02-Oct, Day SEVEN,
 AUSTRALIA bt  ENGLAND 2-0
Rachael Grinham bt Cassie Jackman 3-9, 9-5, 6-9, 9-1, 9-5(75m)
Natalie Grinham bt Linda Elriani
9-4, 9-7, 9-2 (42m)
Amelia Pittock v Fiona Geaves not played
Grinhams Beat England To Secure
World Title For Australia
Harding reports from Amsterdam
Rachael and Natalie Grinham clinched the Women's World Team
Squash Championships title for Australia for the eighth time in the
event's history with a 2/0 victory over England in today's final at
the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.
It was the eleventh time, the old rivals had met in the final, and
the sixth consecutive occasion, with
Australia seeded to beat the second seeds in the climax on the glass
centre court at the impressive new 21-court complex in the
Rachael Grinham, the world No1 from Toowoomba who is based in Cairo,
twice had to come from behind to overcome England's Cassie
Jackman, the world No2, in the opening match. The capacity crowd
was treated to squash of the highest quality as 27-year-old Grinham,
the older of the two sisters, ultimately conquered Jackman 3-9 9-5
6-9 9-1 9-5 in 75 minutes.
England were unable to force the tie into a decider when Natalie
Grinham, the world No4 who is based in the host city, beat the
England No2 Linda Elriani 9-4 9-7 9-2 to retain the title for
manager and coach Michelle Martin, who six years ago led
Australia to the title in Germany, was delighted with her team's
performance: "All I really had to do was convince Rachael and
Natalie that they could do it, reminding them that you don't get to
one and four in the world without ability."
A subdued Cassie Jackman, who was competing in the event for the
first time after an eight-year absence through injury - and played
her last match in the 1996 final against Martin - rued the fact that
she is now unlikely ever to win this crown: "I can't see myself
playing this again in two years time, and I'm gutted that I've never
won this title even though my team-mates have."
Kiwis clinch third
In the play-off for third place, sixth seeds New Zealand beat
Egypt, the fourth seeds, 2-0. Victories by both the NZ No1
Shelley Kitchen and national champion Tamsyn Leevey gave the
underdogs the bronze medal.
The result meant that the top four finishing positions was identical
to the last championship, in Denmark in 2002.
In the medal ceremony following the final, Dutch Olympic Committee
Chairman Erica Terpstra congratulated squash on being
selected as one of five new sports being considered for the 2012
Olympic Games. "It's such a spectacular sport and so marvellous to
watch - it would truly be a pearl amongst the Olympic sports."
Maaij, Alderman of the City of Amsterdam, made a special
presentation from the city to the 'Player of the Championships'.
award was presented to Tenille Swartz, the 17-year-old South
African No4 who was making her debut for her country at the event.
Tenille won three out of her six matches whilst fully stretching the
three world-ranked players to whom she lost - and resumes her school
studies immediately on her return to Parys in Free State.
Malaysia secured their best ever finish after winning the battle
for fifth place against hosts Netherlands. Squad No1 Nicol
David prevailed 10-8 9-10 10-9 9-5 in a 57-minute top-string
clash with world No3 Vanessa Atkinson to put the sixth seeds
ahead, before Tricia Chuah beat Karen Kronemeyer 9-7
5-9 9-6 9-3 in the dramatic 51-minute decider.
"It was a fantastic win for us as this
is our best finish in the tournament. The moment Nicol won, we knew
that we could upset Netherlands," said Raymond Arnold, the
Ireland claimed the seventh place play-off to record their
best result in 14 years and USA finished in eighth place for
the first time for ten years.
