High Fives For World Masters Davenport, Murphy & Van Der Wath
While Australia swept the board with 17 medals
- seven of them gold - on today's final day of action in the WSF
World Masters Squash Championships in Hong Kong, it was
South African Craig van der Wath, England's Averil Murphy
and Australian Geoffrey Davenport who stole the headlines
after winning record fifth titles.
More than 750 players from all corners of the globe
have been competing in 18 World Masters events - from Men's and
Women's Over-35 through to Men's Over-80 categories - with action
split between the Hong Kong Squash Centre and Hong Kong
Van der Wath, a 48-year-old former world No31 who won
his first World Masters title in 2001, successfully defended his
Over-45 crown by beating fellow countryman Michael Tootill,
the No2 seed, 13-11, 11-4, 11-5 in the 32-minutes final.
Davenport began his successful Masters run in 2003,
winning the first of two Over-45 titles. Over seven round of the
Over-55 championship, the 56-year-old from Sydney dropped just a
single game before brushing aside compatriot Kelvin Smith
11-1, 11-5, 11-9 in 21 minutes in today's final.
But it was back in 1989 that Averil Murphy
started stocking her trophy cabinet with World Masters gold medals
after winning the Women's Over-40 title. 25 years on and the
66-year-old from Essex still has what it takes.
Murphy justified her top billing by dismissing
France's 3/4 seed Claire Bryars 11-8, 11-9, 11-1 in just 15
minutes to win her fifth title in a fourth age category.
Mother and daughter Grainger pulled off their
anticipated family double when World Masters' debutante Natalie
Grainger clinched the Women's Over-35 title and true event
veteran Jean Grainger, the distinguished 71-year-old South
African, picked up her fourth World title with victory in the
Women's Over-70 championship.
But while 37-year-old 'youngster' Natalie,
representing the USA, grabbed her title after just a single game
when second-seeded Australian Melissa Martin was forced to
retire through injury, Jean was taken the full distance in her final
before prevailing 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 over compatriot
Five-time World Open champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald
came out on top in the Women's Over-45 event, beating fellow
Australian Sarah Nelson 11-9, 11-2, 11-1 in 17 minutes. The
Bronze medal went to unseeded Susan Davis in the only event
in which one country claimed a clean sweep of the medals.
After Melissa's misery in the Women's Over-35 final,
there was further disappointment for the Martin family when husband
Brett Martin, top seed in the Men's Over-50 event, went down
to second seed Willie Hosey, the defending champion from
Ireland, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11.
The biggest surprise of the day came in the Women's
Over-50 final when Australia's 5/8 seed Sue Hillier became
the lowest seed to claim gold when she upset South African top seed
Leora Greenwood 11-2, 11-4, 11-3.
Australia also benefited from a significant upset in
the Women's Over-55 final where 3/4 seed Mary Sceney defeated
top-seeded compatriot Anne Richards 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-3 to
win her first World Masters title since Over-40 success in 2001.
Over-70:  Jean Grainger (RSA) bt [3/4]
Sheena Worwood (RSA) 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 (38m)
Bronze medal play-off: Norma Fulling (ENG) bt Dawn Kaiser
(RSA) 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (19m)
& Smith Snatch World Masters Final Slots In Hong Kong
Seeded only to make the quarter-finals, South African
Zuko Kubukeli and Australian Kelvin Smith carved out
places in the finals of the WSF World Masters Squash
Championships in Hong Kong after successful upsets in
today's semi-finals of the Men's Over-40 and Over-55 events,
Kubukeli, a 41-year-old from Johannesburg who only
just made it into the top 300 on the PSA World Tour, took
just 26 minutes to see off second-seeded compatriot Craig Wapnick,
a former world No32, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5.
Underdog Kubukeli (pictured above in World Masters
action with Wapnick, rear) will now have another Craig to
contend with when he takes on Craig Rowland, the top seed and
ex-world No7 from Australia, in Friday's Over-40 final.
a world top ten player in the mid-80s, wound back the clock to
despatch Singapore's No2 seed Zainal Abidin 11-8, 14-12, 11-9
to earn a surprise place in the Men's Over-55 final. The 55-year-old
will line up in the final against fellow countryman Geoffrey
Davenport, the 56-year-old top seed looking for his fifth World
Masters title since 2003.
In what was described as the 'Match of the Day',
Australian squash hero Brett Martin - the 51-year-old former
world No2 making his World Masters debut - recovered from 2/1 down
to beat Hong Kong-based former Singapore international Peter Hill
11-3, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 in 49 minutes.
Top seed in the Men's Over-50 event, Martin
(pictured above in action with left-hander Hill) will now face
second seed Willie Hosey after the Irishman beat England's
Jonathan Clark 11-13, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5.
South Africa are already assured of two titles, while
Australians feature in ten of the finals and are guaranteed three
On Course For World Masters Family Double In Hong Kong
At opposite ends of the age range, former world No1
Natalie Grainger and her mother Jean Grainger are on
course for a family double at the WSF World Masters Squash
Championships in Hong Kong.
More than 750 players from all corners of the globe
are competing in 18 World Masters events - from Men's and Women's
Over-35 through to Men's Over-80 categories - with action split
between the Hong Kong Squash Centre and Hong Kong Football
In today's semi-finals of the Women's Over-35 event,
USA-based top seed Natalie brushed aside South African Farrah
Fenner 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 to set up a final against second-seeded
Australian Melissa Martin.
Meanwhile favourite Jean downed fellow South African
Dawn Kaiser to reach the Over-70 final where she will take on
compatriot Sheena Worwood in a bid to win her fourth World
Masters title after successes at O55, O60 and O65.
Australian Brian Cook put paid to the chances
of a Grainger treble when he defeated Jean's husband Chris
Grainger 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10 in today's Men's Over-65
semi-finals. Top seed Cook will now face surprise opponent
Frikkie Bester, a 3/4 seed from South Africa, in the final.
flanked by daughter Natalie and wife Jean
But Over-35 underdog Melissa Martin will also
have a family double on her mind while her top-seeded husband
Brett Martin is still in the running for the Men's Over-50
title. The former world No2, competing in his first Masters
championship, despatched England's Eamonn Price in today's
quarter-finals and will now meet Singapore's Peter Hill for a
place in the final.
Australian Dave Fuller became the only
unseeded player to survive today's action unscathed. The 55-year-old
ousted England's 9/16 seed Dermot Hurford in the Men's
Over-55 quarter-finals and will now face fellow Australian
Geoffrey Davenport - the top seed who boasts two World titles at
both Over-45 and Over-50 - for a place in the final.