TODAY in Malmo ... Daily Updates
Sat 2nd, FINALS DAY:
After four days of non-stop squash it's finals day in Malmo.
The main events were once again England v France and England v
Netherlands, but there was a lot to play for as teams aimed to get
themselves the highest possible place, and potentially a better
draw for next year's event in Aix-en-Provence, France.
And the final result?
Another double for England ...
Schedule & Results
full results &
England 3-0 Netherlands
Alison Waters 3-0 Vanessa Atkinson
12/10, 14/12, 11/7 (35m)
Jenny Duncalf 3-2 Natalie Grinham
11/5, 11/7, 5/11, 8/11, 11/8
Laura L.Massaro 2-0 Annelize Naude
England 2-1 France
Alister Walker 3-0 Julien Balbo 11/1, 11/7, 14/12 (59m)
Nick Matthew 3-1 Gregory Gaultier
11/9, 8/11, 12/10, 11/5 (65m)
Peter Barker 0-3 Thierry Lincou
13/15, 7/11, 7/11
Adrian Grant 2-0 Renan Lavigne
Men's 3rd/4th: Wales 2-2 Netherlands
(Wales win on games)
Waters puts England ahead - just
Atkinson has had the pressure of being Dutch number one in the
last six finals. Today, relieved of that burden, she came so
close to giving Holland the lead with Natalie Grinham still to
Atkinson led the first 7/4, had game ball at 10/9, but Waters
just sneaked it to take the lead.
In the second the Dutch player looked like going two down as
Waters raced to a 10/4 lead. She may have eased up, but her
opponent didn't as she won the next seven points to earn another
game ball at 11/10.
Waters pulled herself together just in time to take the game
14/12, and was always ahead in the third to give England the
lead ... just.
Jenny does the trick
scene was set for Holland's new number one, Natalie Grinham to
level the match, setting up a decider ... but no-one told Jenny
Duncalf the script.
With Grinham hitting a few more tins than usual, Duncalf took a
two game lead and an early finish to the final was on the cards.
But the Dutchwoman started to find her range, making her
opponent move after those lovely flicks, drops and lobs she
plays so well. She took the third fairly comfortably, held a
slender lead throughout the fourth, finishing with a lovely long
drop to level the match.
The decider was tense all the way, neither could make that
decisive break. With both teams urging their player on, it was
Jenny who edged ahead, 8-6, 9-7. A stroke brought it back to
9-8, but two long drops into the tin from Natalie, and England
had retained the title.
"I got a good start with Natalie clipping the tin a bit, but I
tried to stay as focused as I could to keep the momentum. I
dropped my length a bit from the third, and she was putting in
some good angles, I was just trying to hang in there and go
short when I could.
"The fifth was pretty tense, I was pleased to see those last two
shots hit the tin.
"You have to do what you can for the team - Al played really
well in the first, gave me the best possible platform, and I'm
just thrilled to bits to win it for the team today!"
getting that lead in the second I just sat back and waited for
the game to come to me, but when she made it all the way back I
thought 'oh my God'!
"I was very relieved to win the second, coming from two-nil down
is hard for anyone, especially in a final.
"In the third I just tried to not think about what happened in
the second and concentrated on winning each point as it came.
"We've all been working hard on a lot of things, after what
happened in Cairo, so it's great to give the team a good start
Walker puts England one up
The French plan these past eight years in their finals against
England has been for their numbers one and two to win three-nil
and for their three or four to sneak a game, giving them the win
Sometimes the playing order has worked against them, and
England's strength in depth always has, but today represents a
good chance for them to realise that plan.
Alister Walker made sure it wasn't to happen in the first match
though, as he beat Julien Balbo in an increasingly-difficult
three games - the first was easy, the second not quite so, and
the third anything but.
A few points down in the third, Balbo stuck in, started playing
really well, and caught up. At 7-6 there were a number of tough
rallies, all ending in lets, and thereafter the rallies stayed
tough, the tension palpable in the packed arena.
