September 20 , 1998 21:30PM




By Zabidi Osman/Zaiful Mohd Ariffin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- England won two of the three doubles gold medals at stake in the 16th Commonwealth Games squash competition today.

England came back strongly to claim the women's doubles and men's doubles titles after losing the mixed doubles gold to the Australians in the first final of the day.

Australia's Craig Rowland/Michelle Martin had earlier upstaged favourites Simon Parke/Suzanne Horner of England 15-4, 15-7 in the mixed doubles final to go two up over the English team.

Michelle had won the women's singles gold medal on Wednesday.

In the women's doubles final, Sue Wright/Cassie Jackman stopped the Australian onslaught when they beat Robyn Cooper/Rachael Grinham 15-10, 15-12 to take the title.

They picked the first squash gold for England with the win before compatriots Paul Johnson/Mark Chaloner followed suit with their victory in the men's doubles.

The much anticipated final however turned out to be a dull affair with the fourth seeds surprisingly having an easy outing, thrashing third seeds Rodney Eyles/Byron Davis 15-8, 15-4.

The Australians yesterday caused the biggest upset when they outplayed world doubles champions and top seeds Chris Walker/Mark Cairn in the semifinal.

The fourth seeded English pair were obviously under pressure to pick up the gold following the unexpected exit of Walker/Cairns, but came strongly to wrap up the match in over 36 minutes.

They raced to a 10-3 lead in the first game before some lapses of concentration enabled their opponents to close the gap to 8-13, however they stormed back to end the game 15-8.

It was a one way race to the finish in the second game which took only 16 minutes with the Englishmen wrapping it up 15-4.

"It is time to win a gold medal in the Games is like a dream comes true," said Chaloner.

In the mixed doubles final, Australians Craig Rowland partnered Michelle Martin to upstage favourites Simon Parke/Suzanne Horner of England 15-4, 15-7.

"It is fantastic to win the second medal," says Michelle after the match.

She won the singles gold medal on Wednesday after defeating fellow Australian and the world number one Sarah Fitz-Gerald.

"We played well together...i'm getting the feel for the doubles," she added.

Australia led the medal tally with two gold, three silver and a bronze followed by England with two gold, one silver and four bronze.

The gold medal in the men's singles went to world number one, Peter Nicol of Scotland. -- BERNAMA

Copyright 1998 BERNAMA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form except with the prior express permission of BERNAMA.