Early scare for Nicol David but it’s business as usual for Nick Matthew
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Reporter
After Monday’s exhilarating climax to the Commonwealth Games Squash singles action in Glasgow, players from 25 nations switched to doubles squash at the Scotstoun Sports Campus in Scotland’s largest city.
Overnight, the venue’s squash courts, including the spectacular all-glass showcourt, were converted to 25 ft wide doubles courts (four feet wider than for singles) – incorporating, for the first time at the Games, a lower, 13-inch, ‘tin’.
Both singles gold medallists were in action: Men’s winner Nick Matthew, the 34-year-old world No2 from England, successfully began the defence of his Men’s Doubles gold medal with partner Adrian Grant, comfortably winning both Pool matches.
But Nicol David – the Malaysian who, like Matthew, successful retained the singles title she won in 2010 in Delhi – suffered a scare in the Women’s Doubles when a game behind and 5-0 down in the second against unseeded underdogs Megan Craig & Kylie Lindsay, of New Zealand.
At 10-all – game-ball for the fourth seeds but match-ball for the Kiwis – David’s partner Low Wee Wern struck a ball which died in the back wall nick to win the game.
The Penang pair went on to clinch the match 7-11, 11-10, 11-6 in 42 minutes.
“The shot came at the right time,” said Wee Wern. “I’ve been trying that all match and it worked.
“They’d had a bit more practice over the last two days – when Nicol was a bit busy!”
When asked to sum up the match, David said: “It was close! We’ve got a good partnership – and we’d played them before so we knew what they were like.
“I had a quiet celebration last night – I had to get ready for this.
“Doubles is a bit different from singles – and you could see that in the first game – but it’s a nice feeling playing doubles. It’s all about putting tactics together.”
Matthew and Grant’s pre-event preparation was also hampered by the Yorkshireman’s knee surgery: “We’ve not had a lot of practice because of my injury – and I need to give a big shout to England team-mate Tom (Richards) who stepped in and really helped Adrian get the competition he needed,” said Matthew. “It was really strange watching them practise while I was recovering.
“It felt like I had a hangover when I woke up this morning – which I didn’t – and I’m now feeding off Adrian’s energy. He’s so keen.
“Anything can happen in doubles, for sure. In Melbourne, we thought our singles strength would carry us through, but it didn’t, and we learnt from that.”
Matthew had earlier described the previous day as ‘the best sporting day of my life’: “It was pretty emotional, there’s not been much time for it to sink it as it was straight back to doubles.
“I think I will really digest it next week. I’ve got to have the mentality that the job is not done, it’s only half way done.”
Grant added: “What Nick achieved was fantastic – both for him and for the sport.”
Squash legend David Palmer finally made his Glasgow 2014 debut – lured out of retirement to make a fifth successive appearance in the Games for Australia. The 38-year-old former world No1 and world champion opened his campaign in the men’s doubles, partnering world No20 Cameron Pilley and bidding for a record seventh medal, but a first gold.
He and Pilley won both their matches, then with Rachael Grinham in the Mixed Doubles recovered from game down to down Marlene West & Cameron Stafford from the Cayman Islands 8-11, 11-3, 11-2.
“It feels special being here,” said Palmer. “After watching all the matches all week, it’s great to get onto the court.
“I wanted to play with Cameron – I think we match each other well. His style is perfect for us and he’s done really well here this week in the singles.
“I’m here trying to win medals for Australia – I’ve got three matches today, but I’ve prepared for it. I’m missing that gold medal – I came close in Delhi.”
In commenting on the new doubles format, Pilley added: “I think the new format is good – before, it wasn’t exciting but now it’s good for the crowd. It’s now really exciting and more attacking. I think it’s here to stay.”
England pair Daryl Selby and Sarah Kippax also made their 2014 Games’ debuts after supporting their team-mates through the singles. The duo despatched Trinidad & Tobago’s Kerrie Sample & Colin Ramasra 11-1, 11-4.
“Sarah and I came together quite late as a pair, but we know each other well and have forged a good partnership,” said Selby. “We’re seeded six, so not expected to medal, so if we do it will be a massive bonus.”
On comparing the two disciplines, Selby continued: “I’ve always enjoyed playing doubles but we just don’t play it enough for it to be something that I am 100% confident in my ability in.
“With singles, I go on court and I know what I’ve got to do – the tactics are sorted beforehand and it’s automatic. It’s like driving a car, you don’t think about it.
“But in doubles, it’s still squash – but it’s like driving a lorry instead of a car! You don’t do it very often, and you are manoeuvring something that you are not 100% comfortable with.”
The only significant upset of the day came in the men’s doubles where Welshmen Peter Creed & David Evans, the No10 seeds, beat Indian pairing Saurav Ghosal & Harinder Pal Sandhu, seeded seven, 11-8, 11-3.
