September 20 , 1998 20:50PM




By Zaiful Mohd Ariffin & Zabidi Osman

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- England bagged their first gold medal in the 16th Commonwealth Games squash competition when Sue Wright and Cassie Jackman won the women's doubles final today.

Wright/Jackman, the second seed in the tournament, outclassed Robyn Cooper/Rachael Grinham of Australia 15-10, 15-12 in the 57-minute clash at the National Squash Complex here.

"We are absolutely delighted to win the first squash gold medal for England," said world number three Jackman after the match.

England had won three bronze medals in the singles and one silver in the mixed doubles through Simon Parke/Suzanne Horner who lost in the final recently.

The English pair started well when they took a 4-0 lead in the first game before the Australians narrowed the gap to 8-10. But numerous mistakes by Cooper/Grinham gave enough room to their opponents to claim a 15-10 victory.

"They were a bit nervous in the beginning and we realised it. So we kept steady and waited for them to make the mistakes," said Wright, the world number four.

The joint fifth seed, Cooper/Grinham, who created a major upset in the quarterfinals by defeating top seed and world champion Philippa Beams and Leilani Joyce of New Zealand, however, failed to bounce back in the second game.

A strong combination of Wright/Jackman had forced the Australians to make numerous errors by hitting the tin or lobbing the ball out.

Wright/Jackman wrapped up the match with a 15-12 win in the second game. "I made more mistakes in the match than Rachael. It was my fault, but anyway we are happy to play in the final and win the silver where we had never expected to do so," said Cooper, who is also the Malaysian women's coach.

The bronze medal of the women's doubles event went to Sarah Fitz-Gerald/Carol Owens of Australia and Claire Nitch/Natalie Grainger of South Africa who lost in the semis yesterday. -- BERNAMA

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