01-Oct, Day SIX,
AUSTRALIA bt  EGYPT 3-0
Rachael Grinham bt Omneya A/Kawy 6-9,9-5,10-8,9-5 (59m)
Natalie Grinham bt Engy Kheirallah 9-2, 9-0 (13m)
Amelia Pittock bt Eman El Amir 10-8, 10-8, 9-4 (41m)
 ENGLAND bt  NEW ZEALAND 3-0
Cassie Jackman bt Shelley Kitchen 9-4, 9-5, 9-4 (42m)
Linda Elriani bt Tamsyn Leevey 9-6, 9-6 (28m)
Fiona Geaves bt Louise Crome 9-4, 9-4, 9-1 (29m)
Australia & England To Meet
In Eleventh World Final
Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam
Favourites Australia and second seeds England will
meet in the final of the Women's World Team Squash Championships for
the eleventh time after convincing 3/0 victories in today's
semi-finals at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.
Pittock sets Aussies off
Third string Amelia Pittock gave Australia the perfect start
against Egypt, beating the fourth seeds' Eman El Amir, ranked
three places lower in the world, 10-8 10-8 9-4 in 41 minutes.
With world No1 Rachael Grinham then due to take on the
Egyptian No1 Omneya Abdel Kawy, ranked ten places below,
Australia's place in the final seemed assured. However, the
19-year-old world junior champion from Cairo took the opening game
against the best player in the world, and had two game balls in the
third to take a 2/1 lead.
Grinham senior maintained her composure however and swept to her
sixth successive win in the tournament by beating Kawy 6-9 9-5 10-8
9-5 in 59 minutes to put Australia into their tenth final in a row.
Rachael's younger sister Natalie Grinham took just 13 minutes
to maintain the team's clean sheet in the event, beating Engy
Kheirallah 9-2 9-0 in the dead rubber.
"Omneya played really well tonight, putting us under pressure for
the first time in the event," conceded Australia's team manager and
coach Michelle Martin, the former world No1 and three-times
world champion. "But Rachael came through well in the end - and I
was particularly pleased with the way Amelia played in the opening
rubber, against a tough opponent."
Geaves gets England under way
In the second semi-final, it was again the third strings that put
the early shape on the tie as veteran English star Fiona Geaves
gave the second seeds the first point against New Zealand
with a 9-4 9-4 9-1 victory over the sixth seeds' Louise Crome.
Cassie Jackman, the England No1, was next on court - eager to
make up for her disappointing showing 24 hours earlier against Dutch
No1 Vanessa Atkinson. The world No2 showed New Zealand's
Shelley Kitchen, unbeaten at the Frans Otten Stadion so far, no
mercy - and clinched England's sixth successive place in the final
with a 9-4 9-5 9-4 triumph over the world No14 in 42 minutes.
"I'm just so happy I put in a performance like that after what
happened yesterday," said the beaming Jackman afterwards. "After not
being involved with this event for the past six years because of
injury, it's so good to be back with the team again and now I just
can't wait for tomorrow."
In the dead third rubber, Linda Elriani beat New Zealand's
Tamsyn Leevey 9-6 9-6 in 28 minutes.
Scots still suffering
New Zealand and Egypt will meet in the play-off for third place,
with Egypt one day away from their best ever finish in the event.
Fifth seeds Malaysia will take on hosts Netherlands in
the play-off for fifth place, guaranteed to improve on their
previous best seventh place finish - while seventh seeds Scotland,
who beat France 2-1, will do battle against Denmark in
the play-off for 13th place in the knowledge that this will be the
team's worst ever finish in 12 appearances in the championships.
AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND
3rd place play-off:
EGYPT v NEW ZEALAND
5th place play-off:
NETHERLANDS v MALAYSIA
7th place play-off:
IRELAND v USA
9th place play-off:
CANADA v SOUTH AFRICA
11th place play-off:
BELGIUM v HONG KONG
13th place play-off:
SCOTLAND v DENMARK
15th place play-off:
FRANCE v SWITZERLAND
Jackman clinches it
Scotland beat France
30-Sep, Day FIVE,
 AUSTRALIA 3-0  MALAYSIA
 EGYPT 2-1  IRELAND
 NEW ZEALAND 3-0  USA
 ENGLAND 2-1  NETHERLANDS
Elriani Saves England In
Dramatic World Quarter-Final
Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam
In a dramatic last quarter-final of the night in the Women's World
Team Squash Championships at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam,
England stalwart Linda Elriani fought back from 0/2 down in
the deciding match against hosts Netherlands to win the tie for the
second seeds and prevent England from finishing outside the top four
for the first time in the history of the tournament.
