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Commonwealth
Games ’06 Preview

    

March
15,
2006: by Dan Kneipp (kah-nipe)      

[See also: Background
of the Commonwealth Games
]

saudi intl
Palmer and White find themselves
in the same quarter in Melbourne (photo © 2006
Debra Tessier.

As
we mentioned in the brief history of the Commonwealth Games, 71 different
nations are taking part in this sporting event, all connected via Britain’s
conquering and exploration era.

We
don’t have 71 nations being represented in squash, but a lot
that you certainly don’t normally see. The twenty-five nations
vying for three medals
are:

Australia
(4), Bermuda (2), British virgin islands (1), Canada (4), Cayman Islands
(1), Dominica (2), England (4), Fiji (2), Guernsey (1), Guyana (2),
Jamaica (1), Kenya (4), Malawi (2), Malaysia (2), Malta (1), Mauritius
(1), Northern Ireland (1), Pakistan (2), Scotland (2), South Africa
(4), Sri Lanka (2), St Vincent & The
Grenadines (2), Trinidad and Tobago (2), Wales (3), Zambia (1).

Can you tell me the last time you saw a squash player from Malawi in
the draw? Or half of those countries?

The biggest team by far is Bye (11), with most seeded players getting
an easy start. Unlike all professional tournament (or at least those
tournaments worth more than US$1000) this tournament begins with two
matches on the first day, making a bye considerably more valuable. But
like some of the pool matches at the World Team Championships, a lot
of the victories in the first couple of rounds will be fast and very
one sided.

Here’s
how each quarter pans out:

1st Quarter
(1
)
David Palmer (Aus) – bye
David Evans (Wal) v Hardeep Reel (Ken)

(14) Shahier Razik (Can) v Yasir Issadeen (Sri)
Chris Simpson (Gue)
v Navin Samarasinghe (Sri)

(6) John White (Sco) – bye
Nicholas Kyme (Ber) v Chikumbutso Mkutumula (Maw)

(16) Joseph Kneipp (Aus) v Joseph Chapman (Bvi)
Joseph Desira (Mlt)
v Shawn Badrinath (Guy)

David
Evans hasn’t played PSA for a few years now, but he can
still hit a mean ball. Although he won’t beat Palmer, he may cause
him some trouble if Palmer hasn’t recuperated from the illness that sidelined
him in New York.

Razik
will get a good work out, playing Simpson who is ranked 1 in Britain
for U19. White will have to work, but won’t
be troubled by Kyme, and the battle of the Josephs (nice of them to
put us all together) should go to Kneipp.

Who
can win gold out of this quarter? White should be considered here,
but if I was a bookie I’d only put Palmer down as the option. The
9 scoring system used in WSF events gives an advantage to the attritional
players who only concede hand outs. This is not Whitey (although it’s
not Palmer either, but his game is more adaptable and consistent)

2nd Quarter
(3)
Anthony Ricketts (Aus) – bye
Maxim Weithers (Guy) v Colin Ramasra (Tri)

(10)
Stewart Boswell (Aus) – bye
Steve Richardson (Nir) v Joshua Pinard (Tri)

(5)
Lee Beachill (Eng) – bye
Craig van der Wath (Rsa) v Nadeem Hosenbux (Mri)

(13) Alex Gough (Wal) v Colin Alexander (Svg)
James Stout (Ber) v Joseph
Karigithe (Ken)

saudi intl
Willstrop and Matthew are drawn in
the same quarter
(photo © 2006
Debra Tessier.

The
England camp was reported to be very happy with the draw they received,
whooping and shouting when it was announced. I don’t get this.
I think it’s a particularly bad draw for both England and Australia,
with both teams’
four players bunched up in the same half, with the exception of Beachill.
I can only interpret England’s reaction to be a response to a pessimistic
worry of two Australia’s making the final (which doesn’t
make sense to me on the strength of the English team, so I’ve probably
misinterpreted it) because the chances of an all-England final are lower
with only one player holding the fort at the top half. If Beachill does
make the final he will have done a mammoth job to get there, having to
get past a tough South African, a rejuvenated Welshman, Ricketts and
then Palmer (in theory of course).

Ricketts
and Boswell are seeded to meet each other (again!) in the second round.
A bad draw for two mates, but it’ll be a
tough, enjoyable match.

Who can win gold out of this quarter? It’s a tough quarter to come out
of.
Boswell hasn’t shown the consistency lately, so I’d only
put Ricketts and Beachill down, but they’d deserve two medals if
they can do it.

3rd Quarter
Clinton Leeuw (Rsa) v Jeffery Broderick (Cay)
(12) Graham Ryding (Can) v Karl Nassief (Dmn)

Christopher Binnie (Jam) v Leonard Bedneau (Dmn)
(8) Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Mas) – bye

Matthew Giuffre (Can) v Andrew McGoon (Fij)
(11) Shahid Zaman (Pak) – bye

Rodney Durbach (Rsa) v Chirag Shah (Ken)
(4) Peter Nicol (Eng) – bye

Ryding has a tough second round in upcoming, but relatively unknown
South African player Clinton Leeuw, a player who took a game off Nick
Matthew at the World Teams last year (never an easy task). The winner
will take on an in-form Iskander. Nicol will have some work to do, but
he should comfortably meet Ryding or Iskandar in the quarters.

Who
can win gold out of this quarter? Nicol. If he does it wouldn’t
surprise me if he hung his PSA boots up immediately, finishing on a major
high.

4th Quarter
Shawn Delierre (Can) v Sonalmeet Nagra (Fij)
(9) Ong Beng Hee (Mas) – bye

Lazarus Chilufya (Rsa) v Aubrey Taulo (Maw)
(7) Nick Matthew (ENG) – bye

Hartaj Bains (Ken) v O’Neil Chilambwe (Zam)
(15) Mansoor Zaman (Pak) v Gavin Jones (Wal)

Harry Leitch (Sco) v James Bentick (Svg)
(2) James Willstrop (Eng) – bye

Ong
Beng Hee will have his work cut out preventing this quarter being a
Willstrop versus Matthew showdown. Both these players are capable of
winning gold in Melbourne.

Kneipp’s
SquashTalk Forum

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