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PLAY-OFFS 2015/2016

Women (order 3, 1, 2)      Men (order 4, 1, 2, 3)

Femmes Place 3/4:
Pessac 3-0 Lorient

3. Noellie Boden 3-0 Cécile Davesne
11/2, 11/8, 11/9 (20m)
1. Tesni Evans 3-0 Elspeth Young
11/4, 11/4, 11/5 (17m)
2. Charlotte Delsinne 3-2 Laura Paquemar
6/11, 11/3, 9/11, 11/3, 11/8 (47m)

Hommes Place 3/4:
Valenciennes 0-3 Valence

4. Renan Lavigne v Dimitri Steinman
12/10, 11/9, 5/11, 4/11, 5/11 (50m)
1. LJ Anjema 1-3 Grégoire Marche
12/14, 8/11, 13/11, 4/11 (66m)
2. Olli Tuominen 1-3 Nicolas Muller
5/11, 11/5, 7/11, 9/11
3. Carlos Cornes v Reiko Peter


Men: Mulhouse 3-1 Aix

4. Thierry Lincou 3-1 Benjamin Aubert
11/9, 7/11, 11/8, 11/9 (71m)
1. Mathieu Castagnet 0-3 Grégory Gaultier
1/11, 5/11, 6/11 (31m)
2. Borja Golan 3-0 Geoffrey Demont
12/10, 11/8, 11/5 (30m)
3. James Willstrop 3-0 Fabien Verseille
11/7, 11/9, 11/2 (30m)

Women: Créteil 1-2 Mulhouse

3. Anna Klinundova 0-1 Laura Pomportes
5/11, 11/6, 9/11, 2/11 (40mn)

1. Camille Serme 2-3  SJ Perry
11/7, 3/11, 11/8, 5/11, 7/11

2. Coline Aumard 2-1 Natalie Grinham
9/11, 11/8, 13/11

What a glorious day for the Host

When Sarah Jane got the last point and finally scored on her third match ball to seal her first ever victory on Camille Serme, it took all of the Nordic "retenue" of Manager Thierry Jung not to burst into tears.

Imagine that: both his teams getting the titles, retaining for the Men - their 4th in a row - and getting it back out of Creteil's Mouth, 6th for the girls (5 plus 1 with one year absence).

Double the pleasure. Double the ecstasy. Double wammy. And at home, if you please....

The Town Mayor, young politician Jean Rottner was over the moon. He is a fervent supporter of squash in Mulhouse, and several times today, fitting the big moments in his hectic schedule, tweeting the link to the streaming to all his followers, and making sure he was back to give the Cup to the winners.

The public - faithful followers and passionate - was beyond happy. And the players - the girls especially - were exuding their contentment....

For the men it was more or less expected, and when Thierry The Guv Lincou clinched the victory against young wolf Benji Aubert - who took Renan Lavigne's scalp yesterday 3/0 - the Mulhouse ship was sailing in the right direction.

And the sharp defeat of Captain Mathieu Castagnet in the hand of World Champion Greg Gaultier didn't stop Borja to beat Geoffrey Demont in a close 3/0, with James Willstrop having to win two games against Fabien Verseile, PSA President obliging the crowd with flair and diligence, as ever...

For the bronze, Valence for the Men overtook Valenciennes 3/0, while Pessac, for their second year only with the Big Girls, winning against Lorient quite comfortably, 3/0.

A good day all over really, no shouting, no arguing, good squash, good atmosphere, and short speeches at the end...

"Nobody beats me 25 times in a row and get away with it...

Yes, I think I was a bit hungry today. She beat me so many times, and they took two titles away from us last year, both France and European Cup.

So I decided that today was the day...

At match ball, I went a bit too passive, as she made a few errors in the 5th I was waiting for her to make the error more than attacking.

Which was what took me to match ball in the first place!

The difference today. is that I'm fitter, I'm stronger, both physically and on the mental side of things."

Pessac with the Bronze!

Yesterday I played against Sarah Jane, and she was sharp from the start, and she was finding great shots. At 10/9 in the 3rd, I had game ball, but she just played two superb shots, and there is nothing you can do against that. So I was a bit disapointed.

Today against Scot Elspeth Young, I saw that she had good hands and nice drop shots so I tried to keep her away from there, and extended the rallies. Good match.

It's only my second season with Pessac, and last year was their first time in top league, so we are pretty happy with this result, reaching the podium was our goal...

3/4 - Valenciennes v Valence

4. Renan Lavigne 2-3 Dimitri Steinman
           12/10, 11/9, 5/11, 4/11, 5/11 (50mn)

I was expecting a tough encounter, as Renan is a former top 20, and I was therefore ready for a big battle.

I trusted my physicality, and felt pretty good throughout. I still got a bit tired after the second game, but I told myself he was probably feeling it too, and even worse! So I kept pushing.

