England Guaranteed Medals!

England are guaranteed two squash Silver medals at the Commonwealth Games after setting up an all-England semi final in the men’s and women’s competition, respectively.

England’s No.3 seed Peter Barker beat his Australian opponent to go through to the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games where he faces top seed Nick Matthew. One player must go through to the final on Monday to play for the Gold.

Barker convincingly beat the Australian Cameron Pilley 11-8, 11-4, 11-5. It was his first outing on the glass court, as he had been resigned to playing on hardback courts at the venue for the previous rounds, but he was happy with his performance.

Matthew earned his place at the expense of Chris Simpson playing here under the Guernsey flag. He won in straight games 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 but it was a point for point struggle.

Barker defeated the current World Champion, Matthew, in their last outing at the PSL Finals in May, a brilliant display Matthew will be well aware of.

James Willstrop made it a trio of English semi-finalists. The No.2 seed defeated Alister Walker’s conqueror, Malaysian Ivan Yuen, 11-1, 11-7, 11-3 in 29 minutes.

In this semi-final Willstrop will face his former Pontefract stablemate, the Indian representative Saurav Ghosal, who put out the lowly ranked New Zealander Campbell Grayson, coming back from two games down to win in five games in a titanic battle over 93 minutes that earned both players a standing ovation. Ghosal had a similar performance the day before to outlast the Australia Steve Finitsis. Willstrop will be pleased!

In the women’s event World no.1 Nicol David edged out England’s Jenny Duncalf in the 2nd QF, 3-1. David goes through to the semi-finals to face the New Zealander Joelle King who put out Northern Irish International Madeline Perry in straight games.

The England women joined the men by assuring themselves of at least a Silver medal in the evening quarter-final session at the Commonwealth Games when both Laura Massaro and Alison Waters won through to the semi-finals to face each other. Their match will be a replay of National Championship final played in February.

Waters participation however looked in doubt as she dropped the first game as her opponent, Dipika Pallikal, opened up with eight winners but she was soon into her stride to turn things around and see out the match 8-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-6.

Massaro was through comfortably against an opponent with diminished powers. Her opponent Low Wee Wern was in hospital two weeks before the Games recovering from dengue fever. This did not affect Massaro’s performance which was business-like and free of the tension of the previous day. Her aim, she said, was to enjoy and appreciate the occasion. She would be happy enough with her 11-3, 11-2, 11-6 win and will be fresh to face Waters.

Play starts on Sunday at 2pm.

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