England, five-times former champions, will now face New Zealand for
a place in the final, while the other semi-final will feature
favourites Australia, the defending champions and seven-times
winners of the title, against fourth seeds Egypt.
England Late for Dutch Date
In far from ideal preparation of the important tie ahead, the
England team arrived at the venue only minutes before the first
match was due to start, as the result of a road accident on the
route from the team hotel. Team No1 Cassie Jackman, ranked
two in the world, quickly lost the first game against her opposite
number Vanessa Atkinson and was 0-6 down in the second before
making her first reply.
Atkinson, pumped up for the clash after losing disappointingly to
New Zealand No1 Shelley Kitchen 24 hours earlier, wrapped up the
match 9-0 9-6 6-9 9-6 in 46 minutes - to the sheer delight of
the near capacity centre court crowd.
The third string clash quickly brought England back into contention
as Fiona Geaves despatched Dutch No3 Karen Kronemeyer
9-0 9-1 9-3.
When the rapidly-improving Dutch No2 Annelize Naude forged a
2/0 lead in the decider against Elriani, it looked as if a major
upset was on the cards. Elriani, showing her frustration at several
refereeing decisions that went against her, was literally screaming
with rage, but talks from the England coaching team calmed Elriani
down for the vital final games.
The determined 32-year-old from Eastbourne stuck to her task,
however, and ultimately pulled back the deficit to claim an
impressive 8-10 2-9 9-4 9-4 9-1 face-saving victory in 68 minutes.
"I was NOT going to be the one to be responsible for England's worst
ever finish in these championships," said Elriani, the world No6 who
has now extended to eight matches her unbeaten run against Naude,
ranked 17 places lower.
"There's nobody better than Linda to be in that position for you,"
said a relieved England national coach David Pearson
afterwards. "It's not easy coming from a string of matches where you
win easily, into a high-pressure situation like tonight's. But what
it shows is that we are a strong team - and in fact it's just the
kick we needed for our next match tomorrow."
Kiwis Breeze Past USA
England's semi-final opponents New Zealand breezed to a 3/0
win over surprise quarter-finalists USA, the tenth seeds.
Shelley Kitchen followed her fine win over Vanessa Atkinson in the
previous round to beat five-times US champion Latasha Khan 9-7 9-2
9-1 - before squad No3 Jaclyn Hawkes fought back from two games down
to defeat Michelle Quibell 5-9 7-9 9-3 9-3 9-0 in 45 minutes.
Aussies Roll On ...
Top seeds Australia were untroubled by opponents Malaysia,
the fifth seeds - first string Rachael Grinham crushing the
Malaysian No1 Nicol David 9-1 9-2 9-3 before team-mate Amelia
Pittock put the tie beyond Malaysia's reach with a 9-2 9-1 9-0
victory in just 23 minutes over Tricia Chuah.
Egpyt overcome Kawy's lapse
Fourth seeds Egypt suffered a poor start against Ireland
in the other quarter-final when squad No1 Omneya Abdel Kawy
squandered a 6-1 lead in the fifth and final game of the opening
match to go down 9-1 1-9 7-9 9-1 9-6 to the Irish top string
Madeline Perry. Egypt's momentum was restored when Engy Kheirallah
and Eman El Amir secured straight games wins in the remaining two
matches to give the fourth seeds a 2/1 win.
