10 – 14 September 2009
BY Arthur Curran
Day 6: The last battle
Rachael Grinham (AUS) (2) vs. Madeline Perry (IRL) (5)
So now we come to the end of this long week awaiting this final between two of the oldest players on the circuit (and I know they will not mind me saying so).
The head to head count between these two lovely ladies since October 2003 is 7 – 1 to Rachael, the only win Madeline managed was in the quarter finals of the KL Open in Feb 2006. They have not met in almost twelve months since Rachael won at the quarter final stage in Qatar in October 2008. The match, scheduled to start at 6.00 pm here in England, was delayed for reasons that may or may not come in the last section of this report*, but it visibly upset Rachael, because the writer was stood with her, and the match did not get started until 6.25 pm. However, this is how it went.
In the first game Rachael took an early lead 2-0, Madeline came back to 3-1, but then Rachael got into her rhythm playing some lovely strokes to take an 8-3 lead. Maddy pulled back two points but Rachael took the next two to have game ball at 10-5. Although Madeline saved the first one Rachael came back to take the next point and win the game 11-6.
In the second the start was very close up to 4-4, Rachael eased out to 6-4 and although Madeline took the next point Rachael finished the game quite comfortably 11-5, helped by at least one tin from Madeline. So it was 2 games to nil for Rachael. Madeline had been in this position before, against world number 1 Nicol David, and she cam back to win. Could Madeline do the same again?
The third game started very closely again but then Rachael took an early lead 6-2. Madeline pulled a couple of points back to 4-6, then Rachael went out to lead 9-4 with some lovely shots. Was this a match too far for Madeline? Nerves seemed to get to both players now, as Rachael tinned one stroke and Madeline won the next to go 6-9, Madeline then tinned the next to give Rachael the match ball at 10-6. Unbelievably Rachael then gave away four strokes on the trot with two tins, a shot right out of the court and one completely missed shot, thus taking the game to a tie break. Unfortunately for Madeline this was one step too far and Rachael served out to win the game 12-10 and the Championship for the fourth time in her career with a 3 games to nil match score in 40 minutes.
This for me was a great end to the Ladies Tournament, this final, as were all the matches previously, was played in a brilliant spirit by two of the loveliest ladies on the circuit. The writer had the pleasure of a short chat with Madeline after the match, and although she was obviously upset at losing, she was so proud to represent Northern Ireland in the Final, the first time ever this had been achieved, and her parents were also so proud of her—and who could blame them?
Well that is all from me now Squash Stars fans, I do hope you have enjoyed my reports from Manchester and I look forward to keeping in touch with many of you through the Squash Stars website and facebook.
Goodbye and good squash to you all.
Arthur Curran lives in Manchester, England and is an avid squash fan, traveling to places like Belfast, Madrid, Monte Carlo, New York, Connecticut, Dublin and Kuala Lumpur to watch major tournaments, as well as extensively in the UK, and have on several occasions reported tournaments for squashsite.co.uk. Although too old and too ill to be able to play the game he is fascinated by the athleticism and skill involved in the game and with the friendliness shown by all the players.
The Men’s Final Result Summary:
Nick Mathew (ENG) (4) bt. James Willstrop (ENG) (10) 8/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/3, 12/10 (123m)
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