The English boys took fourth place and the girls were seventh as the team events at the ISF World Schools Gymnasiade in France drew to a close.
The boys faced off in the semi-finals against a very strong Romanian side with four players in the top six in Europe and the top 13 in the world. The teams are pictured above before the match.
Rhys Davies played southpaw Movileanu, Europe’s Under-17 No.1, and played well but was beaten 11-7, 11-4, 13-11. Naphong Boonyaprapa then faced Ionesco (world junior number 12) and had a close match losing 11-8, 12-10, 11-9. Bertie Kelly then lost to Chirita (European No. 5 / World No. 8) despite a positive performance. In doubles, Davies and Boonyaprapa lost 3-1 but had a chance to go up 2-1.
The boys then faced hosts France in the 3rd/4th place match. Again they fought well but lost 4-0 with Davies losing to Coton 12-10, 11-7, 11-8; Boonyaprapa beaten by Besnier 11-7, 9-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9; Olly Cornish losing 6, 7, 9 to Milanese and Davies and Boonyaprapa losing the double 3-1.
The boys therefore finished in fourth place, equaling the best English result in previous years.
The women’s team of Amy Marriott, Erin Green, Samadhi Udamulla and Lauren Loosemore faced Kazakhstan (a team that featured a girl in the world’s top 100) in the opener for places five through eight, but found them too much. strong and lost 4-0, but had very close games.
They then faced Brazil – a side they had beaten in the group stage – and were victorious again but this time a convincing 4-0, with singles wins for Green, Marriott and Udamulla, Marriott and Green outclassing the Brazilians in doubles. Thus, the girls finished in an honorable seventh place.
Tomorrow sees the debut of individual singles.