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Squash: Jackman lifts England

CASSIE JACKMAN, contrary to the world rankings, has been promoted to No 1 in the England order for the defence of their team title in the Silver Unicorn World Championships here this week.

The fact that their nearest rivals, Australia, have not protested means that the 19-year-old, who has never played for England in the championships, could face another meeting with Susan Devoy, the world open champion who announced her retirement three days ago, if the two reach the semi-finals.

The New Zealander has agreed to represent her country, even though the chances of them finishing higher than third place are slim. Jackman was the only player to take a game off Devoy last week and was promoted to No 1 in the English rankings the week before.

Her unchallenged promotion in the order, though, has raised eyebrows in some quarters. The Australians are not usually slow to object and currently Jackman is fourth in the world rankings with Martine le Moignan, the former world champion, at No 2.

Moreover, le Moignan is generally thought more likely to do well against the Australian second string, Robyn Lambourne, than against Michelle Martin, who does not worry Jackman.

Therefore, the promotion of the world junior champion may improve England's chances of gaining their fifth successive world title. They start today against the Germans, while Australia open their challenge when meeting the Netherlands.

South Africa, meanwhile, following the years of isolation, began their campaign yesterday with two wins against Singapore and Brazil.