King and Landers-Murphy squash gold ends NZ’s campaign on a high
Joelle King has finished her quest for redemption, taking gold in the women’s doubles final alongside Amanda Landers-Murphy.
Coll and King took down England in a fierce final 2-0 [11-8, 11-8] to wrap up New Zealand’s campaign in Birmingham, adding a 20th gold medal to the already historic 11 days of results.
The English team – made up of Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters – made their tactic clear early in the match, keeping the ball away from King and challenging Landers-Murphy to score the early points.
The 31-year-old, back in Birmingham to defend her doubles title after being coaxed out of retirement by King, was up for the challenge though and got the New Zealand duo out to a 5-2 lead early on.
England clawed back the early deficit after a series of lets and reviews; Perry unafraid to be both vocal and physical on her half of the court with Landers-Murphy.
That saw the first game locked at 6-6 before England took their first lead of the match with an impressive power shot from Waters.
The scores then locked back up at 8-8 as the two sides wrestled back and forth in multiple rallies lasting over 30 seconds at a time before the Kiwis pushed ahead again – a moment that spurred chants of “come on England” from the Brum crowd as Perry made her frustrations with the referee’s calls known.
It was the Kiwi fans who got to make more noise moments later though with King and Landers-Murphy sealing the first game 11-8.
The tense back-and-forth nature continued to start the second game with New Zealand jumping out to a 2-0 lead which England clawed back before the two nations traded points to 4-4.
King then got her chance to make an impact, with two superb shots being unreachable for the English duo and allowing them to jump ahead 6-4 – a lead which grew by another three points and Landers-Murphy jumped on the sudden surge in momentum.
The run ended at 9-5 though after Landers-Muprhy fired the ball out of the court which the hometown crowd saw as their moment to get behind the English duo and raise their voices again.
England continued to claw their way back into the game, winning the next two points – including a monster rally that lasted over a minute – before New Zealand moved to gold medal ball at 10-7.
England took the next point but New Zealand wrapped the match after that, taking the gold with an 11-8 win in game two.
The win means flagbearer King finishes with two gold medals in Birmingham after vowing last week to “make amends” for her fourth place finish in the women’s singles competition.