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Scotland gatecrash the semis on Day Two at Edgbaston as top seeds progress

The second day’s play of the 2019 European Team Championships at Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham saw all the Division One teams playing their third and final pool matches, with the outcomes determining the line-up of the semi-finals.

While women’s and men’s top seeds England and France confirmed their places in the last four, it was Scotland who stole the show with wins to back up yesterday’s upsets to also book both teams into the semi-finals. They’ll be joined by third seeds Spain (men) and Belgium (women).

The day opened with England’s men taking on Spain. In the opening match Iker Pajares took the game to Declan James, who fought back from losing the opening game and took the third and fourth on extra points. England took the next three matches more comfortably to record their third win and top Pool B at Spain’s expense.

In Pool A, Scotland, who had upset Germany then snatched a dramatic draw with top seeds France last night, despatched Hungary 4-0 to confirm their place in the semis. Meanwhile France fell behind to the Germans as Simon Rosner fought back from a game down to win. France’s Baptiste Masotti, as he did last night against the Scots, let a two game lead slip but this time recovered to take the fifth and put France back on track as they eased through the final two matches to top the group on games countback ahead of Scotland.

“We knew the pool stages would be tough without our top players, so we were ready for that,” said French manager Renan Lavigne. “We made it harder for ourselves with yesterday’s draw with Scotland but I’m proud of how the boys came back in today’s match to finish top of the group.”

The semi-final line-up is : 14.00 [1] France v [3] Spain, 17.00 [2] England v [5] Scotland

England’s women won their third straight Pool A match, beating the Netherlands three-nil, although Sarah-Jane Perry was taken to four games by Milou van der Heijden in the top string.

Second place would be taken by the winner of Wales and Scotland, and after the first two matches were shared a tense decider ensued. It was Scotland’s Georgia Adderley who prevailed, coming from a game down to beat Stacey Gooding for a second successive Scottish seeding upset and a semi-final spot.

“I feel privileged to be able to lead this team out for the semi-finals tomorrow,” said Scotland’s number one and captain Lisa Aitken, “they all inspire me in different ways. “It’s a pity I couldn’t win the second match so it went to a decider, but the team did great.

“We’re all ecstatic at the moment but we need to just try to hold it in so we can perform tomorrow.”

Second seeds France, who have met – and lost to – England in the last five women’s finals – also won for a third time, but Belgium came so close to creating a massive upset.

Tinne Gilis – who won the decider in their first two matches – put Belgium ahead, and then elder sister Nele took world #4 Camille Serme to the brink of defeat. Nele had game balls in the first, won the second then had game balls in the third before Camille took that 15-13 before taking the fourth. Melissa Alves wrapped up the match for the French.

The semi-final line-up is: 10.00 [1] England v [3] Belgium, 12.00 [2] France v [8] Scotland

With Scotland creating double upsets on Day 2, the last word goes to Scottish National Coach Paul Bell:

“This is what we’re aspiring to do, challenging at the major events and this is the first step. We’ve come with two young teams and for them both to reach the semis is a tremendous achievement. Hopefully we’re setting our stall out for the future.”

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