England coach Campion optimistic after strong showing from young stars

To the casual observer, one might expect the feeling among the England Team that exited the WSF Women’s World Team Championship in the semi-finals stage to be one of disappointment.

After all, this year’s tournament represented the first time England had failed to make a final since 1994, ending a run of 13 consecutive title ties.

Speak to any member of the squad, though, and it is clear that the belief is that this championship represented an achievement and groundwork is being laid for another great England team, one that could perhaps rival the likes of the 2014 championship winning side of Laura Massaro, Alison Waters, Sarah-Jane Perry and Emma Beddoes.

England’s Commonwealth Games champion Georgina Kennedy was forced to withdraw from the championship shortly before it began

England’s preparation for the tournament was hamstrung by injuries sustained before and during the tournament.

Georgina Kennedy, the breakout star of England Squash last season who rose an incredible 162 places from World No.170 in June 2021 to World No.8 in July 2022, was forced to withdraw on the eve of the championship due to injury and illness.

England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry, meanwhile, struggled with injury throughout the championship and played only two matches in Egypt, with the 32-year-old missing from the semi-final clash with USA.

In Perry’s stead, though, England’s two young stars Jasmine Hutton and Lucy Turmel showed plenty to suggest that there is a lot more to come from this England side.

Lucy Turmel takes on Coline Aumard on the indoor court at Madinaty Sporting Club

For England, the high water mark of this year’s championship was the quarter-final with France.

Having been upset by Hong Kong, China in the last tie of the pool stage, England made the worst possible start against their European rivals when the struggling Perry lost 3-1 to France’s Melissa Alves.

Turmel and Hutton then put on a scintillating rescue act, with Turmel coming back from a game down to beat former World No.20 Coline Aumard 3-1.

Then came Jasmine Hutton, up against former World No.2 Camille Serme.

Despite Serme’s great experience advantage at World Teams – with the 33-year-old competing in her eighth championships in Madinaty – Hutton turned in a brilliant performance, later labelled by England National Coach David Campion “the best of her career, by a country mile,” as she stormed past Serme 11-4, 11-5, 11-4.

Hutton in action against World No.5 Amanda Sobhy

In the semi-final against USA, with the playing order 3-1-2, Hutton pushed World No.5 Amanda Sobhy hard after World No.49 Julianne Courtice had lost out to World No.15 Sabrina Sobhy, Amanda’s younger sister, 3-0.

The Englishwomen took the game to the American hard in the opener, just as she had against Serme, and was rewarded with a 12-10 victory.

Hutton came close to earning a valuable 2-0 lead in game two before eventually losing out 13-11, with the experienced American then charging on to close out the match and tie with more routine victories in the final two games.

England National Coach David Campion talks with his team after the victory over France

Looking back on the performance of the team, in particular the 23-year-old duo Hutton and Turmel, Campion expressed hope for the future.

“With SJ carrying a couple of issues, we felt it was the best thing to give the team [the experience of playing the semi-final against USA without their No.1].

“I think particularly Jazz, with the way she played, it was important for her to come in second. She gave a great account of herself.

“We felt that with the way Jazz is playing, and the way she played against Serme, then there was no reason why she couldn’t produce that again and I think for two-and-a-half games she did and I’m pleased for her to have produced that level at this stage.

“We’ve got some great younger players now, Georgina [Kennedy], Lucy [Turmel], Jazz and there’s Katie Malliff at home and loads of juniors behind that and other players pushing into the top 50. The future’s bright for sure. We’re going to have a good young team over the next few years.”