I'm happy with my game overall, especially with the fact I kept my focus and didn't lose my game plan in the last three games, which was putting him behind me and making him work hard, creating pressure.

Also, happy with my short game, didn't make too many errors. So happy with my performance, even if I was a bit unlucky not to take the first two games.

2. Olli Tuominen 1-3 Nicolas Muller
                             5/11, 11/5, 7/11, 11/9 (55mn)

A hard battle but a fair one. As ever when you play Olli. We actually were talking about it after the match, telling each other how nice it is to play against an opponent that clear the ball, only ask lets when he has to, and just plays the ball. That's the way squash should be played.

I played good squash in patches, but as somebody that just pick up his racquet after a little break, a few big BIG loss of concentration.

Olli surprised me when he came out in the second, he played tight, and didn't give me any chances...

Happy to finish the season on a win, now onto the next chapter of my life, moving to Paderborn, and going to train with Rosner and Rafa. Hopefully going to super strong at the start of the new season....

Anjema 1-3 Grégoire Marche
12/14, 8/11, 13/11, 4/11 (66mn)

Not much to say about it Fram, it was a good match, I played well, he played well too.

Disapointed but not that much as I'm happy with the way I played today, it's funny, I played well yesterday against Gaultier, and still lost 3/0 and today, I play well against Greg, and I take a game, could have won it.

Mind you, playing Gaultier yesterday was like a crash course to get your anticipation back!

2. Borja Golan 3-0 Geoffrey Demont
12/10, 11/8, 11/5 (30m)

If yesterday I thought I was playing well, and was happy with my game/shots, but today I was not alert enough, had biiiig lapses of concentration during the first two games, and he took advantage of it, pretty close games for sure.

Not happy with the way I played, but happy to give the win to the team, we are pretty close to a final victory now...

3. James Willstrop 3-0 Fabien Verseille
                11/7, 11/9, 11/2 (30mn)

Like I said yesterday, a lot of guys will look forward to a well deserve break, but I'm not! I'm keen and I was enjoying this!!!

Those teams we are playing have a lot of experience, they have been competing for a long time, they've been around...

And on those "club courts" we often talk about, when you are out of match practice, they are looking for you, and there is a very fine line between "them" and "us" really!

I couldn't walk on there and just piss about, I had to really work hard. He is attacking very well and plays fast, so he was winning a few rallies in a row, no physical deficit.

So I had to make sure I would keep him working hard behind me, and extend the rallies.

As for the victory, we didn't start well with Mulhouse, I think we didn't win anything for 4 years or so, but now we are doing ok, and it's our 4th title in a row...


Women - (order 3, 1, 2)

Femmes: Mulhouse 3-0 Pessac

3. Laura Pomportes 3-0 Astrid Gamory
11/2, 11/7, 11/1 (12mn)
1. SJ Perry 3-0 Tesni Evans
11/9, 11/5, 12/10 (33mn)
2. Nathalie Grinham 3-0 Laetitia Estournes
11/1, 11/2, 11/2 (12m)

Femmes: Créteil 3-0 Lorient

3. Enora Villard 3-0 Lucie Brocard
11/1, 11/5, 11/2 (20mn)

1. Coline Aumard 3-0 Elspeth Young
11/3, 11/4, 11/4 (22mn)
2. Anna Klinundova 3-0 Laura Paquemar
11/4, 11/5, 11/2 (18mn)

Men (order 4, 1, 2, 3)

Hommes: Mulhouse 3-1 Valence

4. Thierry Lincou 3-1 Dimitri Steinman
12/10, 8/11, 11/3, 11/4 (33mn)
1. Mathieu Castagnet 2-3 Grégoire Marche
7/11, 6/11, 11/7, 11/8, 3/11 (71mn)
2. Borja Golan 3-1 Nicolas Muller
11/7, 11/7, 10/12, 11/7 (49mn)
3. James Willstrop v Reiko Peter
11/5 (match stopped, 6m)


Hommes: Aix 3-1 Valenciennes

4. Benjamin Aubert 3-0 Renan Lavigne
15/13, 11/7, 11/7 (50mn)
1. Grégory Gaultier 3-0 LJ Anjema
11/9, 11/7, 11/4
2. Geoffrey Demont 0-3 Olli Tuominen
5/11, 4/11, 11/13 (55mn)
3. Fabien Verseille 2-1 Carlos Cornes
11/8, 9/11, 11/9 (35mn)


Might as well you might say, as Thierry Jung, Mulhouse Manager, has been as ever investing a lot of time, money and effort in setting up this event.

It had started with a set back, as the event was initially planned in a Leclerc Shopping Mall round the corner. Unfortunately, as the Fire Brigade didn't seem to believe having a glass court in there was a safe move, they allowed the court to be mounted - 25,000 Euros - but reserved their right to refuse the court to stay!

Well, it didn't make sense really, to spend all that money, with no guarantee of having the court actually allowed in there? And if they said take it out? What was the plan B?