 AUSTRALIA v  EGYPT
 ENGLAND v  NEW ZEALAND
5th - 8th place play-offs
 MALAYSIA v  IRELAND
 NETHERLANDS v  USA
9th - 12th place play-offs
 CANADA v  BELGIUM
 SOUTH AFRICA v  HONG KONG
13th - 16th place play-offs:
 FRANCE v  SCOTLAND
 SWITZERLAND v  DENMARK
Photos by Fritz
29-Sep, Day FOUR,
Qualifying final round:
A: Canada 1-2 Ireland, Germany 1-2
B: England 3-0 Scotland, USA 2-1 Hong Kong
C: Netherlands 1-2 New Zealand , Belgium 2-1 Denmark
D: Egypt 2- 1 Malaysia, France 0-3 South Africa
Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam
Kiwis shock Hosts
There was shock in the Pool C decider when hosts Netherlands, the
third seeds and group favourites, lost to New Zealand, the sixth
seeds. Before a packed crowd surrounding the
three-sided-glass-walled centre court, Dutch No2 Annelize Naude
put the home side ahead with a 9-4 9-5 9-4 win over NZ National
champion Tamsyn Leevey.
New Zealand No1 Shelley Kitchen, the world No14, upset the
form book when she beat Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson, ranked
three in the world, 10-8 1-9 9-7 9-3 in a dramatic 60-minute match
which had the crowd on the edges of their seats. The victory marked
Kitchen's first ever tournament win over the seven-times Dutch
"That was one of her best performances, very solid all the way
through and tactically putting her game together well," said a
delighted NZ coach Dave Clark.
In the decider, New Zealand's Louise Crome, the 26-year-old
world No57 from Auckland, was too strong for Margriet Huisman,
beating the 20-year-old Dutch No4 9-2 9-7 9-0 in 33 minutes.
The upset put New Zealand at the top of Pool C, with a place in the
quarter-final draw against USA, while second-placed Netherlands will
face former champions England in the other half of the draw.
"We're pleased to have avoided the heavyweights like Australia and
England, and have a good chance of making the semifinals," added
Hall Fight Back Takes USA
Into World Quarter-finals
A courageous fight back from 0/2 down by third string Louisa Hall
in the deciding match on the final day of qualifying put USA into
the last eight of the Women's World Team Squash Championships at the
Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam for the first time in ten years.
"It's just huge," said the squad's No1 Latasha Khan as the
jubilant tenth-seeded US squad celebrated their 2/1 Pool B victory
over Hong Kong, the 15th seeds who beat them by the same margin at
the exact same stage of the previous event, two years ago in
"We had no expectations to get this far before we arrived, but after
beating Scotland yesterday, I thought we could do it today," said
Khan, whose straight games loss to the Hong Kong No1 Rebecca Chiu
put the tie into a decider after the squad No2 Meredeth Quick
put the US ahead with a 9-2 9-0 9-6 win over 15-year-old Annie Au
in the opening rubber.
Hong Kong's Joey Chan dominated the first two games against
Hall, but showed signs of tiredness in the third. Louisa eased up
from then on and began to take advantage of Chan's errors and
tiredness. But, after the New Yorker levelled the match, 16-year-old
Chan came back to life and took a 4-1 lead in the decider. Again
Louisa relaxed and went on to take the match, and the tie, 2-9 5-9
9-3 9-5 9-4 in 44 minutes.
England assume pole position
Earlier in the Pool, No2 seeds England crushed their British
neighbours Scotland 3-0, dropping just nine points in a three-match
tie which lasted under an hour of playing time.
Egypt win 'D' Decider
Pool D decider featured fourth seeds Egypt and fifth seeds Malaysia.
Whilst second string Engy Kheirallah needed 77 minutes to put
Egypt ahead with a 6-9 9-5 9-5 8-10 9-6 win over Sharon Wee,
the world No27, it took just 37 minutes for Malaysia's world No8
Nicol David to cruise to a 10-8 9-1 9-5 victory over Omneya
Abdel Kawy - her successor as world junior champion - to level
"We know each other's games so well," said David afterwards. "I knew
I had to go for everything from the word go - and did just that. I
was very pleased with the way I played - but disappointed with the
Malaysia's third string Tricia Chuah was unable to make an
impression on her opponent Eman El Amir in the decider as the
Egyptian wrapped up victory 9-4 9-2 9-3 in 24 minutes.
