European U19’s Individual Championships

Day 4:

Round 6:

Individual finals day;
Just the one match in our camp today. Tristan Snodgrass playing a Greek for the second day in a row..
This time it was fairly plain sailing for his final match, a relatively easy 3-0 win. He did well to remain composed throughout and will be delighted to finish on a positive.
Sean is shaping up well for the team event, practicing well and getting stronger by the day. Dylan thankfully avoided what could have been a worse injury from his slip yesterday, great news for us all.
We opted to stay in the club today to watch the finals, we even got some protein in our lunch which was delightful. An always enjoyable walk along the river to the local Lidl for orange juice and a pretzel being the days highlight outside of the squash.
The U19 European girls champion was crowned, Asia Harris taking out Amile Haworth in a powerful display, 3-0.
The boys U19 final saw Jonah Bryant cruise to victory in a relatively quick 3-0 over world junior champ, Rowan Damming. He was very balanced, composed and clinical in his efforts, well deserved.
We have a dinner ceremony to look forward to tonight and a rest/practice day tomorrow before the teams start on Thursday. The teams is often the most exciting event of the year and we are looking to peak for this, cannot wait.

David Noone

Draw/Results – HERE

Day 3:

Round 5;

The hectic schedule of the past two days slowed down a little bit today. Just one match each for our squad but a full day at the courts none the less.

Sara was first up, her opponent, a fairly highly seeded German player who played a similar game to Sara. Very crisp hitting along the left hand wall, smooth mover and dangerous when given space to hit.
At the start it was close, the one difference being unforced errors. Too many from Sabry saw her two games down.
She did bring a better fight in the 3rd and fourth, winning the third and just popped in the fourth, 11-9.
All in a decent performance, some sharpening of the tools needed and it could have been a totally different result.

Aimee followed Sara. Playing Camilla Hendy of Norway. She had lost at the world championships to the Norwegian and was keen to get some revenge.
The first game, very few errors coupled with great attacking squash saw a blistering lead of 9-1 converted to a 1-0 lead for the Irish player.
Errors were too frequent in the 2nd and 3rd games from Aimee, her opponent was quite clinical when given a loose ball also.
A spirited fight to try and bring it to 5, falling just short on a decision by the ref. Close in the end, but no joy. A roar of frustration for Aimee, it could have gone either way..

Tristan played a Greek with a very Greek name, Efthymio..
It went the distance and had its ups and downs for Tristan. Unfortunately couldn’t get over the line in the 5th… one more match tomorrow for the big man.

Dylan was looking to finish in the top 10 and was looking good until his lunge ended in a slide that hurt his knee. He pulled out to prevent further damage, fingers crossed he comes good for Thursday’s team event!

Jack had a huge battle with another speed merchant. This French player, Titouan Isambard, was so so quick. Sliding around the court like there was clay on the surface. It was nip and tuck the whole match, all the way to the end of the fifth. Jack was stringing together 3 or 4 winners per rally but the ball kept coming back. Eventually, after clipping the side wall with a counter drop, a stroke decision ended the match. A tough loss, Jack will finish 11th.

It was semi finals night in the main draw. Some savage performances from the top players. Great inspiration for our guys.
In fact, there was inspiration everywhere, world top ten player, Joel Makin was training in the club the few days also.

We had a small window of opportunity to escape another plain pasta dinner at the club but it wasn’t to be, matches ran slightly too late and we couldn’t make it to the city.. The highlight of flavour and nutrition in these Swiss package meals is the gigantic bowl of sweetcorn left beside the bread bowl, tough at the top for these players..

One last day of matches in the individual event tomorrow…

David Noone

Draw/Results – HERE

Day 2;

Round 3:

A sleepy Sunday morning in Zurich, very few cars or people around, not even a cafe open.. enter the squash club and it’s full of energy with matches on all nine courts with players, coaches and supporters everywhere. A great atmosphere.

For our Irish players, Tristan was first up against a Scot. Hunting his first win of the event, it was looking good early doors. Tristan stuck to the plan, keeping errors low and being patient. His attacks coming at the right times, winning the first game.. the wheels started to come off a bit as the match progressed and errors crept in.. a 3-1 loss but signs of improvement for the next matches, plenty learned.

Jack was up against David Bernet, one of the favourites to take the title here this week.. a blistering start saw Jack in front, playing great attacking squash, especially on the backhand volley. Applying consistent pressure was paying dividends and Jack got into a 7-5 lead. Tough going to keep the pace so high, Bernet clawed his way back and won the 1st 11-9. Slightly oxygen deprived starting the second, Jack made a few silly errors he couldn’t come back from and was two down. The third was a tighter affair, longer points but again, mistakes proved very costly and it was all over in half an hour.

