England U20s have won the Channel Trophy in spectacular style.
Ben Norton & Sam Behrens, Kripa Panchagnula & Jonathan Clark and Liam Sanderson & Daniel Winter (see picture here) won every match, and led from start to finish in a tremendous display of quality and aggression at the event held over the weekend of 18th-20th December at the headquarters of the Dutch Bridge Federation in Utrecht.
They came back from 15 imps down to beat France in the first match before demolishing the Netherlands 77-11 on vu graph on Friday night. Two solid wins against Belgium and another crushing of the Dutch meant they had a small cushion over France, who had won every other match to be hot on their heels. In the final match England built up a good lead and held on to win the match and the Channel Trophy.
This was an England Under 20 debut for Kripa and Jonathan, Ben and Sam have been capped many times and Liam and Daniel played in Tromso for the U15 team. This was a first win for all 6 players who acquitted themselves tremendously.
In the U25 event England - Shivam Shah & Freddie Illingworth; Alex Roberts & Ankush Khandelwal; Toby Nonnenmacher & Michael Alishaw (see picture here) - had a chance going into the final match but couldn't maintain their early lead against leaders France, and finished 3rd.
In the U25 women's event England (see picture here) fielded 3 young players, Jasmine Bakhshi, Megan Jones and Liz Gahan who were the youngest ever to represent their country along with two older, and more experienced players, Laura Covill and Katy Lee, and Helen Holmes, who was making her debut. Although they started very slowly they gained in momentum as the event went on and in the final matched destroyed the Belgium team to finish in 3rd place.
The NPCs were Alan Shillitoe (U25s), Michael Byrne (U20s), Sarah O'Connor (U25 women).