New Zealand squash team still in good shape

IAN ANDERSON IN GLASGOW
Last updated 10:05 04/08/2014
Joelle King
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
DISAPPOINTED: Kiwi squash star Joelle King was disappointed not to win a bronze medal in the mixed doubles on the final day of competition in Glasgow.

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The New Zealand squash team will leave Glasgow with just one medal but in good shape for the future.

That's according to leading men's player Martin Knight, who missed out on gaining a gong when he and mixed doubles partner Joelle King were beaten in a three-game thriller by Australia's Cameron Pilley and Kasey Brown to see the trans-Tasman rivals gain bronze.

King was the country's sole medallist, claiming bronze in the women's singles when she found world number one and dominant figure Nicol David too tough to conquer again.

Knight and King almost won a bronze medal to go with the silver they gained in the same event at the 2010 Games in Delhi but in a gruelling, high-quality affair, they perished when the Australians were given the benefit of a couple of critical refereeing calls late in the final game.

There was a promising men's doubles effort by the relatively inexperienced duo of Lance Beddoes and Paul Coll while Campbell Grayson fell agonisingly short of the medal round in an upset effort in the men's singles.

Knight, 30, said New Zealand squash was in a good position.

"We've got eight players here, which is our biggest team we've had at a Commonwealth Games since I've been involved.

"Things are very positive - there's some good young players coming through," Knight said.

"We had a pair in the men's - they [Beddoes and Coll] actually beat us in the round of 16 and almost made the quarters. They lost 11-9 in a brutal match to the English guys that won bronze.

"Joelle's 25 year's old, she's fourth in the world and not even reached her prime yet. We've got Megan Craig, Amanda Landers-Murphy, Kylie Lindsay all playing top-50 squash and we do have some juniors coming through."

Knight said a good programme in New Zealand should continue to develop talent.

"Things are really positive, and hopefully for the future, when a couple of the old boys like myself start to retire, we're going to have some good players coming through."

Knight and King, when pushed, admitted they'd have loved a little more favour on the big calls that swayed the game Australia's way, but were also proud of their part in a top-drawer match that lasted one hour and 18 minutes.

"The quality was really high, through the whole match really," King said minutes after the 11-8 9-11 8-11 loss.

"They're a tough team. We put everything we could out there today and they just pipped us at the finish line.

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"Honestly, it's quite raw right now, but later on I'm sure we'll reflect and come out with a lot of positives."

"We did get off to a good start in the second, but they played a lot of tough rallies," Knight said of Australia's comeback.

"There was a momentum shift throughout every game, but I don't think the quality dropped off from any team at all throughout.

"There was just small margins."

Rather than blame refereeing, King took the weight on her shoulders.

"It was probably just a little loss of concentration from me," she said.

"I let two easy points to go and that gave them the match ball.

"We fought back hard, but once you are match ball down to a quality pair like that they don't really let you off the hook."

- Stuff

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