Egypt's reward is a quarter-final clash with ninth seeds Ireland,
surprise 2/1 winners over eighth seeds Canada in the Pool A
play-off for second place. Malaysia will meet favourites Australia.
"It's a pretty devastating loss for us because it was so close,"
said Canada's Marnie Baizley. "We were on pins and needles the whole
match. Runa and Alana are two young players and to get this kind of
experience early in their careers will be valuable for down the
Naude's win in vain
Kitchen's best ever
England ... no
28-Sep, Day THREE
Pool A: Australia 3-0 Canada
Ireland 2-1 Germany
Pool B: Scotland 0-3 USA
Hong Kong 3-0 Japan
Pool C: New Zealand 3-0 Belgium
Denmark 3-0 Austria
Pool D: Egypt 3-0 France
Malaysia 3-0 South Africa
Howard Harding reports on Day Three ...
Scotland Suffer Second Upset
Seventh seeds Scotland suffered their second successive upset
in the Women's World Team Squash Championships when they were
crushed 3/0 by tenth seeds USA in today's third qualifying round at
the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.
weakened by the absence of world No 20 Pamela Nimmo - who was forced
to withdraw from the squad suffering with a cyst on her right tonsil
- Scotland lost 2/1 to 15th seeds Hong Kong on the second day. This
latest defeat severely weakens their chances of maintaining their
position inside the world top eight.
Squad No1 Latasha Khan led the rout for the USA. The
five-times US National champion from Seattle, ranked 21 in the
world, despatched Scotland's world No 42 Wendy Maitland 9-6
9-3 9-5, then team-mate Meredeth Quick made sure of victory
with a 9-5 9-0 9-0 win over Susan Dalrymple in the second
string clash. New York-based Louisa Hall completed the US
offensive by defeating Scotland's third string Frania Gillen-Buchert
9-1 9-2 9-7.
Scotland face No 2 seeds and Pool B leaders England - who
enjoyed a rest day today - in Wednesday's final qualifying round.
The tie which is likely to decide the runners-up position in the
Pool, however, will be the one featuring USA and Hong Kong,
who also secured a 3/0 win today, over Japan, the 18th seeds.
While USA will be favoured to win the clash, and gain the chance of
improving on their previous best-ever finish of sixth place, Hong
Kong won the encounter 2/1 at exactly the same stage of the event
two years ago in Denmark.
Aussies First into Quarters
Favourites Australia became the first team to guarantee a
place in the last eight when they beat Canada, the eighth
seeds, without dropping a game.
The Grinham sisters were again in devastating form - world
No1 Rachael beating Runa Reta 9-0 9-3 9-1 and Natalie
defeating Canadian National champion Alana Miller 9-4 9-0
9-1, a scoreline which brought the younger sibling's total of points
dropped in the tournament to just 18 in four matches!
"It was the first time I played a top-five player and I thought I
played well," said Miller. "We had some long rallies and I was able
to get some points. The big difference for me was the speed of the
ball during the match, it was out of my comfort zone."
The other Pool A tie saw ninth seeds Ireland beat Germany,
the 16th seeds, 2/1.
The scene is now set for Canada and Ireland to meet in tomorrow's
final qualifying round to decide the runners-up position behind
As expected in Pool D
Action in Pool D was resumed today after a rest day - and fourth
seeds Egypt romped to a 3/0 win over France, the 12th
a tight first three games, world No11 Omneya Abdel Kawy
established her authority over France's Isabelle Stoehr,
ranked four places below, to win 10-9 4-9 10-8 9-4 - after which
team-mates Engy Kheirallah and 15-year-old Egyptian National
champion Raneem El Weleily beat Celia Allamargot and
Soraya Renai in straight games respectively.
