Ir­ish eyes smile at eighth place

Stockport Times West - - SPORT -

LAURA My­lotte made her own piece of his­tory in help­ing the Ire­land team fin­ish eighth at the Women’s World team Squash Cham­pi­onships on Canada.

The 39-year-old, who lives in Heaton Moor, was not only the old­est player to com­pete in the tour­na­ment but also set a record in the ladies’ game, hav­ing ap­peared in the Se­nior World Team Cham­pi­onships 20 years ago.

How­ever, that piece of his­tory lat­ter

was equalled by Amer­i­can player Natalie Grainger, who also ap­peared at the same event in Guernsey in 1994.

My­lotte, the mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager at Life Leisure, en­dured an in­ten­sive week at the 20-strong com­pe­ti­tion.

Four matches were played in the first three days’ com­pe­ti­tion as teams bat­tled it out in pools of five, all look­ing for a top-two fin­ish to guar­an­tee a quar­ter-fi­nal place. Ire­land got off to a great start, beat­ing China, Colom­bia and New Zealand be­fore los­ing 3-0 in their fi­nal match against tour­na­ment favourites Egypt, a side whose three play­ers were all ranked in the world’s top 10.

The last eight saw Ire­land beaten 3-0 by the even­tual cham­pi­ons, Eng­land, mean­ing they were in the play-offs for the teams seek­ing to fin­ish be­tween fifth and eighth.

They came up against the USA, who had gone into the tour­na­ment ranked sixth – above the Ir­ish – and who took an unas­sail­able 2-0 lead be­fore My­lotte played a dead rub­ber match.

De­feat saw them face Aus­tralia on a fi­nal day which be­gan in some con­tro­versy.

Ire­land’s num­ber one player – and ranked 14th in the world – Made­line Perry was in­formed hal­fan-hour be­fore the game that she was not al­lowed to play due to an is­sue with a sus­pected in­jury – de­spite hav­ing been signed off by a doc­tor and a physio.

A re­jigged Ire­land team put up a brave fight with Bre­anne Flynn and Ais­ling Blake los­ing – the lat­ter in the de­cid­ing set – to see them fin­ish eighth over­all.

“I am re­ally proud to have been part of such a great event and it was a fan­tas­tic re­sult for the team,” My­lotte said.

“In 20 years play­ing the event we have never been treated to such a de­light­ful venue.

“The fi­nal play-off against the Aussies was some­what dis­ap­point­ing, but that is sport.”

(l-r): Bre­anne Flynn, Laura My­lotte, Ais­ling Blake and Made­line Perry at the Women’s World Team Squash Cham­pi­onship

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