Perry has to settle for silver after ‘harsh’ call

Sarah-Jane Perry shows off her silver medal with Team England gold medallist James Willstrop.
Sarah-Jane Perry shows off her silver medal with Team England gold medallist James Willstrop.

Kenilworth’s Sarah-Jane Perry admitted she might have “a few nightmares” after a crucial misjudgment in the squash women’s singles final on the Gold Coast.

In a feisty encounter, Perry, saved a match point at 2-1 down to New Zealand’s Joelle King and fought back from 4-0 down in the decider to level at 8-8.

However, with the momentum in her favour, Perry stopped expecting a let call which did not come after contact with King in the centre of the court.

The higher-ranked King then picked up the two subsequent points to close out a 16-14, 11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8 success and leave Perry to reflect on the contentious ruling from the referee.

“Joelle played a fantastic match, she’s such an amazing player,” said Perry.

“She used to be my bogey player - I was hoping to beat her before she gets to double figures on me.

“She’s worked so hard for this, I tried everything.

“I thought I got a harsh decision from the referee who didn’t agree with me but you know, that’s how the game goes.

“She played amazingly with hardly any errors so what can you do?”

Perry’s will-to-win was emphasised by repeated heated exchanges with the referee and a collision with a side wall which prompted a three-minute injury time-out.

And while her outbursts won her few admirers, she said that it is that fire which has propelled her to the top of the women’s game.

“When I was younger so many people said I wasn’t the right body size or shape, but you know, me and Joelle are a very similar height.

“I was slightly overweight as a kid. I learnt to hit in different angles, there’s almost a deception in my game.

“You know I never listen to people, I use it as fuel to push me on and it gives me that fire to get better and I’m very proud to be here today. Really proud of myself and thankful to the people who helped get me here, my family, friends and my coach.”

While the 27-year-old has now got the doubles to focus on, in which she is partnering Laura Massaro, she did allow herself to look ahead to 2022 and a home Commonwealth Games.

“In four years, the centre for squash will be close to home in Birmingham, so that’s just a train away.

“I’ve played on those courts loads of times. It will really be a home game! it will definitely help push me through the sessions.”