England Win Women's World Team Title In Canada
1 Oct 2006
England defeated Egypt 2/0 in the final of the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women's World Team Championship at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Canada to reclaim the title they last won on 'home soil' in Sheffield in 2000.
With a squad featuring four players in the world top ten, England were overwhelming favourites to take the 2006 crown - but became world champions for the sixth time since 1985 in impressive style, winning all matches in their ties and dropping only five games throughout the competition.
Despite ending as runners-up, second seeds Egypt are celebrating their highest finish ever after taking fourth place in the past three championships.
The opening clash between the teams' second strings saw England's world No5 Vicky Botwright poised to open up a 2/0 lead over Engy Kheirallah, ranked ten places lower. With game-ball at 8-4 in the second, Botwright had a simple straight forehand drop at the front - while her opponent was stranded at the back of the court and reaching for the door handle.
But Botwright's shot hit the tin - and a succession of missed opportunities later (including hitting a return of serve out of the court) led her to lose the game! Having been handed the momentum, Kheirallah capitalised in the third with a strong range of early takes in the air which led to the Egyptian moving 2/1 ahead.
However, the more experienced 29-year-old from Manchester regained her composure and, after 77 minutes - the longest match of the finals day - Botwright put England ahead with a 9-3, 8-10, 4-9, 9-7, 9-2 victory over the world No15 from Alexandria.
By contrast, the clash between the number ones which followed was a one-sided affair that lasted a mere 21 minutes when Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy, the world No9, conceded victory to England's world No7 Tania Bailey midway through the third game with the score standing at 9-2, 9-2, 2-0.
Kawy had stepped onto the court wearing a bandage on her right calf. "It was too tight yesterday," said the 21-year-old from Cairo. "It felt much better today, but I felt it when I stretched so it was difficult. Squash players use their right leg a lot so it is no good when it doesn't work properly."
But the England team were in celebratory mood at the successful conclusion of their Canadian campaign: "We felt that we played really well all week and are really pleased to have won," said a jubilant Bailey afterwards.
"Engy is playing very well at the minute, so we knew she would be tough. I was relieved when Vicky came through so I went on one up," added the Lincolnshire lass from Stamford who now has the ideal present to celebrate her 27th birthday on Monday (2 October).
In the battle for third place, third seeds Malaysia beat Netherlands, the fourth seeds, 2/1 after world number one Nicol David levelled the tie by beating her Netherlands' rival Vanessa Atkinson - a former world number one - 9-6, 9-0, 9-6 in 44 minutes. Tricia Chuah went on to clinch victory for the Asian nation with a 9-3, 9-0, 9-5 win over Orla Noom to give Malaysia their first top three finish in eight appearances in the event since 1990.
Despite winning the play-off for fifth place, sixth seeds New Zealand marked their lowest finish in the event since making their debut in 1981 - but runners-up South Africa will not be unhappy with sixth place after beginning the event as 12th seeds and losing veteran captain Claire Nitch to injury early in the 2006 campaign.
Teenager Tenille Swartz rounded off her Edmonton experience with the biggest scalp of her short career. The 19-year-old South African from Parys, who has yet to make her debut on the WISPA World Tour, beat New Zealand's world No12 Shelley Kitchen - bronze medallist in this year's Commonwealth Games - 1-9, 9-7, 3-9, 9-7, 9-0 in 54 minutes.
The disappointing run of defending champions Australia took a turn for the worse when they lost 2/0 to Hong Kong in the play-off for 9th place. Melissa Martin and Kasey Brown both endured 75-minute battles - but 17-year-old Annie Au beat Martin 1-9, 9-3, 9-5, 6-9, 9-5 and Asian Games champion Rebecca Chiu defeated Brown 3-9, 2-9, 9-1, 9-1, 9-6.
The outcome sees Australia finish outside the top three for the first time since the inaugural event in 1979 - while Hong Kong celebrate their best conclusion in eight appearances since 1985.
 ENGLAND bt  EGYPT 2-0
Vicky Botwright bt Engy Kheirallah 9-3, 8-10, 4-9, 9-7, 9-2 (77m)
Tania Bailey bt Omneya Abdel Kawy 9-2, 9-2, 2-0 ret. (21m)
Jenny Duncalf v Raneem El Weleily (dead rubber - match not played)
3rd place play-off:
 MALAYSIA bt  NETHERLANDS 2-1
Sharon Wee lost to Annelize Naude 1-9, 3-9, 6-9 (27m)
Nicol David bt Vanessa Atkinson 9-6, 9-0, 9-6 (44m)
Tricia Chuah bt Orla Noom 9-3, 9-0, 9-5 (35m)
5th place play-off:
 NEW ZEALAND bt  SOUTH AFRICA 2-1
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Diana Argyle 9-10, 9-3, 9-0, 10-9 (54m)
Shelley Kitchen lost to Tenille Swartz 9-1, 7-9, 9-3, 7-9, 0-9 (54m)
Louise Crome bt Karen van der Westhuizen 9-2, 9-5, 9-7 (35m)
7th place play-off:
 IRELAND bt  FRANCE 2-0
Aisling Blake bt Celia Allamargot 2-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-0, 9-0 (57m)
Madeline Perry bt Camille Serme 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 (19m)
Laura Mylotte v Soraya Renai (dead rubber - match not played)
9th place play-off:
 HONG KONG bt  AUSTRALIA 2-0
Annie Au bt Melissa Martin 1-9, 9-3, 9-5, 6-9, 9-5 (75m)
Rebecca Chiu bt Kasey Brown 3-9, 2-9, 9-1, 9-1, 9-6 (75m)
Joey Chan v Amelia Pittock (dead rubber - match not played)
11th place play-off:
 USA bt  GERMANY 2-1
Meredeth Quick lost to Katharina Witt 10-8, 7-9, 6-9, 3-9 (40m)
Latasha Khan bt Daniela Schumann 9-6, 9-1, 9-3 (26m)
Louisa Hall bt Kathrin Rohrmueller 9-6, 1-9, 9-1, 6-9, 9-5 (40m)
13th place play-off:
 CANADA bt  JAPAN 2-1
Carolyn Russell bt Chinatsu Matsui 9-5, 7-9, 10-8, 9-5 (59m)
Runa Reta lost to Mami Nishio 8-10, 2-9, 10-8, 9-3, 2-9 (67m)
Alana Miller bt Sachiko Shinta 9-1, 9-4, 9-4 (34m)
15th place play-off:
 SPAIN bt  AUSTRIA 2-1
Chantal Moros-Pitarch lost to Birgit Coufal 0-9, 5-9, 0-9 (19m)
Elisabet Sado bt Pamela Pancis 6-9, 9-7, 9-7, 9-3 (44m)
Laura Alonso bt Theresa Gradnitzer 9-1, 9-6, 9-2 (23m)