[last update was 24-nov-00 ]
England versus Australia for the title...
Squashtalk News © 2000
11.23.00 by Colin McQuillan
Eye Group Women's World Open Squash Championship, Sheffield, UK
Still Make Seventh, But USA Can Only Try For 17th
Germany will face South Africa for fifth place while Canada resight on seventh against France on finals day. Ninth place will be contested between Scotland and Hong Kong and 11th between Denmark and Malaysia.
The USA is still going strong at the head of the 17th Place Play-off Pool on games difference from Spain, having beaten Wales 3-0 today, but the last day will decide things. They play Spain for 17th place.
At the other end of the field England can thank their late recruits for reaching the final of the with a 2-1 semi-final victory over New Zealand, while Australia can thank Robyn Cooper for their similarly tight win over Egypt. After Linda Charman lost the 29 minute first string rubber 4-9 0-9 8-10 to Leilani Joyce, the world number one and British Open Champion, the top seeded home team were hauled back into contention by 21-year-old Tania Bailey with a 27 minute 9-2 9-1 9-2 second string victory over Shelley Kitchen and then carried into the final by Stephanie Brind's 7-9 9-1 9-5 9-6 third string win over Sarah Cook.
"It is good to have our new generation of England players doing the job for us," said England Team Manager Matt Hammond. "We knew from the start that this match would stand or fall on Steph's performance and she delivered wonderfully well against a very strong opponent."
Brind, a 23-year-old from Bexley in Kent, is a notoriously moody performer and, when she let a 7-1 lead slip away in the 17 minute first game without scoring another point, faces on the England bench began to tighten. She started the second game with a teasing backhand drop shot, however, to show that she fully understood the need to make the tall, big-hitting Cook bend and twist into the front court. Six minutes later she had the rubber levelled with the New Zealander serving only five times, and by the fourth game was able to cruise home from 1-1 in just two hands against a tiring opponent.
Charman, the world number three who celebrated her 29th birthday on Thursday and is carrying a slight hamstring problem, came into this championship knowing that she faced the likelihood of defeat in the later stages once the squad lost the services of the injured former world champion Cassie Campion at first string and Sue Wright at third string.
Responsibilty for retaking the title they last won in 1990 was always going to rest with the players wearing England shirts for the first time in a world event. There was some debate among the England coaches as to whether Brind or the more experienced Rebecca Macree would be the best option against Cook, a rugged and skilful operator who has been out of the game for a year with her first child but was good enough in the recent past to pick off the New Zealand national title.
Bailey, a former world junior champion now making her way into the world top ten at senior level, was always a secure second string and duly delivered her point with admirable efficiency..
The equation will be almost identical in the final, with Australia, the second seeded defending champions, emerging 2-1 winners from the second semi-.final against a young Egyptian side contesting their first semi-final in the event.
Charman will face Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the former world champion, who today put Salma Shabana off the court for a single point in just 15 minutes. Bailey will almost certainly improve upon Maha Zein's 41 minute 7-9 9-2 9-0 9-6 win over Natalie Grinham at second string.
And the title will be decided in the thirds string rubber where tonight Robyn Cooper produced as clinical a destruction of Omneya Abdel Kawy as her team mates could have desired. Kawy, the 15-year-old world junior runner-up this year, has been causing all sorts of trouble at third string all week.
Cooper tucked her away 9-6 9-5 9-0 in 28 minutes. There is something of Chris Dittmar about the 28-year-old from Brisbane. She is right handed, of course, and more blonde than ginger, but she has the same hunched approach to the shot and the same shimmering foot movement as the great Adelaide redhead.
She was world number 12 back in 1996 but she disliked the travel of pro-play and gave it up in 1998 to take over the Malaysian women's squad. She was put up as manager/coach for the Aussie team for this event, although Ken Watson is travelling with them also, and when World Champion Carol Owens, former world junior champion Rachael Grinham and veteran Liz Irving refused to play for Australia, she found herself drafted in as third string behind Fitz-Gerald and Natalie Grinham.
They called up Laura Keating too, but she has not been given a run all week. On tonight's evidence, Cooper looks a stronger bet than Grinham. England's late recruits may be hard pressed to take the title away from this oddly assorted Australian group.
For the latest results go to www.squashtalk.com/womensworld
Eye Group Women's World Team Squash Championship At The Hallamshire Club in Sheffield
First Round Results:
Quarter-final Results :
Semi-final Results :
Fifth Place Play-offs:
Ninth Place Play-offs:
13th Play-offs: Netherlands 3 Brazil 0 Switzerland 3 Ireland 0
17th Place Play-offs:
USA 3 Wales 0
Semi-final programme :
Fifth Place Play-offs :
Ninth Place Play-offs:
17th Place Play-offs