While Egypt, England and France secured semi-final slots as predicted by the seedings, it was 11th seeds Wales who created the headlines on day five of the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship in Washington DC after beating British rivals Scotland to earn a place in the last four for the first time for 20 years.
23 nations are competing in the 26th edition of the championships, hosted by US Squash, at Squash On Fire, the new state-of-the-art eight-court facility in the US capital.
Later, it was Wales who claimed the right to face Egypt – beating British rivals Scotland 2/0 to claim a semi-final berth for the first time since 1999.
Incredibly, the tie marked the first time the two countries had met in the championships since 1995 – when coach David Evans led them to a 3/0 win.
It was a 2/0 win over sixth seeds Hong Kong that propelled Wales, the 11th seeds, into the quarter-final clash with 9th seeds Scotland.
Second string Peter Creed, the world No.75, put Wales into the driving seat with an impressive 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 upset win over Alan Clyne, ranked 36 places higher. With the Welsh bench in vociferous support, the team number one Joel Makin, ranked 12 in the world, despatched Greg Lobban 15-13, 11-8, 11-5 to take his team back into the world semis after 20 years.
“Creedy played a joke there, he didn’t make many errors and was attacking,” said the jubilant Makin afterwards. “When he’s moving well like that he’s really hard to break down, so I knew I had to play well and wrap it up.
“I knew I just had to be solid and he was so broken up and it’s not the way you want to play but that’s what you have to do in these kind of situations is just get through them.
“Emyr (Evans) closed out a big win yesterday and Creedy did the same today. We back ourselves, we are a good team and we did well today.”
Welsh coach David Evans, a former British Open champion, was equally upbeat: “I’m very, very pleased. Coming here, we were looking for a top eight finish, for our funding, but when the draw opened up it was a massive opportunity for the boys – and they’ve taken it with both hands.”
On the fact that it is 24 years since the nations last met in the event, Evans said: “We play Scotland a lot in the Europeans – but on a three-man team, there’s a different dynamic. But they were probably thinking the same today, that there was a massive opportunity to get through to the semi-finals. And, luckily, now we’re here.
“We’re playing Egypt now, the number one seeds – but as you can see, Germany took them very close today – and with only three players in the team, anything’s possible.
“Joel, our number one is capable of beating anyone in the world at the moment. I know our boys will give it everything.”
Full details and interviews can be seen by visiting: https://worldteamsquashdc.com/2019/12/day-five-roundup-wales-gatecrash-world-team-championship-semis-in-washington/