Saturday, February 24, 2024

Partners Mohamed ElShorbagy and Joelle King on rival sides as England meet hosts New Zealand in Nations Cup final

By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor) and DAVE WORSLEY in Tauranga

Partners Mohamed ElShorbagy and Joelle King will be on opposite sides when hosts New Zealand take on England in the final of the new Carrus Nations Cup international team tournament.

The Bristol-based couple won through after today’s semi-finals at the Trustpower Arena in Tauranga, but it was a close thing for England against Europe after ElShorbagy’s team-mate Sarah-Jane Perry lost four games in a row to Nele Gilis.

ElShorbagy had beaten Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais 7-3, 7-0, 7-4, 7-2 to enable England to scrape through by two points on countback.

Belgium’s Gilis beat Perry 7-3, 7-4, 7-3, 7-1, but England took the win and topped Pool B after gaining 39 points during the course of the tie compared to 37 for Europe.

“I am very happy with my focus,” said ElShorbagy. “I think I was happy with how I did yesterday (also beating USA’s Tim Brownell 4-0). Sometimes when you’re winning 2-0, 3-0, you can easily lose focus in one of the games. It happens when you’re playing best of five in a normal PSA event a lot. So this tournament has been very good mentally for all of us.”

Europe’s Nele Gilis is ruthless against Sarah-Jane Perry

Home favourites Paul Coll and King made it three wins from three as they helped New Zealand to victory over Scotland, beating Greg Lobban and Lisa Aitken.

Men’s world No.2 Coll was up first and he made no mistake in dispatching world No.25 Lobban 7-2, 7-2, 7-1, 7-4 in just 26 minutes. King then followed up with a 7-1, 7-4, 3-7, 7-0, 7-1 win to wrap up the Pool A programme for New Zealand.

A delighted King revealed: “I mean it’s a weird thing, but before I went on Paul told me that we were already through.

“It should relax you in a good way, but sometimes you need that little bit of something to chase, to sort of fire you up. I’m happy with getting off there and getting through tonight.

Joelle King volleys against Lisa Aitken

“You want to get the job done but I came off the pace a little bit in the third and she took advantage of it. I won’t be able to do that tomorrow, but I’m very pleased to get through.

“It’s a pretty juicy affair if all goes to plan. It’s a match a lot of squash fans are dying to see, two very competitive rivalries. With SJ and me, it’s very rare our games don’t go to five, and likewise with Paul and Mo. If it goes to plan everyone is in for a treat.”

Paul Coll moves forward to the ball against Greg Lobban
Kiwi fans hail Paul Coll’s victory

Europe will take on Canada in the third-place play-off following Canada’s victory over Australia which guaranteed them second in Pool A. Despite David Baillargeon falling to Rex Hedrick by a 4-2 margin, Hollie Naughton was able to rescue Canada with an assured 4-0 victory over Jessica Turnbull.

In Pool B, USA finished in third place after Olivia Clyne and Brownell achieved wins over Kaitlyn Watts and Lwamba Chileshe, consigning New Zealand B to bottom place.

The Nations Cup third-place play-off takes place tomorrow (November 6) at 13:00 local time (GMT+13) before the final takes place at 15:00. Both fixtures will be shown live on SQUASHTV.

Carrus Nations Cup, Trustpower Baypark Arena, Tauranga, New Zealand.

Pool Stage Day Three:

[1] New Zealand A 2-0 [4] Scotland: Pool A
Paul Coll (NZL) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 4-0: 7-2, 7-2, 7-1, 7-4 (26m)
Joelle King (NZL) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 4-1: 7-1, 7-4, 3-7, 7-0, 7-1 (32m)

[2] England 1-1 [3] Europe: Pool B (England win 39-37 on points)
Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 4-0: 7-3, 7-0, 7-4, 7-2 (30m)
Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 4-0: 7-3, 7-4, 7-3, 7-1 (33m)

[5] Canada 1-1 [7] Australia: Pool A (Canada win 6-4 on games)
Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt David Baillargeon (CAN) 4-2: 4-7, 7-2, 7-2, 7-2, 4-7, 7-2 (56m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Jessica Turnbull (AUS) 4-0: 7-1, 7-2, 7-2, 7-4 (19m)

[6] USA 2-0 [8] New Zealand B: Pool B
Timothy Brownell (USA) bt Lwamba Chileshe (NZL) 4-1: 7-6, 5-7, 7-3, 7-2, 7-2 (40m)
Olivia Clyne (USA) bt Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) 4-1: 7-3, 7-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-4 (32m)

[1] New Zealand A v [2] England
Third-Place Play-Off:
[5] Canada v [3] Europe

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour


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