The England Men had Brazil, Spain and San Marino in their group, in which they needed to finish 2nd for an automatic place in the finals. They started their campaign against Spain, a nation that is steadily increasing the number of players in their domestic leagues and also a nation that benefits from close proximity to some of the best teams in France based around Montpellier. The match ended with a victorious Spain, final score 13-4.
Having done their homework, England Men then knew that a win against San Marino was a must, considering that Brazil were contenders for the world title and would likely come out of the group in 1st position. The match against San Marino ended 13-10 with England’s first win, this was followed by an anticipated loss against Brazil 13-2 (the score not reflecting the hard fought match where another 6 games went to 45-45/deuce). Sadly this eliminated the England Men from a chance to play in the finals, but it did give them the opportunity to play in the placement matches.
The first of these placement matches was a playoff against Portugal whereby the winner would go on to play for 7th place, the loser for 9th place. England saw off Portugal in this playoff with a 13-4 win. This meant they would have their final match against Catalunya for 7th place. Historically, this match between England and Catalunya has been very one-sided in favour of the Catalans. When the match finished 13-7 against England, it was a clear sign of improvement but did mean that England had to settle for 8th place.
The England Ladies had France, Spain and Catalunya in their group. The first match was against France, one of the best teams in Ladies Tamburello. It was going to be a tough start but the England Ladies were able to take 2 games from France. Following this, in their second group stage match the Ladies faced Catalunya, it was a strong performance but the Catalans managed to close the match out with a victory over England 13-6.
This left Spain as the final match for England in their group, a match that they had to win in order to progress to the finals. With that in mind, the Ladies posted an emphatic win of 13-1 to secure their quarterfinal spot. The quarterfinal was then scheduled against Brazil, a nation that had not played in the Ladies competition in the past making it more difficult for the Ladies to have a game plan prior to the match. Despite this, and after what can only be described as an ‘epic’ match, England beat the Brazilian Ladies 13-8 to progress through to the semi-finals.
The semi-final was against France, a chance for England Ladies to post a better score than in their group stage match and that’s exactly what they did. The match ended with a France win 13-4, a great show of character for the England Ladies, raising their game against a very strong opponent. The final match for England was then a 3rd place playoff against the loser of the other semi-final, Catalunya. The Ladies were once again in with a chance of posting a better score against a team from the group stages and much more of a chance of beating Catalunya this time around to take a place on the podium. The final score was 13-8 to Catalunya, sadly a loss, however another extremely strong performance from England to close out the 2017 World Championships in 4th place.
The World Championship finals for both Men and Ladies were played between the dominant nations of France and Italy. The Ladies final started with France pulling away with a good lead of 3 games when both nations started with weaker teams (teams are allowed to register 8 players for a match with 3 playing on the court and up to 5 substitutes). If it were left like this France looked like they would finish the match as victors. However, Italy were first to bring on their star players and quickly levelled up the score. The pace of the match increased to another level, France responded by also bringing on their ‘A’ team which left the crowd on the edge of their seats for the rest of the match. Both teams put everything they had into their shots and wowed the crowd with a display of Indoor Tamburello to inspire a generation. Italy pulled ahead by taking the important marginal points to claim the title 13-10.
The Men's final started quite differently, with both nations starting straight away with their number 1 teams. The match was a hard-hitting spectacle from the first ball. Italy had started their star player who stood out amongst those on court as potentially the best player in the world. France responded by a show of solidarity to keep the score level until the final few games. With lots of support from a travelling crowd France pulled ahead in the final moments to claim victory over an extremely difficult opponent. The match ended 13-11.
What a way to end the year! A big thank you to Federació catalana de tamborí for organising such an incredible tournament.