Finally recovering from World Women’s Teams!
It was an amazing week of squash, both playing and watching.
First of all, the venue was incredible: three glass courts, all a joy to play on; lots of space for all the teams and spectators; a restaurant available; a players’ lounge; great booths up in the front lobby. Not to mention extremely friendly volunteers and staff who had a great eye for details.
And then there was the squash, which was great from the get go.
Right away on day one we got a crack at Australia, eventual semi-finalists. I would say we had them worried in each match, as all three of us that played won the first game. I guess when I went on first and did that, and my teammates tried to make me feel better by doing the same!
Then Day 2 was the end of the pool play, and for us was Canada vs Austria. This was where we got our feet under us and logged our first W, with three solid 3-0 wins.
Day 3 brought the round of 16, since we came second in our pool. Up against New Zealand, we knew we were in tough, but we are always up for a fight! With an intense and huge effort from Susie in the first match, we pulled ahead 1-0. Then a 3-1 loss from me levelled us at 1-1, leaving it to Alex. Lots of pressure on this match, of course, and it was good squash, a nervous first game from Alex, but then neck and neck. Jaclyn pulled away in each game, and New Zealand took it 2 games to 1.
Day 4 was an important match that we needed to win to stay in the running for 9th place. The Czech girls are tough competitors, so we made sure to bring it! We managed to get through and avoid putting Steph in the pressure position of having to win the last match. I won 3-1 vs Lucie, whom I lost to in 5 last time, and Alex won an AWESOME match with Olga. The two of them played amazing, tight squash. So 2-0 for us in the first round of the cons, didn’t get to play the last match.
Day 5 we played the home team, France. Definitely a learning experience playing in front of such a thunderous crowd. But our cheering gave them a run for their money! Felt bad for anyone playing at the same time… We gave them a run for their money on court as well. I went out and took the first game from Camille, and I think that made her a bit nervous. Unfortunately, she took the next three, but great games! Then on went Susie, and we were pretty pumped when she went 2-0, 5-1 up vs Laura. It’s never over though, and Laura clawed her way back as Susie made more mistakes than winners. Alex went on for the dead rubber vs Coline and lost a quick two, tough to get up after Susie’s match and Coline was playing superb. Disappointing loss for us, but worth remembering for when we have the crowd behind us next WWT in Niagara Falls, 2014!
The final day of match play was an exciting one. We were up against South Africa, and we were hoping to finish the week off with a solid performance, and to meet our seed of 11. That happened, but unfortunately it wasn’t us giving the solid performance! Alex went on first with Diana, and just had no answers. Diana played very steady and consistent, and slotted in some great drops. 3-0 to Diana. Then I went on with Siyoli, and I believe we’ve never played, but I knew more or less what to expect. I had no answers either! She played strong and fast and I couldn’t handle it.
We then got cleaned up and headed to watch the final. On paper, England was the stronger team, as shown by their seed of 1. But with all the excitement in the WSA top 20 in the last few months, it’s really anyone’s game. We didn’t expect each match to be so very, very close, that’s for sure! Just amazing squash from both teams, and all players. It was a pleasure to watch. Egypt ended up winning 2 games to 1, with Alison beating Nour 3-2, Raneem beating Laura 3-1, and finally, Omneya beating Jenny 3-2. Congratulations to both!!
So in the end, Canada finished off 12th, one better than our result at the last WWT in New Zealand. Maybe we’ll keep on moving up one spot at a time, keep your eye out for Canada in 2034!
Highlights of the week include our poor attempts at speaking French, the awesome transportation guys, dance parties, going into Nimes to check out the Arene and the beautiful downtown, crepes, crazy amounts of bread, the amazing final and funny closing ceremony, and a nice final night in Aix-en-Provence!