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Kiwis get second squash gold of the day


New Zealandís Carol Owens and Leilani Rorani clinched the Commonwealth Games womenís doubles gold medal.

Leilani Rorani

Leilani Rorani in action

The two beat Englandís Tania Bailey and Cassie Jackman 15-11, 5-15, 15-13 in a closely-fought final in Manchester this afternoon.

England had opened up an early lead when Rorani returned into the tin, but the advantage was short-lived. Two errors by Norfolk-based Jackman and one from Stamford-based team mate Bailey put them 1-5 down, although they redressed the balance by taking seven of the next 10 points to tie the game at 8-8.

An Owens miss and some spectacular play by Jackman edged England ahead, but New Zealand clawed back to 11-11 and took the next two points. A Jackman return into the tin was followed by a game-winning point for New Zealand and the first game was over in just over 23 minutes.

England raced out of the blocks in the second game and opened up a 4-0 lead. Hamilton-based Rorani, the winner of the mixed doubles gold medal a mere two hours previously, looked visibly tired. Jackman and Bailey took advantage and romped into a 13-3 lead. The Kiwis managed to claw two points back, but a Rorani return into the tin handed England the match leveller at 15-5.

New Zealand started well in the decider and edged into a 4-1 lead, but England were undaunted and levelled at 5-5. An Owens mistake and a Jackman winner moved England ahead and a tiring Rorani forced a return into the tin to leave the New Zealanders 10-6 adrift.

Several gruelling rallies ensued as the Kiwis clawed their way back into the match with some superb returns. At 11-11 they began to edge away and Rorani served game ball at 14-11. She returned low to hand England a valuable point, but a Jackman return into the tin gave New Zealand that priceless final point and they clinched the gold medal with a 15-13 in the final game.

It was Roraniís second gold medal within the space of four hours and the first major honour for Owens since she switched allegiance from her native Australia.

On coming back from 6-10 down in the third game Rorani said: ďAt 6-10 down I said to Leilani, be patient, be patient. The she rolled the nick off the serve and I couldnít believe it. But thatís the kind of player she is, sheís a shot maker. Iím more of a retriever.Ē

And on the winner she hit to win the match: ďThe funny thing is that when I played Cassie in the doubles in KL, that very shot that I hit, Cassie did that to me when we were 16-16. That very shot. So I got her backĒ

Losing finalist Cassie Jackman said of their defeat: ďIím disappointed to have lost out on the gold twice now, but we have to be pleased to win silver. The crowd were fantastic throughout the games especially today where they backed us on the court. Itís the best atmosphere Iíve ever seen at a squash tournament and I will take away some great memories.Ē

Bronze medals were awarded to the losing semi-finalists, Englandís Linda Charman and Fiona Geaves and the Australian sisters Rachael and Natalie Grinham.

Info News Service/ndp

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