The Frenchman led 9/7, but Walker pulled it back, and led 10/9,
11/10, 12/11. Each time Julien put in enormous effort to save
the match, but at 13/12 hit his return straight back at himself
to end a titanic game in slightly anticlimatic fashion.
Not that Alister cared ... his England were one up ...
pushed hard, played really solid squash and I had to work extra
hard to take the third, it was really close all the way from the
middle of that game.
"It's my first big match in the shirt - you set your standards
so you know you're good enough to play for your country, but
it's always tense until you've actually done it.
"I'm delighted to win, especially to get off in three as that
could be the difference between winning and losing in the end
... the pressure's on the French now ...
Matthew doubles the lead
"I didn't really dominate much of that mach, did I," said Nick
Matthew after beating new world number two Gregory Gaultier to
double England's lead.
It may not have been one of Matthew's smoother performances, but
it was certainly one of his grittiest, as he stuck with the
Frenchman throughout a tough 21-minute first game, taking it at
Gaultier levelled, and led 7/2 in the third, but more determined
play from the Englishman - "I was just hanging in there for a
lot of the time, and at that point I told myself to make him win
it, give nothing away" - pulled the lead back, saved a game ball
and again he took it at the first opportunity.
The fourth started as another tight game, but from 5-all a
couple of errors from the Frenchman put Matthew ahead, and the
game seemed to quickly slip away from Gaultier.
"There's no plan," said Matthew afterwards, "you just have to go
on and try as hard as you can in every game. I'm just pleased to
win after not playing my best squash, and to put the team in
with a great chance of winning again ..."
His team needed two more games to be sure ...
Thierry pulls one back
Peter Barker has just overtaken Thierry Lincou in the world
rankings, and he beat the Frenchman in the equivalent match last
year, so although France really needed a 3/0 win from their
talisman to stay in contention, it wasn't going to be easy
got even harder when the Englishman led 8/2 and 10/7 in the
third, but Lincou is renowned for his capacity to come back from
deficits, and he showed again just how good he is at it.
Refusing to lose, he finally took the first 15/13 as Barker hit
a couple of crucial tins at the end of the game.
Confidence back in his veins - "I was nervous at the start, I
didn't feel I was up enough for a 3/0 win I needed, but after
taking that game I believed I could do it" - the Frenchman held
sway for the next two games, taking both 11/7 and France was
back in the hunt ... as Thierry said, "I'm just glad the show
has to go on ..."
Grant finishes it off
France needed Renan Lavigne to win. 3/0 and the title was
theirs, 3/1 and it went to points countback, anything less and
England would retain the title.
how he tried - as he always does. There was nothing between them
in the first game, and the Frenchman came within a point of
taking it, at 10/9. But the "tie-breaks" had been going
England's way today, and so it was again as Grant took it 13/11.
The second was a carbon copy, nothing in it, great effort from
both players and great tension all around. The England team
might have worked out how many points they needed in this game,
but if they had they didn't tell Adrian.
This time he got to 10/9 first, but Renan saved it. A second
chance for Adrian and Renan hit his return into the tin and the
England bench applauded, knowing they'd won but not quite sure
whether to celebrate properly yet.
France's manager Andre Delhoste came across to shake the hand of
David Pearson and the England team, and the celebrations could
ok at the start of each game, but as I got nearer to game ball
the tension just got to me, I really seized up, I've never felt
anything like that in PSA or other matches, this was completely
"But the rest of the team had put in a good effort to get us
that close, so you have to do them justice.
"We were missing one of our best players but still did the job,
which is great credit to the team spirit we have - the boys and
the girls together - and the support we get from DP and the rest
of the team, which is just immense, they help us perform in
these situations, keep us relaxed and allow us to play our
Scotland claim 9th
prelude to the finals on the glass court was the women's
9th/10th playoff between Scotland and Spain.
Spain took the lead when Xisela Aranda came from a game down to
beat Claire Kidd, but Scotland levelled when Frania Gillen-Buchert
beat Elisabet Sado in three close games at the top string.
The decider was a thriller, with Lisa Aitken saving one match
ball before beating Margaux Moros 12/10 in the fifth.