Dylan faced former British Junior Open champ Abdulla Eissa. Dylan was favoured on paper and was expecting to push though. The first game, he did just that and smashed all his targets, winning 11-3. As the ball softened, the Englishman’s racket skills developed and caused trouble for Dylan. Finding a better weighted length than Dylan, coupled with better shot choices, Abdulla snook the 2nd. Similarly in the third, some sublime squash got him 2-1 up. Leading in the 4th, Dylan was looking a little deservedly, 10-5 match ball down… he built some momentum to resist but a shocking ref decision ended the come back, very disappointing.

Aimee played an Austrian girl and seem to find her rhythm a little better. She was never really in trouble, glided around the court and won 3-0 with relative easy. Good to build some momentum and the wins will hopefully keep coming.

Round 4:

Wins all around.

A first for Tristan. Delighted for him. He played well, kept his Norwegian opponent from finding rhythm, kept it simple. Often the best method.
A 3-0 win and the pressure of getting the first win has been lifted..

Jack had a big result. Playing one of Europe’s top players, the Ukrainian no.1.. he battled hard and showed his character coming from 2-1 down to take it in 5. A top ten finish still on the cards.

An almost identical performance from Dylan, on the next court, at the same time, coming from 2-1 down to snatch victory against the athletic Rory Richmond of Scotland. Bodes well for our seeding in the teams but also plays a big role in restoring some confidence after the losses earlier.

Aimee was in control in her battle against another Scot. Possibly should have closed it out in 3 with her match balls but did very well to get over the line in 4. Playing some solid squash.

Sara, pretty straight forward 3-0. Delighted for her also. Her Italian opponent was tricky and the match needed due attention and focus. Good to build some momentum!!

One interesting sight observed here is the presence of Nici Muller volunteering to referee in his home club, very humbling from one of the world best players. Impressively sitting for hours between his own training sessions to be referee, hopefully not getting the abuse some of the others have been exposed to..

Another full day at the courts complete, rest in the hotel for tomorrow which has only one match per player. A potential visit to Zurich on the cards..
Heads will be held high tonight after a good round 4, everyone with a win!

David Noone

Draw/Results – 1:

Our Irish squad of Aimee McConnell, Sara Sabry, Dylan Moran, Jack O’Flynn, Sean Murphy and Tristan Snodgrass arrived safely in Zurich, Switzerland for the U19 European Championships. First up is the individual event, followed by the teams. 10 days of intense squash, the best of Europe fighting it out for top spots.

We’re playing all matches in Shilsports, an open plan sports club with 9 squash courts, an indoor tennis hall and badminton courts surrounding the club bar. Not too close to Zurich centre but has all we need.. and the courts are nice, always the most important thing for long events. It was an early start on day one, with Irish players matches following each other through the full day.

Sean Murphy was first up against Alexander Broadbridge.. A hotly anticipated match, potentially the toughest possible first round opponent for Sean. Alex is the U17 English no.1 and plays a solid game of squash.
Sean has the type of game to beat Alex, but unfortunately Sean was carrying a bad niggle in his hip and it ended his hopes, losing in 3 games and consequently pulling out to rehab before the team event.
Tristan Snodgrass played his opener against the talented Ukrainian no.1. Three fairly quick games with most resistance from Tristan coming in the second, a great learning g curve.
Jack O’Flynn won in 4 tight games against his Polish opponent, never looking too troubled but a good test on his opening game.
Dylan Moran used his trade mark high paced, high power game to bulldoze past the Italian no.1. Dylan will be a force to be reckoned with at this event.
Sara Sabry took on an experienced Czech player and played very well in parts, losing in 4 games but showing plenty of class. A few too many errors, if she can keep the mistakes at bay, her squash will be outstanding.
Aimee McConnell was facing the no.2 Spanish player, having never played her before, it was a nervy start.. Aimee unfortunately ever settled and had a high error count, resulting in a 3-0 loss but will have plenty to play for after this match.

Round 2;

Tristan played one of the home club players, he fought hard and produced some good squash but the Swiss player was too strong in the end.
Dylan was faultless against a young Norwegian player, bigger test for him in the last 16 tomorrow.
Jack had a battle, putting together some great rallies and winning the points that mattered in a tight 3 games, marching on to the last 16 against a formidable David Bernet.
Aimee cruised through in 3 games, playing a polish player who had no answer to Aimee’s pace.
Sara, what a match. A topsy turvy 5 setter. She played her heart out, looked like she was cursing in the 5th but fell short in the end, 12-10. She will find it hard to get over that one after having decent lead in the fifth.

A big opening day, of a big 10 days of squash. Sleep will be invaluable for the players tonight, lots to look forward to.

David Noone