International Focus
by Jeremy and Heather Dhondy

The European Championships 2010 took place in Ostend on Wednesday 23 June 2010, and both Heather and Jeremy Dhondy have sent a report for Tournament Focus on how their teams did.

Women’s Team

The women’s team, featuring four of the six who had won the World Championships in Beijing (Nicola Smith & Sally Brock, Nevena Senior & Heather Dhondy), plus a pair of new stars (Susan Stockdale & Fiona Brown), went to Ostend with high hopes of qualifying for the World Championships, if not winning a medal.

We remained in a qualifying position throughout the tournament, and were contending for a medal right up to the last match, but other results did not go our way, and despite losing very few matches we just slipped out of the medals. Qualifying comfortably, we hope to go one better in the World Championships and bring home a medal.

The NPC was Richard Bowdery, and the coach was David Burn.

Open Team

The Open Team went to Ostend in the hope of at least qualifying for the World Championship to be held in the Netherlands in 2011. To do this they needed to finish in the first seven.

There are so many countries in the European Open section these days that, rather like the Eurovision Song Contest, a single round robin is too long so the countries are divided into two evenly balanced sections of about 20 countries each. From each of these the leading nine qualify for the second round robin and the rest go home. Despite a wobble or two on the way we did qualify for the final round robin.

Each country carries forward its scores against the teams from its own group and plays a further nine matches against the teams from the other groups. We started ok in this round robin and, with five matches to go, still had a reasonable chance of qualifying, but a bad loss against Germany effectively ended our chances.

A review showed we did well for the most part in scoring against the weaker teams (fewer of these than there used to be) but had too many big losses against the leading teams. Our final position of 12th was one place better than the last championship, but there is some work to do if we are to make it in two years time.

Our open team was: Jason & Justin Hackett, David Gold & Tom Townsend, Nick Sandqvist & Andrew McIntosh. NPC was Jeremy Dhondy, and the coach was Simon Cope.

The Dhondys