England boys clinched a fourth-place finish and the girls were in seventh as the team events at the ISF World Schools Gymnasiade in France came to an end.
The boys battled in the semi-finals against a very strong Romanian team which consisted of four players in the top six in Europe and top 13 in the world. The squads are pictured above before the match.
Rhys Davies played the left-handed Movileanu, No 1 European under-17, and played well but was beaten 11-7, 11-4, 13-11. Naphong Boonyaprapa then faced Ionesco (world junior No 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 the doubles, Davies and Boonyaprapa lost 3-1 but did have an opportunity to go 2-1 up.
The boys then played the hosts, France, in the 3rd/4th place match. Again, they battled well but went down 4-0 with Davies losing to Coton 12-10, 11-7, 11-8; Boonyaprapa being defeated 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 doubles 3-1.
So the boys finished in fourth place, which equals the best English result from previous years.
The girls’ team of Amy Marriott, Erin Green, Samadhi Udamulla and Lauren Loosemore played Kazakhstan (a team which had one girl in the world top 100) in the first match for places five to eight, but found them too strong and went down 4-0, but had some very close games.
They then played Brazil – a team they had beaten in the group stage – and again were victorious but this time a convincing 4-0, with single wins for Green, Marriott and Udamulla, with Marriott and Green outclassing the Brazilians in the doubles. So, the girls finished in a creditable seventh place.
Tomorrow sees the start of the individual singles.
England girls before the match against Brazil