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France Are European Champions For First Time
Howard Harding
Reports...

France Are European Champions For First Time

Competing in the event for the 41st time since 1975, and making their 15th appearance in the final, France finally won the men's European Team Squash Championship for the first time after beating favourites and defending champions England in a dramatic final in Herning, Denmark.

Despite the absence of world No.2 Nick Matthew due to injury, England reached the final for the 23rd year in a row and were on course to win their 40th title.

However, French number one Gregory Gaultier, the world No.3 making his 15th appearance in the event, put the second seeds into the lead with a four-game win over Peter Barker - and team-mate Mathieu Castagnet extended the lead after surviving a 112-minute marathon over England's second string Daryl Selby.

England stalwart James Willstrop reduced the deficit after fighting back from 2/1 down to see off Gregoire Marche in 90 minutes - leaving England needing to win the fourth match 3/0 to have the chance of retaining the title.

England debutante Chris Simpson duly took the opener, but when Lucas Serme clinched the second 11-7, the match was abandoned and France's historic and long-awaited title breakthrough was achieved!

England won the women's trophy for the 37th time after beating France 2/1 in the final.

After reaching the finals in Division 2, Finland and Ireland gained promotion to the men's top division for 2016, while Netherlands and Germany earned promotion to the women's elite group.

ETC images courtesy of www.squashpics.com

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