Women's World Win Takes English Squash To All-Time High
2 Oct 2006
English Squash is riding at an all-time high following England's success in the WSF Women's World Team Championship in Canada at the weekend. Victory over Egypt in the final in Edmonton makes England's men and women team champions of the world simultaneously for the first time.
The unique status also follows domestic success in the Dunlop British Open last month in Nottingham, where Yorkshireman Nick Matthew became the first home-grown winner of the world's most prestigious individual title for 67 years!
England reached the women's world team championship final without conceding a single match, then reclaimed the crown they last won on 'home soil' in Sheffield in 2000 by beating second seeds Egypt 2/0. A marathon five-game second string win by Manchester's world No5 Vicky Botwright put England into a commanding position in the tie before Tania Bailey, the British National champion from Lincolnshire, clinched victory with a straight games win over the Egyptian number one Omneya Abdel Kawy.
"I was part of Team England when we won the Championship in 2000," said a jubilant Bailey, the world No7 who celebrates her 27th birthday today (Monday). "But being part of this team has been the best experience, and the most gratifying. We are all so close, we play squash together a lot, and we are the best of friends.
"We have been so focused towards this moment that now we can relax and savour what we have done. It has been quite an experience!"
Botwright added: "This is the first time that England has had both the women's world and men's world team champions in the same year. We have been receiving so many text messages from the boys that it has been so gratifying to receiving all this support all week."
England national coach David Pearson told the Edmonton crowd: "Canada has been fantastic. This is number six for me being with Team England - I now have been involved with three men's teams and three women's team championships."
England won the biennial men's world team title in Pakistan last December, again beating Egypt 2/0 in the final! The all-Yorkshire squad, featuring James Willstrop, Peter Nicol, Lee Beachill and Nick Matthew, reclaimed the trophy last won in Malaysia in 1997.
"It was a magnificent achievement by the girls in Canada - made all the more memorable by the fact that we have now have the double, following our men's world success," said England Squash Chairman Jackie Robinson.
"With Nick Matthew winning the British Open title in Nottingham recently, it clearly shows the success of our World Class Performance Programme - and that Squash in England is on an all-time high!
"This marvellous success will surely be an inspiration to thousands of young squash players across England - my congratulations to all of those involved," concluded Robinson.