Aussies aim for clean sweep in Gold Coast
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent
Host nation Australia will head into the knockout stage of the WSF World Doubles Squash Championships at the Carrara Squash Centre as gold medal favourites after the top seeds charged into all semi-finals.
In the mixed doubles competition, reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallists Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley cruised through the pool phase to finish undefeated.
The cousins from Yamba in New South Wales (pictured in action above) defeated fellow Australian’s Christine Nunn and Ethan Eyles 11-4 11-5 to top pool A. Nunn and Eyles, who are teaming for the first time, will also progress to the semi-finals where they’ll face a tough matchup against Colombian pairing Catalina Pelaez and Matias Knudsen.
The second-seeded Colombians have impressed throughout the tournament, finishing undefeated at the top of Pool B. 17-year-old South Australian Alex Haydon will also feature in the semi-finals alongside partner Zac Alexander, with the duo finishing second in the pool (only losing to Colombia).
Pilley is also chasing gold in the men’s draw, where he is again yet to be beaten, this time with partner Ryan Cuskelly. The pair from New South Wales, who are defending champions in the event, defeated Australian siblings Nick and Tom Calvert to lock up top spot in Pool A.
“It was a pretty good match, it was tight early but as experienced campaigners we managed to get our way through and we’re happy to be through to the semis,” Cuskelly said.
The gritty South Africans prevailed 11-1 11-4 to finish second behind Pilley and Cuskelly. The South African pair have self-funded their trip and have provided some of the most entertaining matches of the tournament so far.
Brits and Potgieter will have to overcome the second seed Australian pairing of Zac Alexander (pictured right) and Rex Hedrick, who also cruised through their pool undefeated. Colombian pair Andrés Herrera and Juan Camilo Vargas will also progress to the semi-finals.
“We are excited to have made the semis and it was great to play against Zac and Rex and I think we played ok,” said Vargas.
“Tomorrow will be a good match against Pilley and Cuskelly and we’ll give it everything.”
In the women’s round robin competition, Australia are on track to claim both gold and silver with Donna Lobban/Christine Nunn (top) and Sarah Cardwell/Jessica Turnbull (second) topping the pool. Colombian sisters Maria and Laura Tovar continue to sit in the bronze medal position and will face the second placed Australians on day four.
WSF World Doubles Squash Championships, Gold Coast, Australia.
Third Pool round:
Men’s Pool A:
 Jean-Pierre Brits & Christo Potgieter (RSA) bt  Nicholas Calvert & Thomas Calvert (AUS) 11-1, 11-4 (23m)
 Robert Garcia & David Pelino (PHI) bt  Madison Eggert & Thomas King (CAN) 11-7, 11-10 (29m)
 Ryan Cuskelly & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt  Nicholas Calvert & Thomas Calvert (AUS) 11-5, 11-4 (15m)
 Jean-Pierre Brits & Christo Potgieter (RSA) bt  Madison Eggert & Thomas King (CAN) 11-5, 11-8 (16m)
 Andrés Herrera & Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) bt  Darren Chan & Bryan Lim Tze Kang (MAS) 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 (38m)
 Bradley Hindle & Kijan Sultana (MLT) bt  Ravindu Laksiri & Shamil Wakeel (SRI) 11-8, 11-8 (19m)
 Zac Alexander & Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt  Andrés Herrera & Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) 11-8, 11-6 (36m)
 Darren Chan & Bryan Lim Tze Kang (MAS) bt  Bradley Hindle & Kijan Sultana (MLT) 11-7, 11-10 (13m)
 Sarah Cardwell & Jessica Turnbull (AUS) bt  Taylor Flavell & Selena Shaikh (AUS) 11-7, 11-9 (20m)
 Donna Lobban & Christine Nunn (AUS) bt  Jemyca Aribado & Aysah Dalida (PHI) 11-7, 11-3 (19m)
Mixed Pool A:
 Donna Lobban & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt  Christine Nunn & Ethan Eyles (AUS) 11-4, 11-5 (11m)
 Catalina Pelaez & Matias Knudsen (COL) bt  Aysah Dalida & Reymark Begornia (PHI) 11-3, 11-9 (19m)
 Alex Haydon & Zac Alexander (AUS) bt  Colette Sultana & Kijan Sultana (MLT) 11-5, 11-7 (12m)
Pictures courtesy of CRAIG STEWART, Brisbane Sports Photography