping a single game.
Spain also enjoyed impressive championships. Seeded 9 in the under 15s, they knocked out the 2nd seeds Ireland in the semi-final, and in the under 17s, where they were seeded 5, they just failed to reach the final when they lost to the 2nd seeds, France.
The under 15 final between England and Spain turned out to be a fairly straightforward affair. England’s Franklyn Smith had to fight off a hard challenge from Christian Dominguez Canelon, just clinching the first two games 11-9, 11-8 before wrapping the third game up 11-3. Alhassan Khalil had a reasonably comfortable result against Spanish number 1, Adrian Garcia, winning 11-4, 11-3, 11-8. The England team enjoyed an unassailable 2-0 lead going into the third match when the Spanish girl Noa Romero Blazquez managed to overcome Torre Mallick in a best of 3 games match, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3.
In the 3rd/4th play-off, France managed to beat Czech Republic 3-0, with France enjoying straight game wins in each match, although Frantisek Prochazka almost managed to prolong his match to four games against the French number 2 boy Romeo Bily, but finally succumbed 10-12 in the third.
The under 17 final was a harder fought battle between England and France. Manuel Paquemar got the French off to a great start by beating Sam Todd in four games, 11-8, 4-11, 11-2, 11-6. England fought back when their number 1 boy Jared Carter went 2-0 up against Toufik Mekhalfi before the Frenchman fought back to take the third game 7-11. The fourth game was close all the way through with both players fighting hard for supremacy before Carter eventually won a tense battle 13-11 to record a 3-1 victory. Now it was up to Katie Malliff of England and Yuna Loaec of France to decide which team would be crowned champions of Europe. Katie took the first two games 11-6, 11-7 with strong resistance from the French girl, and then finally, the title was England’s when the English girl wrapped up the match in the third game, winning it 11-2.
Again, Czech Republic finished fourth after just losing out 1-2 to Spain, who enjoyed an outstanding tournament. Once again, the Czechs are producing strong players at junior level. It remains to be seen whether that success can finally be transferred into the senior game. The Spanish are a country on the move having enjoyed highly successful European Championships at all levels this season.