European U17 Championships

Posted by Carissa Turner at 11:03 on 21 March 2016

The players had an early start yesterday and, after a morning of travelling, arrived in Lubin, Poland.

They went to the hall where they practised for an hour and a half to get used to the stadium which seats 5000 people. This stadium has hosted a number of top quality tournaments including the 2015 Polish International Series, 2015 European Junior Championships and is due to host the 2017 European Mixed Team Finals and 2018 European Club Championships.
After a good night's sleep the players had a light practice this morning to relieve their muscles of any left over stiffness from the travelling.

Joe Cottrill and Gean Sou Mo will be up first in the Mixed Doubles at 16:00 local time. They have a very tough draw facing first seeds Thom Gicquel and Vimala Heriau of France. The French have done particularly well in the team event having won all but one of their games so far losing in three sets to Denmark, but as a team the French secured themselves a Bronze Medal. However it is not an easy task to play both Team and Individual event and it is likely that the French will be weary. Both Joe and Gean have no fear of the task ahead and are going in to the match with fighting spirits.

Andrew Oates will also play his first round of Singles against Norwegian Markus Barth who has also been competing in the Team Event. where he lost both his singles against Ukraine and Hungary. Andrew has recently returned from a knee operation but he played very well at the Junior Nationals last weekend and should feel confident ahead of his match. Andrew's match will begin at 18:30 local time.

As Gean has a bye in her Singles she will play her first match on Tuesday. She has another tough draw facing 9/16 seed, Busra Unlu of Turkey. Turkey took a Bronze Medal in the Team Event, despite losing to Scotland in the group. However the only match Unlu has lost has been against England giving her a 4-1 win ratio so far.

Joe and Andrew will face Ukranians Dmytro Kovalov and Mykhalo Makhnovskiy on Tuesday at 18:00 local time. They only played one game together in the Team Event against Czech Republic which they lost in straight sets so Joe and Andrew will be looking forward to getting stuck in to their match.

There has been an opportunity for Gean to substitute for an injured Irish player in the Women’s Doubles. Rachel Woods became injured against France in the Team Event which means that Gean will play with Rebecca Woods. They will face Spanish pair Nolia Gestoso and Diaz Nerea who lost against England during the Team Event. After practising together this morning it looks like it will be a very exciting match.

Joe Cottrill said "I'm nervous but raring to get going, it's going to be a great experience to play in such a big stadium while playing against top European players."

You can follow the teams progress at http://tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament.aspx?id=A58C03C3-B5FF-4651-AD17-70ADC3AD934F 

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