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New Zealand & Wales Make World Quarter-Finals

After a dramatic final day of qualifying action in the WSF Women’s World Junior Team Squash Championship inBoston, USA, ninth seeds New Zealand and tenth seeds Wales claimed unexpected place in the quarter-finals of the World Squash Federation event at the Murr Center at Harvard University.

New Zealand faced eighth seeds Canada for second place in Pool A – and a berth in the quarter-finals. Megan Craig put the Kiwis ahead with a 41-minute win over Danielle Letourneau, but the match was anyone’s all the way up to a nail-biting nine-all in the fifth!

Canada then battled back from the brink of early defeat when Hollie Naughton came from 2/0 down and eight-all in the third to beat Danielle Fourie 12-14, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 to level the tie.

The decider reached one game all before New Zealander Rebecca Barnett beat the Canadian number two Michelle Gemmell 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 to put the ninth seeds into the last eight.

“We knew that this would be the crucial one, and in matches like this anything can happen,” Kiwi coach Joanne Williamstold the official website www.worldsquash.org/worldjuniors2011 later. “The pressure was really on both sets of girls, but I think we were a little more nervous than they were, for some reason.

“Megan played so well, she did what needed to be done, and Danielle was so close to finishing it off. But Rebecca played really well in the last match. We’re all just delighted to be through!”

Wales made their Pool B breakthrough on day one by beating seventh seeds Australia. But after going down to hostsUSA, the No2 seeds, in the morning, the tenth seeds brushed aside championship newcomers Guyana 3/0 to ensure a second place finish in the pool – and a place in the quarter-finals.

The slip by Australia will leave the three times former champions outside the top eight for the third time in a row since 2005.

England, winners of the title five times, slipped up in their final tie in Pool D. After Emily Whitlock put the fourth seeds ahead against MalaysiaVanessa Raj levelled the tie for the No5 seeds with an 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 victory overSophie Lemom.

Malaysian second string Sue Ann Yong then clinched victory for the underdogs after fighting back from 2/0 down to beatKatie Smith 12-14, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 in 62 minutes.

The result puts both sides into the quarter-finals – but whilst Malaysia will line up against sixth seeds Hong Kong China, England must face third seeds India.

“That’s a really good win for us – to beat England is a great achievement,” said Malaysian coach Allan Pete Soyza. “The decider was an up and down match, but Sue Ann did really well to come back from two games down.

“It’s a young team we have, and one of the best I’ve been involved with for team spirit and camaraderie.

“Tomorrow’s another day, and it’s wonderful that we’re now guaranteed at least one Asian semi-finalist, but for now we’ll just enjoy this win.”

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] EGYPT v [10] WALES

9th – 16th place play-offs:
[8] CANADA v [13/16] GUYANA
[12] GERMANY v [13/16] ECUADOR

Full details on the official site: www.worldsquash.org/worldjuniors2011

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