Rachel Gee came from behind in the final to defeat Pierre Beaudry (BEL) by 3-7, 7-4, 7-5 to win the 2018 European GC Championship. Rachel had previously won the title in 2014. The Championship was full of surprises.
Based on recent form, the likely semi-finalists were the block winners, Andres Alvarez-Sala (ESP), Stephen Mulliner (ENG), Harry Dodge (ENG) and Ian Burridge (WAL), all of whom had won all seven of their block matches. In the event, not one of these four made it that far.
In the KO first round, Ian Burridge met the young Spaniard, Andres De Diego, in superb shooting and hoop-running form and lost 6-7, 7-2, 3-7. In the quarter-finals, Andres Alvarez-Sala lost to his fellow-countryman, Rafael Romero, 3-7, 7-5, 5-7 while Pierre Beaudry found his most inspired form to beat Harry Dodge 4-7, 7-2, 7-4. The young Irishman, Mark Stephens, who had played so well in the 2017 EGCC in Spain, beat Stephen Mulliner in a game 3 hoop 13 thriller by 7-4, 5-7, 7-6 to the dramatic accompaniment of a rapidly approaching thunderstorm.
All the while, Rachel Gee made quiet, steady progress and beat Andres De Diego in straight games to reach the semi-finals. These were less dramatic than the quarters and Rachel and Pierre defeated Rafael and Mark in two games.
The final began with Pierre in prime form and he soon took the opening game 7-3 and led 3-2 in the second. Rachel now rallied and squared the match 7-4. Pierre made an even better start in the decider and led 4-2. However, a long hoop 7 and long clearances before 8 and before 9 combined to turn the game and match in Rachel's favour.
It was an excellent performance under pressure and a very well-deserved victory. The club was very warmly thanked for its enthusiastic welcome and hospitality and the excellent state of the courts.