David and Matthew win Gold again
Defending champions Nicol David and Nick Matthew won the Gold medals again in contrasting finals, as the men’s and women’s draws finished with 1-2-3 finishes for the top three seeds …
Bronze:  Peter Barker (ENG) 3-1  Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (53m)
Bronze:  Joelle King (NZL) 3-0  Alison Waters (ENG) 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)
Final:  Nicol David (MAS) 3-0  Laura Massaro (ENG) 12-10, 11-2, 11-5 (46m)
Final:  Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-2  James Willstrop (ENG) 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 (99m)
Matthew takes early charge of the match – after having to reseat his contact lens after a collision at 3-2 – and advanced to an 8-3 lead, controlling the rallies. It was Willstrop though who was in charge for most of the remainder of the game, closing back to 7-8 before conceding two strokes that gave Matthew a 10-8 lead which he converted as Willstrop’s final drop clipped the tin.
After Matthew takes the first two points Willstrop resumes control in the second, moving 5-2 ahead. A couple of loose shots result in strokes to bring Matthew closer, but Willstrop pulls away again to 8-5, then 10-6. Matthew saves two game balls with dropshots, but Willstrop levels with one of his own.
From the outset of the third Matthew was finding the corners again, making Willstrop work hard and reaping the rewards as he moved 8-1 ahead, wresting control back. Willstop pulled a few points back to trail 8-4 but Matthew wasn’t going to let this slip as he put away a crisp volleydrop for 11-5 and a 2-1 lead after 61 minutes of play.
The fourth started out as the most even game so far, Matthew edging ahead 3-1, Willstrop levelling at 4-all then moving 9-5 ahead on a monster rally as he started to get control again. A careless error gave Matthew one back, but two glued to the wall drives clinched the game 11-9 and set up a decider – only the 9th in their 42 encounters (and four of those were before 2006).
Matthew started the fifth strongly, taking a 5-1 lead. The next few points were decided more on errors and strokes, from both players, but the rallies were intense, Willstrop fought back, but Matthew stayed ahead 5-3, 8-4, then 10-5 on a strke on the side wall. A last mammoth rally and Mattew was finally able to hammer the ball out of Willstrop’s despairing reach to claim the gold medal again.
“I was on a hospital bed six weeks ago and he was told he might never play again. And Chris (Robertson) reminded me of that when I came off court at two-all – ‘you’re a winner whatever happens’ said my coach.
“I probably played some of my best squash in the fourth game, which I lost,” added the Sheffield star.
“I’m very proud to win a second gold medal – and it’s thanks to the people who have helped to get me to this stage.”
James Willstrop: “I’m disappointed to lose, of course, but I am really proud of my performance. I just enjoyed every second of it – I just loved being on that court. I’ve come off having lost, but I’m happy.
“I have great respect for what Nick has achieved. It’s miraculous what he’s done to get back after his surgery. When I got the results of the second scan (after a first had suggested a serious condition), it was like getting a new lease of life.
“I did hit a wall in the third – but I got second wind in the fourth. I haven’t had a match like that for ages, but neither has he.
“This is not a loss – I’ve won a silver medal. Playing on an occasion like this doesn’t get any better.”
After an even opening, Massaro pulls away from 3-all to lead 7-3 and 8-4 with David struggling to contain her opponent. The Malaysian settled, levelled at 9-all and after saving a game ball took the game 12-10 with two winning dropshots.
David was into her stride now, and quickly established control of the court, leading 4-1, moving to 8-2 with a series of rallies that caused the BBC commentator Simon Reed to say “at the moment she’s giving the world number two player a lesson”. She was too, and soon enough she’d won the game 11-2.
Massaro managed to keep on terms early in the third, but David, still in the groove, powered away again, moving from 3-all to 8-3. Massaro pulled a couple of points back, but the Malaysian was unstoppable now, and soon enough the game was hers 11-5 and another Gold Medal was in the bag.
Nicol David: “Winning the first game was crucial – it was really tough out there, I had to put the pressure on,” said the beaming champion. “I’ve been working on that shot (to save game-ball at 9-10) for a long time!
“Laura is the most competitive player on the Tour – she’s so determined, she just doesn’t let go.
“It’s only just hit me that I am the Commonwealth Games champion for the second time – it really is remarkable.
“Today is the Malaysian festival of Hari Raya (the Muslim ‘Eid Mubarak’ celebration to mark the end of Ramadan) – which makes it even more special for me.
“I really wanted this gold.”
Men’s Plate : Scott Fitzgerald (WAL) 3-0 Hardeep Reel (KEN) 11-3, 11-7, 11-5
Men’s Classic: Shawn Delierre (CAN) 3-1 Kevin Moran (SCO) 11-9, 11-9, 2-11, 11-8
Men’s Consolation: Manda Chilamwbe (ZAM) 3-1 Alexander Arjoon (GUY) 5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8
Women’s Plate: Deon Saffery (WAL) 3-1 Anaka Alankamony (IND) 7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-1
Women’s Consolation: Naduni Gunawardane (SRI) 3-1 Dorothy Boyce (PNG) 1-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5