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  2005 Euro Clubs



German Teams Prevail
Sept 24, 2005, by Martin Bronstein



Men's Pools [final results] Women's Pools [final results]


In what must be the most important single game of his long career, Tim Garner played shrewdly enough to ensure that Paderborn, the host club, won the title of European Club Champions when they beat Roszsadombi  of Hungary  3/1.

Tim Garner
Garner gets the big win for Paderborn, photo © Martin Bronstein

That score line is slightly misleading. Having won the first game of his match against Joey Barrington,  there was no way that Barrington, even if he won the next three 27-0, could beat the statistics, so no further games were played.

Stefan Leifels started  the victory roll for Paderborn by outplaying Peter Genever  in three games. Genever never seemed confident and his 3/0 loss to Mark Cairns in the semi-final would have done his confidence no good at all. But Leifels won the game on his merits and his skill. He played near faultless squash while Genever  went through one continuous bad patch,  hitting seven unforced errors in the first game to lose 9-0.

Genever settled in the second and even led 4-0  but once Leifels had leveled, you could see his confidence ebb and  although they fought hard at 7-5 – the service changed hands nine times -  Genever could make no dent in the German’s defense and so Leifels took the 27 minute game 9-6.

Tim Garner
Stefan Leifels didn't let go , photo © Martin Bronstein

Leifels took control of the third game and never let go committing just one error on the way to another  9-6 victory.  But….on another court the talented Andras Torok had beaten Lars Osthoff , the Paderborn number four,  9-3, 9-0, 9-2 to put the match at 1/1, with games level at 3/3  and the Hungarians ahead  39 pts to 32.

And then came Peter Nicol for Paderborn to play Marcus Berrett, a player that only other players seem to know and apporeciate. They think very highly of him and even though he is now 30 years old and does not play the circuit. (Like some wines, Berrett does not travel well). I was told by many of the players that  he is one of the best in Britain. Indeed one player went as far as to say Berrett could beat Nicol. And I believed him! Still gullible after all these years. 

Yes, I grant you,  Berrett, who has now moved to Italy,  played well in the first game and had some nice rallies. He hit wonderful length and his rails were as tight as can be.  But Nicol won it 9-1 in ten minutes and the second 9-0 in seven minutes and then polished off the match with six minute  third game 9-1. The whole affair had taken 28 minutes and put Paderborn in the driving seat: they led 2/1 in rubbers, 6/3 in games and 59-41 on points.

This meant that Joey Barrington had to beat Tim Garner 3/0 and not allow Garner to score ten points which would have put Paderborner 28 points ahead and therefore uncatchable.

Tim Garner
Annelize Naude, hero for Bordesholme, photo © Martin Bronstein

The next 29 minutes was the most dramatic, tense and suspenseful of the entire tournament.  A full house of six hundred spectators – most of them locals there to see the home team win  - held their breath with every rally, in fact with every stroke. Barrington had the worst job in the world for that period  but handled it well to start with, moving to a 4-0 and looking as though he could outrun the older Garner and deprive him of the precious ten points that he needed.

Garner then started to mix it up in an attempt to upset Barrington’s rhythm.

“I realized that if I carried on as we started, I might not get any points so I moved the ball around  and then as the game wore on I realized that he was tiring because I had made him do a lot of running,” Garner told me later.

Garner pulled back to 4-4, his fourth point coming from a very lucky nick at the back. It was a piece of bad luck that Barrington did not need and from that point on the pressure began to get to him. He made three critical errors going for drop shots and suddenly  Garner was standing at game ball, which in effect was also match ball.

Barrington refused to give up and four times got the serve back but finally on the fifth game ball Garner  went forward and hit a golden backhand cross court into the dead nick. His hands went up and the locals made  joyful noises.

This was Paderborn’s third European victory and well deserved. They had put on a splendid tournament in every way.

England came up short  in the women’s event as another German team took home the trophy. Bordesholme was meant to be led by Vanessa Atkinson, but she was called away on PR duty for WISPA leaving Annelize Naude as the number one, supported by Katharina Witt and Daniela Schumann.  I thought that  the Pontefract team  had the experience  and strength in depth to  overcome them but Kirsty McPhee lost to Schumann 3/1  and then Annelize Naude played wonderfully controlled squash, full of good length and intelligent strategy to beat Rebecca Botwright in straight games. Laura Siddal won the dead rubber 2/1.

In the Men’s playoff for third place Colets proved the seedings wrong (as we all knew they were) by beating the Danish  Herlev/Hjorten club 3/1. A tired Alex Gough, Colets number one played after the outcome had been decided and  allowed the one rubber to get away. Once more Colets go home empty handed but this time there was no ‘we wuz robbed’ sentiment. The team had not played well enough and they had to accept that.


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