Leamington’s Kelly Sibley was disappointed to see 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 17th to 32nd, England started in good style with a 3-0 win over Finland.
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, coming from 2-0 down to beat Angeliki Papadaki 3-2 (8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9) but, after the next two matches were shared, she on the wrong end of an 11-4, 11-4, 13-11 scoreline against Aikaterini Toliou. Greece took the deciding rubber to win it 3-2.
The former Lillington Free Church player won both matches against Belgium as England triumphed 3-1 to finish second in the group but lost her two rubbers in the positional play-off defeat to Slovenia.
Victory at a canter against Chiara Colantoni (11-3, 11-2, 11-7) helped claim a 3-2 win over Italy to set up a final match against Lithuania for 21st position 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.”