World No8 Nicol David was back in top form to lead fifth
seeds Malaysia to a 3/0 win over South Africa in the
other battle in Pool D.
The former world junior champion, who suffered an unexpected loss in
her first qualifying match, took less than 20 minutes to crush
retired pro Claire Nitch 9-5 9-0 9-0. But in the third and
final match, 17-year-old South African newcomer Tenille Swartz
led 7-2 in the fifth, and had three match-balls from 8-5, before
going down 9-6 9-2 8-10 0-9 10-8 to Kuala Lumpur's world-ranked
Egypt and Malaysia are guaranteed quarter-finals places, and will
meet tomorrow to decide the group winners.
Danish Duck Broken
There was a late finish in Pool C when 14th seeds Denmark registered
their first win of the tournament, a 3/0 win over Austria,
the 19th and lowest seeds. The first string battle was an 83-minute
marathon in which Austria's 14-times national champion Pamela
Pancis fought back from 0/2 down to force the match against
world-ranked Ellen Petersen into a fifth game decider.
However, despite leading 6-2, part-timer Pancis was unable to topple
Petersen as the Danish doctor went on to win 9-3 8-10 9-4 2-9 9-7.
Kiwis cruise to Dutch showdown
Earlier, sixth seeds New Zealand cruised to a straightforward
3/0 win over 11th seeds Belgium, with world No14 Shelley
Kitchen, National champion Tamsyn Leevey and third string
Louise Crome all enjoying straight games wins over their
New Zealand will face hosts Netherlands tomorrow to decide the top
two placings in the pool.
USA sink Scotland
HK win Asian Challenge
Ruthless Rachael ...
Kawy in control
Egypt are through
Leevey leads NZ
27-Sep, Day TWO:
Australia 3-0 Germany, Ireland 2-1 Switzerland
Australia 3-0 Switzerland, Canada 2-1 Germany
England 3-0 Hong Kong, USA 3-0 Japan
England 3-0 Japan, Scotland 1-2 Hong Kong
Netherlands 3-0 Denmark, Belgium 2-1 Austria
Netherlands 3-0 Austria, New Zealand 3-0 Denmark
Top Seeds Untroubled
On Second Day In Amsterdam
Howard Harding reports
Despite playing two ties each on the second day of action in the
Women's World Team Squash Championships, none of the top seeds was
unduly troubled at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.
Aussies on Cruise Control
Favourites Australia, the title holders and seven-times
winners of the event since 1979, crushed both Germany and
Switzerland, 16th and 17th seeds respectively, 3-0. The two
Grinham sisters, from Toowoomba in Queensland, dropped only 17
points between them in their set of straight games wins.
"We're not under much pressure at the moment," conceded the
Australian team manager and coach Michelle Martin, the former
world No1 and three-times world champion who is making her debut in
this capacity at the event. "With Rachael and Natalie at one and
five in the world, we're clearly in a strong position - but we can't
afford to be complacent.
"I'm finding it quite hard personally, just being here in the
position of advisor, helping where I can and keeping all my feelings
neutral. But I'm enjoying it a lot and certainly not feeling as
though I want to be out there playing."
England Dash Asian Hopes
England, the No2 seeds and winners of the title five times since
1985, also enjoyed 3-0 wins in ties against 15th seeds Hong Kong
and Japan, the 18th seeds.
Japan, led by left-hander Chinatsu Matsui, ranked 89 in the world,
are enjoying their sixth appearance in the event since 1987. The
team's player/manager Miyuki Adachi, aged 44, boasts
participation in all but one of her team's appearances in the event
since making her debut seventeen years ago in the first!