So Jung had to organise the Play-Offs in the Mulhouse Club - a lovely set up that was used for the World Teams - which has the particularity to have an hotel, a great restaurant and the club altogether!


It was a great squash day to be honest. We started at 1pm, both Men's team playing side by side on court 1 and 2, all streamed, with court 1 commented live by Cyrielle Peltier, the French number 3/4, recovering from a terrible ankle injury/surgery, and Yann Perrin, another French player now retired, along with Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace journalist Emilie Jafrate, who often travels with the Mulhouse Team, and knows her squash pretty well.

The only upset of the day - which isn't one really, is it - would be Greg the Acrobat Marche beating Mathieu The Warrior Castagnet 11/3 in the 5th after leading 2/0, 8/0 in the second actually.

Not an upset as Mathieu is still not perfectly recovered from his adductor injury contracted during the Europeans Teams a few weeks ago....

The other three matches went according to plans although Thierry The Guv Lincou got a bit taken back by Dimitri Steiman, Valence Swiss new recruit, that impressed the spectators here, taking the second game 11/8, after losing the first game only just 12/10, before Lincou showed his experience, taking the following two rather comfortably.

Mulhouse was in the final, and no surprise either, will meet Aix en Provence, winner of Valenciennes 3/1.

Two little funny facts. 1, young French hope Benji Aubert beat his future coach Renan Lavigne, as Aubert is now joining the Senior CREPS set up in Aix en Provence, and will now work under Renan from September, and not Fred Lecomte anymore.

2. It was great to see Olli Tuominen, injury free, fit and fast, who won his third game on a penalty stroke - as Frenchman Geoffrey Demont threw his racquet for the second time and got logically penalised, losing the match as well, bless him.

"A pretty fair match from both players, I was playing quite well for the first two games, good pace, volleying well, and no unforced errors.

But not sure why I suddenly got a bit nervous in the 3rd, didn't volley as much, and I think he got a bit tired in the end while I was not accurate enough.

Stil, I was happy to close it in 3 and keep the team in play..."   

Like for Mulhouse, the match was won after the last player won the first game - James Willstrop for Mulhouse - against Reiko Peter, and Fabien Verseille for Aix, against Carlos Cornes.

As for the girls, out of the 6 matches, we can safely say only one was close, SJ Perry (Mulhouse) against Tesni Evans (Pessac), and that lasted 33m, the other matches went from 12 to 22m....

"Did Tesni ever beat me? Not that I can remember, but we just had two hard 3/2. It's always big battles, and if the court was warm, it takes a good shot quite nicely as well!

It was a good and fair game, as ever, and I think it was a nice match to watch, as we played some good rallies, we both tried and move the other one about. A good spectators' match hopefully.

And I finished the match with a nice crosscourt nick, I don't play many of those lately.

Now, tomorrow, REVENGE!!! First of all, for last year's final and the European Cup Final, but also I never won against Camille, and she beat me in China, and she beat me in Cleveland, and she probably beat me somewhere else as well.... I was close here last year, 2/1 up and 9/6, not that I remember it... But she is tough....


It was interesting to see Pessac getting to the Play-offs semis, first time in their history, and Lorient's ladies, if they didn't threaten Mighty Créteil - who rested Camille - had a pretty good time, enjoying their matches thoroughly...

"I miss my flight yesterday, so it was a good thing that the matches had been postoned from 11am to 1pm, it allowed me to get the best flight option, instead of having to take the nigtht flight, and I arrived this morning around 11 am.

I had a bit of a light season, it's the second one since my operation where I never got the chance to get much of a run, so contrarily to most of the other players I'm not in desperate need of a rest, I feel quite fresh. I hope to get a decent run in and stay injury free next season"

I was a bit surprised how well I played today, for an end of a season for both of us really. We are not training as much of course, and it's interesting to see that we still have tools in the bag: so you can't rely on your fitness or speed.. what do you have?....

They say "expectations are the mother of all evils''. Well, today, I didn't have any, I just went on there, and I was happy to be on the court, and just did my best...

I was telling Greg how amazing I think he is, during the season, he is playing so much, he is getting to the finals, so it's 5 matches every tournament, getting sharper and sharper - some people think more and more tired, but I don't think you. That's the difference between the lower ranked - that just get more tired - and the best ones - just get better and sharper...

At this point in time, I have no expectations for next season. I'm just going to rest for a while, take a good break, trying to get in a good summer training, and I'll see how I feel at the start of the season...

"It's the end of the season, we are not 100%, everybody is not at their 100%, so it's good! But when you are at only 75%, it's not easy mentally to find the ressources to push yourself... Mentally and physically to be honest!

The season was very long and intense, it's getting more and more difficult to stay consistently at your best, so when you have the opportunity to get a few weeks off before the summer training, you grab the chance with both hands!

It would be good to finish the season with a victory and a trophy for the team, it's a completely different spirit, and I truly enjoy playing with that "Team Spirit".



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