Italy Tour 2013

 
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Tour Report by Simon Boughton

European Club Championships


Riccione 2013

On 17th September 2013 Edinburgh Sports Club set off for Italy to represent Scotland in the European Club Championships, as National League Champions for the first time since 1989.

In addition to the squad of 6, we took another 6 players, wives, families, and of course….. Maz and Julie.

Pre-match meal

After arriving in Riccione one of the girls at the hotel recommended a local restaurant, which we didn’t need asking twice to visit after a long journey. All we had to do was prize Pietro away from her and we were away. What she hadn’t told us was the size of the portions….. most of the party ordered 2 courses…… mistake! Food lovely – none of us needed breakfast!970540_10153339048585414_1746385551_n.jpg

The group stages

We had a tough group with no.4 seeds Colets (England), No. 5 seeds Sandweiler (Luxembourg) and 12 seeds Hafrsfyord (Norway) who were essentially the Norwegian national team.

Wed 18th Sep ESC v Colets (Eng)

With Colets fielding ex world no.6 Alex Gough at no.4, even without their no.1 playing, we decided to drop Simon and Ross from the first match. Jacques, Colin, Nick and Andrew put in good performances though and Nick even tried to knock his opponent out, such was his enthusiasm and determination to win! All went down 3-0, but all gave a good account of themselves against such strong opposition.

Wed 18th Sep ESC v Squash Club Sandweiler (Lux)

Sandweiler were 5th seeds and so another tough match was on the cards. We fielded our strongest team for this match to see what we could do. No. 1s always go on first in the European Club Champs in order that they never have to play a dead rubber (a match that doesn’t count for anything) and the rest of the order is drawn for each day. On this day 1s and 4s went on first, so Simon and Colin Stirrat took to the courts. Simon had his work cut out against former European junior champion and former world no. 46 from Holland, Dylan Bennett and was on the receiving end for the first 2 games, but managed to dig deep and sneak the 3rd and 4th to level the match at 2 games all. In the meantime Colin was moving like a gazelle and putting in a solid and commanding performance against Filip Madaric taking the match in straight sets. Unfortunately on the next court Simon was running on empty and Bennett turned the screws to take the 5th and level the match. With only 4 players in a team though we were in a strong position with Stirrat having won 2-0. Next on court were Ross and Jacques Laas and if one could win and the other get a game, we would beat the no. 5 seeds! Laas went to the wire with Daniel Kaiser, missing out narrowly 9-11 in the 5th game of an edge of seat match. Ross had met his match in an experienced Nathan Sneyd on the next court though and despite a valiant performance went down 0-3. Close, but no cigar…. The aim now was to get into the top 12.

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Thursday 19th Sep ESC v Hafrsfjord (Nor)

Harfrsfjord are practically the Norwegian national side with national champion and no. 1 Kim Are Killemberg at 1, and Norwegian internationalists Sindre Roaldsoy and Ronnie Aasbo also in the side. We were desperate to win this match in order to finish 3rd in the group as 3rd place would play 4th place of another group in order to get into the top 12. Colin Stirrat was again on fire against Laars Kleining and sealed a 3-0 victory and a great start for us. Simon had his work cut out against the Norwegian champion and the match once again went right to the wire. The young Norwegian was definitely winning the physical battle, Simon was managing to play some tight ‘old man’ squash i.e lobs, drops and short rallies and at 6-6 in the 5th you might have bet on a sports club win, but then……. The ball burst! As did Boughton’s bubble! The new ball was a flyer and difficult to control – Killemberg seemed fresher after the break, whilst Simon seemed to have stiffened up! The game went the Norwegians way. The Norwegian internationalist Ronnie Aasbo proved to be too experienced for McHoul at 2, but Jacques Laas was 2-0 up against Roaldsoy on the court next door and a 3-0 would secure the win. The 3rd was a close fought affair, but after a succession of gut busting rallies, Laas lost the 3rd 11-9! If he could wit e match though, we would still be in with a shout. Laas gave it everything, but the Norwegian sneaked the 4th and then the 5th, which meant we finished 4th in the group and would meet Lichtenstein for a place in the 9-12 category.

