James Willstrop: England’s women retain Euro crown

Leeds-based Emma Beddoes.

Leeds-based Emma Beddoes.

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DIVISION ONE and Two of the European Team Championships finished in Herning in Denmark on Saturday evening.

And after the customary final day of attrition, England’s women retained their title, again beating France in the final.

Alison Waters lost at first string to Camille Serme in four games and National Champion Sarah Jane Perry levelled the scores by beating Coline Aumard also in four.

Leeds-based Emma Beddoes won the deciding match, beating Laura Pomportes with plenty in hand to ensure the women’s team continued their outstanding record at the championships.

In the men’s event, played over four strings rather than three, that outcome was reversed.

England’s men have won 22 titles on the bounce, for years eluding the French, but the ever-strengthening Gallic outfit made 2015 their first-ever European Team win.

Peter Barker lost to Gregory Gaultier at one string, but he crucially took a game. At one game all Daryl Selby, at two, was inflicted by injury through a collision with opponent Mathieu Castagnet. His efforts were stunted slightly from then on, though his intent and application to the cause were unwavering as ever. He lost in a close 3-1, 14-12 in the fourth.

It meant myself and Chris Simpson would have to win both matches for the loss of only two games, which was never going to be easy against seasoned pros Greg Marche and Lucas Serme.

I toiled to a 3-2 win having been 2-1 down, and it was clear by this point that we were hanging on by the skin of our teeth.

In his debut competition for England, Chris won the first game well, but winning matches 3-0 whilst knowing you have to win them 3-0 is nigh on impossible against such calibre of players and Serme rallied and snatched the second to give the French team a deserved title.