Men’s Doubles, 1st qualifying round:
 Alexander Arjoon & Sunil Seth (GUY) bt Schubert Maketu & Moreaina Wei (PNG) 11-4, 11-9 (14m)
 Adrian Grant & Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Bradley Hindle & Daniel Zammit-Lewis (MLT) 11-5, 11-6 (24m)
 Adrian Grant & Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Alexander Arjoon & Sunil Seth (GUY) 11-5, 11-5 (15m)
Bradley Hindle & Daniel Zammit-Lewis (MLT) bt Schubert Maketu & Moreaina Wei (PNG) 11-6, 11-2 (9m)
 David Palmer & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Scott Gautier & Nick Taylor (JEY) 11-2, 11-4 (15m)
 David Palmer & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt  Christopher Binnie & Bruce Burrowes (JAM) 11-2, 11-8 (17m)
 Mwinga Lengwe & Kelvin Ndhlovu (ZAM) bt Jason Doyle & Jules Snagg (SVG) 11-3, 11-8 (14m)
 Daryl Selby & James Willstrop (ENG) bt Anthony Brindle & Christian Navas (GIB) 11-1, 11-4 (21m)
 Daryl Selby & James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Mwinga Lengwe & Kelvin Ndhlovu (ZAM) 11-3, 11-6 (21m)
Jason Doyle & Jules Snagg (SVG) bt Anthony Brindle & Christian Navas (GIB) 11-9, 8-11, 11-10 (39m)
 Alan Clyne & Harry Leitch (SCO) bt Colin Ramasra & Kale Wilson (TRI) 11-3, 11-4 (13m)
 Alan Clyne & Harry Leitch (SCO) bt  Scott Fitzgerald & David Haley (WAL) 11-3, 11-3 (24m)
 Campbell Grayson & Martin Knight (NZL) bt James Fayia & Issa Kamara (SLE) w/o
 Campbell Grayson & Martin Knight (NZL) bt  Micah Franklin & Nicholas Kyme (BER) 11-5, 11-3 (27m)
 Ryan Cuskelly & Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Dilshan Gunawardena (SRI) & Gihan Suwaris (SRI) 11-3, 11-4 (12m)
 Lance Beddoes & Paul Coll (NZL) bt Mitchell Graham & Duncan Gray (NFI) 11-3, 11-1 (12m)
 Ryan Cuskelly & Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt  Lance Beddoes & Paul Coll (NZL) 11-5, 11-8 (27m)
Dilshan Gunawardena & Gihan Suwaris (SRI) bt Mitchell Graham & Duncan Gray (NFI) 10-11, 11-10, 11-3 (31m)
 Peter Creed & David Evans (WAL) bt Paul Kadoma & Michael Kawooya (UGA) 11-1, 11-1 (12m)
 Saurav Ghosal & Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt Malton Blair & Julian Jervis (CAY) 9-11, 11-3, 11-2 (29m)
 Peter Creed & David Evans (WAL) bt  Saurav Ghosal & Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 11-8, 11-3 (30m)
Malton Blair & Julian Jervis (CAY) bt Paul Kadoma & Michael Kawooya (UGA) 11-8, 11-10 (25m)
 Stuart Crawford & Greg Lobban (SCO) bt James Bentick & Kevin Hannaway (SVG) 11-2, 11-1 (11m)
 Valentino Bon Jovi Bong & Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt Madako Junior Suari & Kerry Walsh (PNG) 11-1, 11-1 (12m)
 Stuart Crawford & Greg Lobban (SCO) bt  Valentino Bon Jovi Bong & Ivan Yuen (MAS) 9-11, 11-5, 11-9 (42m)
James Bentick & Kevin Hannaway (SVG) bt Madako Junior Suari & Kerry Walsh (PNG) 11-9, 11-7 (16m)
Women’s Doubles, 1st qualifying round:
 Jenny Duncalf & Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Lynette Vai & Eli Webb (PNG) 11-4, 11-5 (12m)
 Tesni Evans & Deon Saffery (WAL) bt Charlotte Knaggs & Kerrie Sample (TRI) 11-6, 11-9 (18m)
 Kasey Brown & Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Delia Arnold & Vanessa Raj (MAS) 11-5, 11-7 (23m)
 Lisa Camilleri & Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt Kimberley Borg-Cauchi & Colette Sultana (MLT) 11-3, 11-4 (9m)
 Joelle King & Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) bt Dorothy Boyce & Sheila Morove (PNG) 11-3, 11-3 (8m)
 Emma Beddoes & Alison Waters (ENG) bt Alex Clark & Frania Gillen-Buchert (SCO) 11-8, 11-10 (32m)
 Nicol David & Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Megan Craig & Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 7-11, 11-10, 11-6 (42m)
 Joshana Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Mihiliya Methsarani & Nadindhi Udangawa (SRI) 11-3, 11-4 (10m)
Mixed Doubles, 1st qualifying round:
 Kasey Brown & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Nicolette Fernandes & Alexander Arjoon (GUY) 11-5, 11-5 (23m)
 Joelle King & Martin Knight (NZL) bt Sarah Taylor & Nick Taylor (JEY) w/o
 Rachael Grinham & David Palmer (AUS) bt Marlene West & Cameron Stafford (CAY) 8-11, 11-3, 11-2 (25m)
 Madeline Perry & Michael Craig (NIR) bt Sharon Chimfwembe & Manda Chilambwe (ZAM) 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 (29m)
 Tesni Evans & Peter Creed (WAL) bt Colette Sultana & Bradley Hindle (MLT) 11-2, 11-7 (15m)
 Alison Waters & Peter Barker (ENG) bt Charlotte Knaggs & Kale Wilson (TRI) 11-0, 11-2 (10m)
 Dipika Pallikal & Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Naduni Gunawardane & Ravindu Laksiri (SRI) 11-3, 11-4 (12m)
 Sarah Kippax & Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Kerrie Sample & Colin Ramasra (TRI) 11-1, 11-4 (14m)
 Deon Saffery & David Evans (WAL) bt Vanessa Florens & Xavier Koenig (MRI) 11-3, 11-0 (10m)
 Amanda Landers-Murphy & Paul Coll (NZL) bt Eli Webb & Schubert Maketu (PNG) 11-2, 11-4 (7m)
 Delia Arnold & Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Eilidh Bridgeman & Daniel Murphy (CAY) 11-5, 11-3 (13m)
 Frania Gillen-Buchert & Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Lynette Vai & Madako Junior Suari (PNG) 11-0, 11-6 (13m)
Pictures courtesy of England Squash and Rackets and BBC Sport