Hong Kong Deliver First Upset
Later in the day, Hong Kong claimed the first upset in the
event, beating seventh seeds Scotland 2-1. Second string
Frania Gillen-Buchert put Scotland ahead with a 9-7 9-4 7-9 10-8
victory over Karen Lau, but Asian Games champion Rebecca Chiu soon
brought the 15th seeds back into contention with a 9-1 9-1 9-5 win
over Susan Dalrymple in the top string clash.
The Scottish squad was supplemented on the eve of the event by
Louise Philip following the withdrawal of world No20 Pamela Nimmo
with severe tonsillitis. But the 36-year-old from Edinburgh was no
match for 15-year-old Annie Au in the decider as the youngster
despatched Philip 9-0 9-4 10-8 to give Hong Kong their unexpected
After a nervous 2-1 win over neighbours Belgium on the opening day,
hosts Netherlands secured two 3-0 wins to strengthen their
position in Pool C. Led by world No3 Vanessa Atkinson in both ties,
the squad beat 14th seeds Denmark and 19th seeds Austria
- with Atkinson dropping just a single point in her defeat of the
Austrian top string Birgit Coufal.
untroubled for Australia
Louise Philip loses out
to Annie Au
26-Sep, Day ONE:
Hosts Fight Back in
World Teams Opener
Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam
Hosts Netherlands were given an early shock by close rivals
Belgium on the opening day of action at the Frans Otten Stadion in
Amsterdam. But after world No3 Vanessa Atkinson levelled the tie
following team-mate Karen Kronemeyer's surprise loss to unranked
Belgian Annabel Romedenne, the team won 2/1 with second string
Annelize Naude dropping just two points in the final match.
Kronemeyer, ranked 48 in the world, suffered at the hands of the
part-time Belgian player in the European Championships earlier in
the year. But history was repeated on the centre court at the new
21-court facility in Amsterdam when Romedenne won 9-7 3-9 9-4 10-8
to put Belgium ahead.
The in-form Atkinson stopped the rot with a 9-3 9-0 9-3 victory over
Belgium's Katline Cauwels in the top string clash - and Annelize
Naude brought smiles back to the Frans Otten crowd when she crushed
rising star Charlie de Rycke, the 17-year-old European Junior
Champion from Antwerp, 9-0 9-1 9-1.
"We thought we might struggle in the first match after Karen's
defeat in the Europeans this year, and I must admit that I was quite
nervous when I went on next," said Atkinson, winner of six WISPA
titles this year. "But I felt good once I was on court, and overall
the tie was just the warm-up we needed in this important
Stoehr Strikes For France
While the event's top two seeds Australia and England
teams won their opening encounters with ease - against Ireland and
the USA, respectively - fifth seeds Malaysia were given a
scare when top string Nicol David, the world No8 from Penang, lost
in four games to France's No1 Isabelle Stoehr.
David, the twice former world junior champion, is based in Amsterdam
and was looking for forward to a rare 'home' match. But 25-year-old
Stoehr, now based in Manchester in England, was in devastating form
as she took her opponent apart in a 9-0 9-10 9-0 10-9 scoreline.
"When Isabelle plays for France, she seems to raise her game a few
notches," conceded David afterwards. "She played really well and
thoroughly deserved her victory - it just wasn't my day today. We
have a day off tomorrow, so I hope to pick myself up and psyche
myself up for our later matches against South Africa and Egypt."
Scotland Squeeze Through
The late withdrawal of Scotland's No1 Pamela Nimmo, caused by
a cyst on her right tonsil, almost cost the seventh seeds their tie
against Japan, the 18th seeds. Wendy Maitland, the newly-promoted
top string, had to fight back from 0/2 down to beat Japan's Chinatsu
Matsui, ranked 47 places lower in the world, 6-9 5-9 9-6 9-6 9-4.
