October 27th, 2016

Kelly Sibley left disappointed with England showing

Kelly Sibley left disappointed with England showing Kelly Sibley left disappointed with England showing

LEAMINGTON’s Kelly Sibley has spoken of her disappointment after seeing history repeat itself as England’s women finished 22nd at the European Championships in Russia.

Playing in the second-tier Challenge Division for countries ranked 17-32, England started in good style with a 3-0 win over Finland with Sibley contributing with a 3-0 victory over Anna Kirichenko (11-8, 11-8, 11-7).

But, as they had at last year’s event in Lisbon, Greece proved England’s downfall with an identical 3-2 scoreline.

Sibley made the perfect start after coming from 2-0 down to beat Angeliki Papadaki 3-2 (8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9) and, after the next two matches were shared, Sibley was back on court against Aikaterini Toliou.

But this time she found herself on the wrong end of an 11-4, 11-4, 13-11 scoreline and Greece took the deciding rubber to win it 3-2.

Sibley then won both matches against Belgium by beating Lisa Lung 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-3) and Nathalie Marchetti 3-2 (11-3, 11-7, 7-11, 7-11, 11-6) as England won 3-1 to finish second in the group.

The first positional play-off was against Slovenia, and Sibley lost the first rubber 3-1 to Alex Galic (4-11, 9-11, 11-3, 4-11). Her 3-2 defeat to Manca Fajmut (11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-1, 8-11) then sealed the match result.

England bounced back to beat Italy 3-2, with Sibley winning at a canter over Chiara Colantoni (11-3, 11-2, 11-7) but losing to Denisa Zancaner in four sets (11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 5-11).

That set up a final match against Lithuania for 21st and 22nd positions and, with Sibley left out of the starting line-up, England lost 3-1.

“I’m a little bit disappointed overall,” said Sibley, who competed alongside Karina Le Fevre, Maria Tsaptsinos and Lois Peake in a team missing Commonwealth Games silver medallist Tin-Tin Ho through injury.

“To lose to Greece again 3-2 like we did last year is very disappointing but then I thought we bounced back quite well.

“The same day we had a very important match against Belgium where I thought we picked ourselves up and played very, very well.

“I’m personally very disappointed with the match against Slovenia to lose 3-1. I thought we had a great chance to take it through to finish in the top 20.

“So I’m a bit disappointed but I thought the team did well under the circumstances, really.”