We Have Moved: Check out our all-new website!

Nicol David criticises squash scoring system

World number one Nicol David has criticised proposals made to the World Squash Federation which would impose a professional scoring system upon the whole sport.

The WSF is said to be considering making everyone play with the point-a-rally 11-up scoring used by the two pro tours, believing it would make squash easier to understand and establish unity for its Olympic bid.

But David - now a Datuk, a rare and highly prestigious title bestowed upon outstanding Malaysian citizens - believes it would be a mistake to abandon the traditional hand in hand-out scoring used for more than 80 years.

Asked if there was a risk of such a change producing very short matches, David replied: "Yes, definitely. Normal scoring would be so much better for the juniors and grass roots.

"The game is all about how to come back when you are down. It's never over till it's over: the essence of the normal scoring.

"But with American (point a rally) scoring you will get less fightbacks.That would be such a shame and I really hope it doesn't go that way."

David, who is a strong favourite to regain the title at next week's World Open in Manchester after topping the rankings for 26 consecutive months, also has doubts about the effects of the point-a-rally scoring upon the women's professional game.

The new system was only adopted by the WISPA Tour in July, copying the PSA (men's) tour, and will be used for the first time in a world championship here.

"It's a big change," David said. "Having established women's squash at such a good level with the normal scoring, and changing it to American scoring, it's a bit difficult for most girls to have to adapt straight away.

"But in the end you have to deal with what's going on. Hopefully the quality of what we produced with nine-point scoring will transfer to American scoring.

"But there are some variations in our matches now. Some top players don't like it. Somehow we have to adapt. It could be disruptive."

Rachael Grinham, who will defend the world title against David's challenge, is also unsure how the new scoring will affect the women's professional game.

"I wasn't keen on the change in the beginning but I understand it was inevitable really so I've been trying to look at the positive sides of it," the Australian said.

"I agree that it makes it more interesting from a spectator's point of view, although it's only because it makes so many games much closer - I don't think it makes the actual squash more interesting.

"That's down to the players you watch; the scoring system will never make a difference there.

"From a player's point of view, it's taking a bit to get used to. I'm finding myself quite unsure a lot of the time as to how to play, whether to attack or play safe.

"So I think it's going to take a good six months to settle into it. I'm still getting used to it and need to play a little more to form an opinion."

The chief executive of women's tour (WISPA), Andrew Shelley, was also critical of point-a-rally scoring being imposed on the whole sport. But he thinks it is good for the women's tour.
"We spent 16 months testing it, and we knew there would be disadvantages," Shelley said. "If someone has a long lead, the chances of recovering are reduced (with point-a-rally), but if a match is close the scoring adds a frisson of excitement. So overall it works.

"But we wouldn't advocate it for the game as a whole," he emphasised, referring to the WSF's forthcoming decision. "Pro scoring, as we prefer to call it, works for the leading players. We wouldn't advocate for the general public."