Thurs 19th Sept ESC v Rimini, Julie, Maz, Pole Dancing and the Arrival of Eric & Anne

We had a squad of 6 for the Europeans, but we took a squad of 16 players and made a tour around the event. There were 2 social matches in the tour and the first was against Rimini. When we arrived at Rimini squash club to meet the team, most of the players had not yet played as were still waiting for their Italian counterparts to turn up, but they had been left with a fridge full of booze and as much food as they wanted to eat! Pietro dismantled his opponent Luca who was keen to play again whilst we waited for his team mates, so we sent Sean Morgan into action. Sean looked less than keen at the prospect of having to put down his Peroni in order to partake in the fixture, but had to shake himself up after Luca ‘bageled’ him in the first, much to the delight of the travelling support. It was whilst waiting for Rimini to show  that a 

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long we headed out to a lovely restaurant in the old town to celebrate the arrival of the rest of the group. line of rather attractive young Italian ladies walked past us and onto court 3, seemingly leaving their clothes on a hook outside. Naturally being squash enthusiasts, some of the lads were keen to show support for ladies squash in the area and wandered along to court 3 for a peek, only to be shocked and dismayed to find these ladies taking part in a pole dancing class!! To see the court being used for something other than squash was so upsetting that they had to watch for a good hour with looks of disapproval in order to make their point. Julie and Maz arrived during this fixture after a night in Bologna, which they have yet to tell us the details – girls on tour…. This fixture also saw the rather grand arrival of Eric Hogg and Anne Budge who just nipped over from Croatia on their boat, parked it in Rimini and headed to meet us. This was a great effort form Eric and Anne – it was great to see them and they added a touch of class to the tour, taking some of the support out on the boat to boot!

Fri 20th Sep ESC v Squash Rackets Club Vaduz (LICH)

This was an early morning fixture and Simon and Jacques took to the court first in this must win fixture against the Lichtenstein club who were 3rd place in their group. Simon was to take on old adversary David Heath. The pair have had some close battles in the past with the result going either way, but this was not to be one of those battles. Slightly slowed down by the previous 5 setters, Boughton was taken apart by asharp Heath and in no time at all we were behind in this crucial battle. Laas, however, put in a marvellous performance despite his long match the previous evening and beat Marcel Rothmund in straight sets to level the score. Colin Strirat was fast proving himself to be ESCs man of the tournament and put in yet another fine performance and a 3-0 win put us ahead. Ross played the decider against an opponent who Maz took lots of photos of……. (Maz would like to note he wouldn’t continue playing Ross until he posed for a photo

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and went 2 up, but his opponent pulled one back and saved match balls in the 4th in a 16-18 thriller. The 5th also went to the wire, but Ross showed what he is made of and pulled a 13-11 win out for his first win of the tournament and one that would see ESC finish in the top 12!

Fri 20th Sep ESC v Herlev-Hjorten Squash (Den)

This was the first of our play-offs for 9th-12th place and it started with 2 gruelling 5 setters, again involving Simon and Jacques. This time Simon managed to get the better of his younger opponent 11-6 in the last, but Jacques got pipped the other way 6-11, which put us level. Ross faced a sharp opponent who got the better of him in 3 games and Andrew Wilkinson gave a good performance, but was ousted in 4. We were now playing for 11th/12th

Fri 20th Sep ESC v Bologna

Mssrs Coutts, Cave, Easton, Morgan, Gagliardini and Forrest all headed back up to Bologna for social game on Friday a trip which Sean Morgan was particularly looking forward to, being an avid train enthusiast. Morgan tried to get as 1385121_10153339041015414_408638827_n.jpgmany train journeys in as he could in the short while we were there and was particularly fond of this section of the Italian railway network. The boys were outgunned in Bologna, but were well looked after and arrived back from the trip lightly oiled and ready for scran.

DaLeLe

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This was a delightful fish restaurant that we re-visited. Anne and Eric joined us again and we had a fantastic meal followed by a few quiet cocktails at a bar close by until……… O’Clock…… I don’t remember the details.

11th/12th Play-Off ESC v Petroholding Squash Club (Ukr)

Man of the moment Colin Stirrat was brought back in for this fixture and did not disappoint with yet another 3-0 victory over his Ukranian opponent. Another 5 setter for Simon who by now was struggling to walk! But on this occasion he went down having left everything on court in the 4th.  Ross and Jacques both went down 3-0 in this fixture, but not for lack of trying and 12th place was ours.

We were actually only 2 points away from a place in the top 8, but by the same token there were some strong teams below us so all in all a great effort.

DSCN0347.JPGLast Night

There was a meal for the team on the last night of the championship in which Ross instigated an interesting game with more rules and regulations than it was possible to follow to ensure that all were kept amused, including the wine waiters! We all met up again afterwards before the youngsters (Julie, Ross, Pietro, Nick, Couttsy and Sean) jumped on a bus (and in a taxi following the bus!) to an undisclosed location in Rimini for the after tournament shenanigans. What went on remains undisclosed except to say that all concerned were in a bit of a state on the journey home! The rest of us went to that famous Italian bar ‘The St George & Dragon’ to round off the week with a couple of cheeky whiskies.

A great tour with great company – keep your eyes out for the next one……

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2013

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2014

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