by Simon Daish
The early signs were promising for Russia, who took the lead with Lev Katsman’s blistering performance against Bastien Rembert (11-3, 11-8, 11-8) but resilient Irvin Bertrand denied the 2017 runners up the opportunity to extend the advantage, seeing off Vladimir Sidorenko across five games (11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9) to restore parity.
Leo De Nodrest’s four games victory over Maksim Grebnev (11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10) put France in control of the scoreboard for the first time in the match before a simply stunning three games to nil win for Bastien Rembert in his encounter with Vladimir Sidorenko (11-7, 11-9, 11-8) finished the job.
Success in Cluj-Napoca sees France lift the Junior Boys’ Team trophy for a 10th time and while the 3-1 win in the final proved to be a memorable occasion for the country, Irvin Bertrand outlined the 3-2 quarter-finals win against Azerbaijan as the key moment in the campaign.
“The toughest one was in the quarters against Azerbaijan. We had to go the full five matches!” Irvin Bertrand
“It was an amazing match. I did not commence good because there were a lot of pressure on me and I couldn’t play my game. After I lost I felt very bad, but Irvin brought us back to 1-1 and then I could be more free in the last match.” Bastien Rembert
For the host nation the Junior Boys’ Team event ended in style with the line-up of Rares Sipos, Cristian Pletea and Dragos Florin Opera emerging as 3-1 winners over Germany, securing the bronze medal in the process.