By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
Squash will be presented in a new format as eight teams battle for supremacy at the inaugural Nations Cup in New Zealand from November 3-6.
Mohamed ElShorbagy and Sarah-Jane Perry will represent England, with men’s world No.2 Paul Coll and women’s world No.5 Joelle King teaming up to represent the host nation in Tauranga.
Surprisingly, this eight-team format has no squad from Egypt, the game’s most dominant squash nation.
Held at the Trustpower Arena, the Nations Cup is the first iteration of the new SquashFORWARD series which has been created to trial changes to the traditional competition and scoring formats used at official tournaments, including those on the PSA World Tour.
Coll and King, both Commonwealth Games gold medallists in the summer, will make their first competitive appearances on home soil in over five years.
Seeded second are England, represented by former men’s world champion ElShorbagy and women’s world No.8 Perry.
The No.3 seeds are Team Europe, featuring men’s world No.34 Sebastien Bonmalais (France) and women’s world No.13 Nele Gilis (Belgium), while Scotland is seeded fourth with Greg Lobban and Lisa Aitken (both ranked 29 in the world).
Other nations to take part are Canada (David Baillargeon and Hollie Naughton), United States (Timothy Brownell and Olivia Clyne), Australia (Jessica Turnbull and Rex Hedrick) and the New Zealand ‘B’ team (Lwamba Chileshe and Kaitlyn Watts).
The eight teams will be split into two groups of four, with the top teams from each group meeting in the final. The second-place teams from each group will contest the third-place playoff.
Each fixture will feature a men’s and a women’s match with the overall team score to be determined in the following order: (1) the number of matches won; (2) the number of games won; (3) the number of points won.
The Nations Cup will use a best-of-seven games scoring format throughout the event. Each game will be first to seven points. If the game scores are locked at 6-6, a sudden-death point will be played, with the winner of that rally taking the game. Each player can opt for a ‘Power Play’ twice per match where he or she can win two points.
The new scoring format was decided following engagement with the worldwide squash community, with votes being cast on a series of proposed scoring formats during April and May on the PSA World Tour website.
Group A will consist of New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Australia, while England, Europe, United States and New Zealand ‘B’ will make up Group B.
Group stage action will begin on Thursday November 3 at 13:00 (GMT+13). Four fixtures will be played per night for the first three days of the event until the group stage has drawn to a close.
Group stage matches will take place at 13:00, 14:30, 18:00 and 19:30 local time between November 3-5. The third-place playoff will be held at 13:00 on Sunday November 6, with the final beginning at 15:00.
The Nations Cup will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV, as will the New Zealand Open, which features the Roberston Lodges NZ Men’s Open and the Barfoot & Thompson NZ Women’s Open. Both are PSA World Tour Silver events and will be played at the Trustpower Arena between November 8-13.
For more information on the Nations Cup and to purchase tickets, visit the official tournament website.
2022 Nations Cup, Trustpower Arena, Tauranga, New Zealand November 3-6.
New Zealand: Paul Coll & Joelle King
England: Mohamed ElShorbagy & Sarah-Jane Perry
Europe: Sebastien Bonmalais & Nele Gilis
Scotland: Greg Lobban & Lisa Aitken
Canada: David Baillargeon & Hollie Naughton
United States: Timothy Brownell & Olivia Clyne
Australia: Rex Hedrick & Jessica Turnbull
New Zealand ‘B’: Lwamba Chileshe & Kaitlyn Watts
New Zealand ‘B’
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour