Nations Cup : Finals Day
The inaugural Nations Cup concluded in Tauranga today with the 3rd/4th playoff and the Final ..
First up it was the teams in second place in the Pools, Team Europe and Canada, playing for 3rd/4th positions. Then a dramatic finale saw the top two seeds New Zealand and England facing off to become the inaugural Nations Cup Champions.
You can watch the action Live on SquashTV and also on Sky Sports NZ.
3rd/4th :  Team Europe 2-0  Canada
Nele Gilis 4-2 Hollie Naughton 6-7, 1-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-2, 7-1 (42m)
Sebastien Bonmalais 4-0 David Baillargeon 7-1, 7-1, 7-2, 7-5 (30m)
Final :  New Zealand 1-1  England (4-4, 44-45)
Joelle King 4-0 Sarah-Jane Perry 7-4, 7-2, 7-5, 7-6 (37m)
Paul Coll 0-4 Mohamed ElShorbagy 5-7, 6-7, 1-7, 4-7
England win 45-44 on points countback ! report to follow
England beat hosts New Zealand to win inaugural Nations Cup
England are the Carrus Nations Cup champions after they overcame hosts New Zealand by the slimmest of margins earlier today in a thrilling finale to the inaugural SquashFORWARD event, which has taken place at the Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga this week.
After Joelle King had beaten Sarah-Jane Perry 4-0, England knew that only a 4-0 win in the men’s match would give them a chance of victory.
Mohamed ElShorbagy put in a devastating performance to beat home favourite Paul Coll 7-5, 7-6, 7-1, 7-4 after 43 nail-biting minutes of world-class squash.
Coll was cheered on by a packed home crowd but narrowly missed out on victory for New Zealand, with a rampant ElShorbagy coming up with a spell-binding display to capture his first trophy in England colours having switched allegiance from Egypt in June of this year.
ElShorbagy’s triumph – coupled with Perry’s 7-4, 7-2, 7-5, 7-6 defeat to King – saw England ultimately win 45-44 on points to become the inaugural Nations Cup champions.
“I’ve got Sarah-Jane Perry to thank,” said ElShorbagy afterwards. “I’ve been asking her questions the whole week about how to deal with things. She has been leading the team this whole week and has done an incredible job with me. All of her advice during the game today has been unbelievable.
“It’s an honour to represent England beside her. She has been leading the way for so many years for England, and it’s such an honour to win with her.”
Perry said: “Even in my match I was thinking to myself that I had to win as many points as possible in the last couple of games.
“I wanted to give Mo a chance. He’s an absolute legend of the game and he took that chance and went with it and played incredibly. I’ve got to thank Mo today for his incredible performance.”
The third-place play-off was contested by Team Europe and Canada, with the former – represented by Belgium’s Nele Gilis and France’s Sebastien Bonmalais – prevailing.
Gilis came back from two games down to overcome Hollie Naughton, winning 6-7, 1-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-2, 7-1 in 42 minutes.
“I’m feeling good. I’m very happy to sneak that win for Team Europe,” said Gilis. “From 2-0 down, she still needed two games, so I thought, okay, that’s still a long way to go, actually, so I knew I could fight my way back into this. If it was best of five and 2-0 down, that’s a tough ask to come back from.”
Sebastien Bonmalais closed out the win for Europe following a dominant 7-1, 7-1, 7-2, 7-5 triumph.
“I was feeling very comfortable on the court and was finding everything, my shots, my length, and I’m happy I managed to win 4-0 today against a friend and roommate in David,” Bonmalais said.
“I knew if Nele had lost the match, I would have to beat David like this, but with the pressure on it. So of course it was brilliant that she won and she make a good comeback and I’m happy with the team.”
The Nations Cup was the first instalment of the new SquashFORWARD series, created to trial changes to the traditional competition and scoring formats used at official PSA tournaments. More information on the rules is available here.
Next up is the men’s Robertson Lodges New Zealand Open and women’s Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open. The two PSA World Tour Silver events will also take place at the Trustpower Baypark Arena with King and Coll topping the draws between November 8-13. The action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and Sky Sport NZ.