In the final match, Susan Dalrymple lost 9-2 4-9 9-0 5-9 0-9 to
Kozue Onizawa to leave Scotland with a 2/1 victory over their lower
AROUND THE WORLD
WSF Hails Women Ambassadors
At a special dinner hosted by the Netherlands Squash Bond to welcome
players and officials to the 2004 Women's World Team Squash
Championships in Amsterdam, World Squash Federation Chief Executive
Ted Wallbutton praised women's squash as being 'one of the
aces in our pack' in the sport's bid to be included on the Olympic
"This is a special time for squash," Wallbutton pointed out to teams
from the 19 countries competing in the 14th Women's World
Championships. "You may have seen that we are one of five new sports
being evaluated for a place in the Olympic Games.
"I am sure rugby, karate, golf and roller sports all have women's
world championships - but women's squash is the strongest of these
and your performance here will help our chances of being in Paris,
London, New York, Madrid or Moscow in 2012."
Amsterdam Happy To Host
Vollers, Chairman of the Netherlands Squash Bond, replied on
behalf of the hosts, adding his congratulations to all the players
who have been selected to represent their countries - "one of the
highpoints, surely, in anyone's life" - in these World
"We are delighted to be hosting this event in our country this
year," said the recently-appointed Chairman, a former international
referee. "We believe that staging events like this play a major part
in promoting squash in the Netherlands - and we will host the
European Team Championships in 2005 and hope to stage the World
Masters here in 2006."
event is being staged at the spectacular Frans Otten Stadion,
a new facility in Amsterdam opened in March 2004 which boasts 21
squash courts including a permanently-sited glass-walled court.
The 2004 World Championships have attracted widespread media
attention in the Netherlands, with world No3 Vanessa Atkinson
profiled on a major networked sports TV programme earlier in the
Hosts Netherlands, led by Vanessa Atkinson, are seeded to achieve
their highest ever finish in the championships. The third seeds take
on rivals Belgium in their opening Pool C tie today (Sunday).
Defending champions and top seeds Australia face Ireland in the
first tie in Pool A, while former champions England, the No2 seeds,
meet USA in Pool B.
Old enemies to clash ...
World Champions Australia are expected to face their old
enemy England in the final, with the holders topping Pool A
and England, champions in 2000, leading Pool B. Australia have won
the title seven times to England's five.
In Denmark in 2002 Sarah Fitz-Gerald was the banker at no.1 for the
Aussies with England, according to the rankings, having the
advantage at numbers two and three. Natalie Grinham at no.3 for the
Aussies however blew those hopes away with an upset win over
Stephanie Brind and Fitz-Gerald, after a careless start beat Linda
Charman to secure the title.
This time however Fitz-Gerald is not available. Although retired
from the WISPA circuit she is certainly good enough, and was the
recent winner of the Victorian Open, but she told Squash Player "I
felt it was time to move on and give our younger girls a chance to
play and gain experience."
Behind the Grinham sisters the Aussies have picked Amelia Pittock
(ranked 30) and Melissa Martin (33, Brett Martin’s wife). In the
recent Australian Open Pittock got to the final but lost to Natalie
Grinham for the loss of four points while Martin went out in the
All this will be music to the ears of the English, who will be
eyeing the no.3 spot and pencilling in an English winner – Fiona
Geaves (ranked 7) or Jenny Duncalf (ranked 12). Competition for this
fourth place in the England team was very tight with Duncalf getting
the nod ahead of Rebecca Macree (9), Jenny Tranfield (10), and Vicky
Title in the Balance
This time the title will again be in the balance. Basically it will
be the Grinhams against England. They have improved with experience
with Rachael now the world no.1 and Natalie ranked no. 4. They
should be up against Cassie Jackman the world no.2 who was
unavailable because of her back injury last time, and Linda Elriani,
It would be a major upset if either of these teams failed to get to
the final. Australia would be vulnerable to an injury to either of
the Grinhams while England has strength in depth. The Netherlands is
seeded three and Egypt four.
The competition will start on the 28 September with four pools of
five teams each, including newcomers Somalia [withdrawn, unable to
obtain visas], before the knockout
stage culminating in the final on 2nd October.
Australia win in
England's in 2000