11:52 am
16 Apr 2024

England Beat Australia To Retain World Title In India

12 Dec 2007

In a dramatic climax to the ICL Men's World Team Championship - the 21st staging of the biennial event since 1967 - defending champions England fought back from a match down to beat long-time rivals Australia 2/1 in today's final at the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai, India.

The triumph marked the first final between Australia and England since 1991 - and the first ever England win over Australia in a world final! The victory also takes England's title tally to four since 1995, and stopped their rivals from extending their record to nine trophy triumphs.

The opening encounter was a battle between the teams' number ones, with Australia's former world champion David Palmer, ranked four in the world, facing Nick Matthew, the world No5 from Sheffield in Yorkshire. Their previous head-to-head tally showed Palmer 11-5 ahead, and the 31-year-old from New South Wales duly took the opening two games.

But the Englishman struck back to draw level - winning the fourth game for just two points. However, the experienced Aussie rediscovered his form and eventually ran out an 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 2-11, 11-4 winner in 82 minutes.

Almost exactly five years ago, James Willstrop won the world junior individual championship on the same courts in Chennai. And, in his first time back in the former Madras since that success, the 24-year-old Englishman beat Stewart Boswell to level the tie. But it was a tense and tight tussle, in which the world No6 from Yorkshire needed 65 minutes to overcome his lower-ranked opponent before prevailing 11-8, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0).

And the decider was no less dramatic - and only marginally shorter. But Englishman Peter Barker, in his maiden appearance in a world team championship, delivered an assured performance as he defeated Cameron Pilley - also a world championship newcomer - 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 in 60 minutes to clinch the title for England.

"We were represented by an exceptional group of players," said England Squash Chief Executive Nick Rider after the team's success. "Winning a world championship is difficult enough - and retaining it so convincingly is testament to the courage and determination of these world-class guys. We are immensely proud of them."

In the play-off for third place, third seeds France beat favourites Egypt 2/0, and Malaysia recorded their best ever finish by beating Canada 2/0 in the fifth place play-off. Hosts India marked their best finish since 1979, despite losing to Netherlands in the seventh place play-off.

Event newcomers Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Chinese Taipei finished in 26th, 27th and 29th places, respectively.

Commitments to their 'day jobs' on the PSA Tour mean that England heroes Nick Matthew, James Willstrop and Peter Barker will delay their celebrations until next week. The trio return to the UK to compete in the five-star Mamut English Open in Sheffield, Yorkshire, beginning on Saturday. Willstrop is top seed and is expected to face local boy Matthew in the final - unless fourth seed Barker stops him in a predicted semi-final!

Final (all ties in playing order 1-2-3):
[2] ENGLAND bt [4] AUSTRALIA 2-1
Nick Matthew lost to David Palmer 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2, 4-11 (82m)
James Willstrop bt Stewart Boswell 11-8, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0) (65m)
Peter Barker bt Cameron Pilley 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (60m)

3rd place play-off:
[3] FRANCE bt [1] EGYPT 2-0
Gregory Gaultier bt Amr Shabana 11-2, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3 (30m)
Thierry Lincou bt Wael El Hindi 11-4, 6-11, 11-5, 11-3 (53m)

5th place play-off:
[5] MALAYSIA bt [6] CANADA 2-0
Mohd Azlan Iskandar bt Shahier Razik 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (3-1), 11-5 (49m)
Ong Beng Hee bt Matthew Giuffre 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (33m)

7th place play-off:
[8] NETHERLANDS bt [10] INDIA 2-0
Laurens Jan Anjema bt Saurav Ghosal 11-10 (3-1), 11-4, 11-4 (27m)
Dylan Bennett bt Ritwik Bhattacharya 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (30m)

9th place play-off:
[7] PAKISTAN bt [9] WALES 2-0
Aamir Atlas Khan bt Alex Gough 11-5, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0) (30m)
Mansoor Zaman bt Rob Sutherland 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (26m)

11th place play-off:
[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [11] IRELAND 2-1
Jesse Engelbrecht lost to Liam Kenny 3-11, 6-11, 9-11 (32m)
Stephen Coppinger bt Derek Ryan 11-10 (2-0), 11-2, 11-3 (27m)
Adrian Hansen bt Arthur Gaskin 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (32m)

13th place play-off:
[13] NEW ZEALAND bt [14] USA 2-0
Kashif Shuja bt Julian Illingworth 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 11-10 (3-1) (45m)
Campbell Grayson bt Christopher Gordon 11-3, 11-6, 11-1 (29m)

15th place play-off:
[15] HONG KONG bt [16] GERMANY 2-1
Dick Lau lost to Simon Rosner 2-11, 9-11, 8-11 (30m)
Wai Hang Wong bt Tim Weber 11-4, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6 (45m)
Max Lee bt Moritz Dahmen 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (54m)

17th place play-off:
[17/24] SWEDEN bt [17/24] SCOTLAND 2-0
Christian Drakenberg bt Alan Clyne 11-4, 11-2, 11-10 (2-0) (37m)
Badr Abdel Aziz bt Stuart Crawford 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (28m)

19th place play-off:
[17/24] SPAIN bt [17/24] JAPAN 2-0
David Vidal bt Jun Matsumoto 11-5, 11-0, 11-7 (30m)
Alejandro Garbi Caro bt Takanori Shimizu 11-5, 11-10 (3-1), 11-6 (39m)

21st place play-off:
[17/24] FINLAND bt [17/24] KUWAIT 2-1
Matias Tuomi bt Bader Al Hussaini 7-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (56m)
Henrik Mustonen lost to Abdullah Almezayen 5-11, 3-11, 6-11 (24m)
Mika Monto bt Nasser B Al-Ramzi 6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (50m)

23rd place play-off:
[17/24] KENYA bt [17/24] AUSTRIA 2-1
Hardeep Reel bt Aqeel Rehman 11-9, 11-10 (4-2), 11-10 (5-3) (43m)
Hartaj Bains lost to Jakob Dirnberger 8-11, 9-11, 9-11 (31m)
Otto Kwach bt Stefan Brauneis 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 11-8 (32m)

25th place play-off:
[25/29] SRI LANKA bt [25/29] BERMUDA 2-0
Saman Thilakaratna bt Chase Toogood 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (28m)
Navin Samarasinghe bt Melrindo Caines 11-3, 11-2, 11-4 (21m)

27th place play-off:
[25/29] RUSSIA bt [25/29] VENEZUELA 2-1
Alexei Severinov bt Francisco Valecillo 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (27m)
Sergey Kostrykin lost to Juan Pablo Sanchez 10-11 (2-4), 10-11 (0-2), 6-11 (28m)
Valery Litvinko bt Luis Hernandes 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 (29m)

29th place play-off:
[25/29] CHINESE TAIPEI bye