India’s Golden Girls on Day Ten

It’s Saturday, the penultimate day, six doubles matches with the Men’s and Mixed finalists, and the Women’s Medals to be decided …

Mixed semi-finals:
[3] Grinham & Palmer (AUS)  2-0 [1] Brown & Pilley (AUS)  11-7, 11-4
[4] Waters & Barker (ENG) 2-0 [2] King & Knight (NZL) 11-3, 11-6

Men’s semi-finals:
[1] Grant & Matthew (ENG) 2-0 [4] Clyne & Leitch (SCO)  11-7, 11-2
[2] Palmer & Pilley (AUS) 2-0 [3] Selby & Willstrop (ENG) 11-4, 11-4

Women’s Bronze:
[3] Beddoes &  Waters (ENG) 2-0 [2] Brown & Grinham (AUS)  11-3, 11-5
Women’s final:
[5] Chinappa & Pallikal (IND) 2-0 [1] Duncalf & Massaro (ENG)  11-6, 11-8

India’s Golden Girls

14CG29442The opening match was an all-Aussie affair with top seeds and defending champions Cameron Pilley and Kasey Brown taking on David Palmer and Rachael Grinham.

SH8341With both girls on the forehand side play was concentrated there, but throughout the match Grinham was able to find winner after winner with her delicate drops and flicks – she owned that front right corner.

The first game was close before the third seeds pulled away at the end, and they dominated the second with Pilley and Brown unable to find a formula to stop their winning pattern.

“Wow! Is that right – nobody else has more than six?” said Grinham on hearing the news that both were now guaranteed a record seventh CWGsquash medal.

“I’m trying not to think about medals,” said Palmer. “It would have been nice if that could have been the final.

“I thought we performed well,” continued the illustrious Aussie, winner of four British Open and two World Championship titles. “Rachael dominated the forehand side, though Kasey returned so many balls. We were trying to keep it away from Cam – his power is unreal.”

14CG29918Next up were men’s defending champions and top seeds Nick Matthew and Adrian Grant, up against Alan Clyne, Harry Leitch and the majority of the packed crowd.

14CG29945The opening minutes were dominated by numerous lets, but once the match settled it was the Scots who moved ahead, 6-4 then 7-5. The English pair struck back to take six points in a row, Grant doing most of the damage, to take the lead.

The English took that momentum into the second, taking a 4-0 lead and closing out the match 11-2 – taking 17 of the last 19 points – to reach the final again.

“We’ve been under the radar here but we’re quietly confident,” said Londoner Grant. “There’s been a lot of talk about the other pairings but we’ve just been getting on with our own job.

“This is the pinnacle for us,” added the left-hander when asked if it was an advantage just playing the one event. “I had to think about what I really want to get out of this – I decided I would rather put all my eggs in one basket and try to get gold in this.”

14CG30022There was more English domination in the start of the next match as Peter Barker and Alison Waters stormed through the first 11-3 against second seeds Martin Knight and Joelle King, the Kiwis contributing with a few errors as they struggled to get a foothold in the match.

SH8404The second was much more even, but from 5-all the English pair pulled away, clinching another upset – and another English medal – 11-6.

“Doubles is a very tactical game,” said Barker after the mixed win which guarantees the pair at least silver – the best achievements for both of them. “Joelle is probably the best striker of the ball in the women’s game.

“I’m delighted for myself, but more importantly for Al – especially after her injury last time and her disappointment in the singles here.

“I’m very proud of my two bronzes – but this one is for her.”

14CG30477Hopes of a third English win in a row were dashed as Australian second seeds David Palmer and Cameron Pilley quickly took charge of their men’s semi against Daryl Selby and James Willstrop, and never let hold of the grip that 5-1 leads in both games gave them.

For Pilley it guaranteed a medal after losing out earlier in the day in the mixed to Palmer, while Palmer himself earned a second shot at that elusive CWGsquash Gold medal.

14CG30859The next match, another England v Australia matchup – would see the winners claim the Women’s Bronze medal. Once again one team was dominant from the outset, but this time it was the English pairing of Emma Beddoes and Alison Waters, who stormed through the opening game 11-3.

14CG30955Rachael Grinham and Kasey Brown, the second seeds, swapped sides for the second but they couldn’t stop the English pair’s momentum, and soon enough the medal was theirs as they took the game 11-5.

“We probably didn’t play the way we can play in yesterday’s semis – so to come back today and play the best we’ve ever played together is a real testament to us as a partnership,” said Beddoes after winning the first Games medal of her career.

“It’s the pinnacle of my career. To come away with a medal means everything to me.”

14CG31322The final match of the day produced another upset as Dipika Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa claimed a historic first CWG Squash Gold for India.

SH8433Well on top in the first, the Indian pair found themselves 7-2 behind in the second as top seeds Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro adapted their game and started to find winning positions. But Dipika and Joshana regrouped, and powered through to take a 10-7 advantage.

One match ball was saved, but Dipika finished it off with another clever soft dropshot into the middle of the court and India had its Golden Girls.

SH8446We just didn’t want to let go – if it had gone to one-all, the third would have been very tough,” said 22-year-old Pallikal, ranked a career-high 10 in the world. “We have come so far – we didn’t want to settle for silver. This is not just a great win for us, but for Indian Squash.”

SH8427Indian team coach Major Maniam stated that the pair played “awesome squash. They are both equally strong – there isn’t a weak link there. We have been targeting the weaker of the two players in our matches, but our two are equally balanced. Both have their strengths – Dipika has a fantastic deceptive trickle boast.

“They played awesome squash today – the whole country will be really proud of them.

“I think this win will take squash to another level in India – the sport won’t just be followed by enthusiasts, but will now grab the attention of the general public. “Commonwealth Games gold medals are important in India – and squash is now a gold medal sport,” added Maniam.

SH8447 SH8444


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