England retain titles in thrilling finals in Helsinki
England retained the men’s and women’s titles in Helsinki in two thrilling finals.
In the women’s final Jasmine Hutton beat Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in the opening match, and although Nele Gilis won the second against Gina Kennedy England were huge favourites in the decider and Lucy Turmel duly delivered.
The men’s final was one of the closest ever with England taking another win over France.
England took the lead as Patrick Rooney came from a game down to beat Greg March, then Mohamed ElShorbagy put England two-nil up after saving match balls to beat Victor Crouin 14-12 in the fifth.
Auguste Dussourd kept France in the hunt with a five game win over Nick Wall, which left England needing two games to be sure of victory while France needed a 3-0 win in the final match. A 3-1 win for France would mean points countback.
Adrian Waller got England off to a great start in the decider as he went ahead against Baptiste Masotti, but the Frenchman struck back to take a two-one lead. Waller needed 7 points in the fourth game to ensure an England victory, but raced to an 11-1 win to ensure that England retained the title with the fifth game not played.
Day THREE : Semi-Finals Day
Top seeds and defending champions England will appear in both finals in Helsinki after the men ended Swiss hopes and the women got the better of Wales.
The women’s semi was first on court, and after Gina Kennedy got the better of a five-game battle with Wales’ Tesni Evans, Jasmine Hutton wrapped up the win in straight games. They’ll meet Belgium in the final after Nele and Tinne Gilis led the sixth seeds to a 2-0 win over France.
In the men’s semi England took a 2-0 advantage over surprise semi-finalists Switzerland courtesy of 3-0 wins from Nick Wall and Mohamed ElShorbagy, and although Dimitri Steinmann kept Swiss hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Patrick Rooney, once Adrian Waller took the opening game in the fourth leg the match was over.
Second seeds France eased to victory over Wales, Auguste Dussourd and Victor Crouin winning the opening matches 3-0 leaving Baptiste Masotti to take the required game in the third match.
Day TWO : Playoff berths decided
The semi-finals are decided after a second day of Pool Matches in Helsinki, with seeding upsets in the men’s and women’s draws.
Men : Wales and Switzerland gatecrash the semis
In the men’s event defending champions England made it four wins out of four, but the point Wales took in the final Pool A match was enough to see them pip Germany for a semi-final place. In Pool B France settled after an edgy opening day to win the Pool, and it was Switzerland who won the crucial clash with Spain to join them in the semis. They’ll face England in the semis with Wales taking on France.
Women : Belgium join the semi-final party
As in the men’s defending champions England maintained their unblemished record to reach the last four, with France joining them from Pool A. In Pool B it was sixth seeds Belgium who won the crucial clash with second seeds Wales to set up a semi-final against France.
In truth, the upsets need to be viewed with the ESF “you’re seeded on last year’s finish” system in mind, with promoted Switzerland, headed by Nici Mueller and Dimitri Steinmann, always looking better than seventh seeds, and Belgium, with Nele Gilis who was injured last year joining sister Tinne, were never the sixth best women’s team.
Men’s Semis :  England v  Switzerland,  France v  Wales
Women’s Semis :  England v  Wales,  Belgium v  France
Day ONE : England Cruise, France’s men struggle and Scots stumble as pools get under way
A busy opening day in Helsinki saw 31 matches across three venues including two glass courts.
Top seeds and defending champions England cruised to two victories in both the Men’s and Women’s matches without dropping a game and look set for the semi-finals.
France‘s women, seeded four, also recorded two wins in Pool A and look likely to join England in the last four, while the second seeded French men’s team struggled in both matches – coming from one down to beat Spain 3-1 and then edging Switzerland on games countback in a 2-2 draw.
Earlier the Swiss had beaten third seeds Scotland 3-1, and a further 3-1 loss to Spain put the Scots out of contention, with tomorrow’s winner between Switzerland and Spain looking set for the semi-finals.
Hosts Finland – with both teams ‘promoted’ to Division One due to earlier tournament cancellations – lost all today’s matches, although in the final match of the day the Finnish men held Hungary to a 2-2 draw, loosing out 8-7 on games countback.
In Division Two all the top seeds won their opening matches.
Thursday’s pool matches will see the playoff positions decided.
Day ZERO : the Opening Ceremony
Men’s Division One :
Pool A : England, Wales, Germany, Hungary, Finland
Pool B : France, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland
Women’s Division One :
Pool A : England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Finland
Pool B : Wales, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain
NOTE : Finland were due to host in 2021, when they would have been in Division One, so despite both teams being relegated in 2022 they will feature in Division One, with three teams relegated.
Men’s Division Two :
Pool A : Czechia, Netherlands, Austria
Pool B : Ireland, Poland, Israel
Pool C : Belgium, Portugal, Ukraine
Pool D : Sweden, Denmark
Women’s Division Two :
Pool A : Scotland, Austria, Norway, Portugal
Pool B : Poland, Czechia, Ireland, Denmark