Kent’s Adrian Grant won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games men’s doubles after partnering world champion Nick Matthew in Glasgow.
They had reached the final by overwhelming Scotland’s home favourites Alan Clyne and Harry Leitch in front of the noisiest crowd ever heard in squash, with a full-house audience at the Scotstoun venue creating an incredible atmosphere throughout the singles and doubles.
From 7-5 down in the opening game, Grant and Matthew took control to win 17 of the next 19 points to win 11-7, 11-2 to book a place in the final against the experienced Australian combo of Cam Pilley and four-times world champion David Palmer.
Palmer came out of retirement at the age of 38 to go for a gold medal but it was Pilley who struck the decisive blows. With the score locked at one game all and 9-9 in the third, the hardest hitter in world squash nailed two straight forehands that caught Matthew slightly out of position. That gave Australia the title with a scoreline of 10-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 80 minutes of absorbing combat.
The squash tournaments were an outstanding success in Glasgow, with superb daily coverage from the BBC and more than 35,000 spectators visiting Scotstoun, many of them seeing top-class squash for the first time.
Nick Matthew’s triumph in the men’s singles final against James Willstrop was a pulsating match lasting one hour 40 minutes, and was watched by a TV audience of more than one million.
Later that evening, Nick was joined on the BBC sofa by fellow England medal winners James, Laura Massaro and Peter Barker as they chatted to Gary Lineker on prime-time TV. All made a solid case for squash being part of the Olympic Games, and Gary agreed.
Another major success was the new format for the doubles, with a wider court and a lower tin set at 13 inches. This encouraged more attacking play and produced some dramatic matches.
Discussions have already begun with court manufacturers about producing new doubles courts using these dimensions and I would be very keen to hear some feedback from Kent clubs.
In the USA, nearly every squash club has a bigger (hardball) doubles court.
Is it time we started introducing full-sized doubles courts here in the UK?