By ROD GILMOUR (Squash Mad Correspondent)
There have been instances within the aftermath of Gina Kennedy’s bodily win over SJ Perry, the 2018 finalist, the place the steely brilliance of England Squash’s newest star was briefly unlocked.
Emotion was etched throughout the 25-year-old’s face as, first, it was realised that she had assured a silver medal and, then, that she had achieved a spot within the gold medal match in opposition to Hollie Naughton, the shock Canadian finalist who beat defending ladies’s champion Joelle King.
These Video games have been Kennedy’s single goal. Surrounded by a raft of England champions, Kennedy is one step away from an unimaginable gold. It was a state of affairs she needed to maintain herself again from interested by an excessive amount of.
“I stored envisaging it and what it will really feel like,” stated Kennedy. “I’ve needed to cease myself. It’s only a dream and I’m not content material with silver. I’ll completely go in wanting that gold medal.”
The match-up is one few anticipated. Naughton is a 27-year-old Canadian, born in Barnsley who trains at Pontefract, in addition to with David ‘The Marine’ Palmer within the US.
Belief there to be an Australian tinge in a Commonwealth remaining. In the meantime, Kennedy can even convey robust arms and a bodily armoury, whereas she makes use of the identical energy and conditioning coach as Emma Raducanu.
Each finalists have been attributable to play within the combined doubles on Wednesday; matches can have now been put again a day.
The singles remaining might be an interesting affair, not least for the a number of storylines on provide for the world recreation. Neglect ‘the Raducanu impact’. The Kennedy model may generate lift-off for the English recreation.
Towards Perry, Kennedy needed to cope with her compatriot’s psychological attributes, though she appeared a contact nervous within the opening salvos, potential to rack up fast factors – and remonstrations with the referee. But, the Bromley star had her personal attributes, a love of preserving in factors, a well timed backhand boast, bundles of focus and few errors.
These solely got here on the again finish of the fourth. Main 2-1 and the match heading in the direction of the hour mark, Kennedy discovered herself 10-7 to the nice, whereas she held 5 match balls, two of which discovered the tin. A deep forehand winner later and she or he was in a position to cross the road moments later.
“I didn’t need it to go to a fifth,” added Kennedy. “Her psychological energy is her largest asset and I could have struggled. Bodily, I felt advantageous however should you hit one dangerous shot she will punish you.
“We each performed our greatest squash which is strictly what you need, which is why it may have gone both means.”
Kennedy, interviewed on court docket, turned teary-eyed as she talked about her long-time coach and mentor, Ben Ford, in addition to the work Perry had finished as a ladies’s function mannequin.
“It’s an emotional one,” she added. “The Commonwealth Video games has all the time been a goal for me and coach Ben, who I want was right here. SJ has been a task mannequin for me and it’s one thing I couldn’t have requested for.”
The house crowd has acquired an English finalist and a favorite at that.
Image courtesy of England Squash