England extracted a dose of revenge as they beat New Zealand 2-1 last night to reach the final of the women's team squash championship in Palmerston North.

The fifth-seeded New Zealanders came painfully close to toppling the top seeds after veteran team No 3 Shelley Kitchen opened the tie with a gutsy win over Tania Bailey.

However, No 1 Jaclyn Hawkes went down in four sets to Jenny Duncalf and No 2 Joelle King in a tense five-setter against Laura Massaro, much to the disappointment of a parochial home crowd.

It was a satisfying result for Duncalf and Massaro, who were beaten in the final at last month's Commonwealth Games by Hawkes and King.

With the tie locked at 1-1, Games golden girl King looked to be steering New Zealand to a famous win when she comfortably won the first two sets. However, world No 9 Massaro regrouped to emerge victorious 5-11 7-11 11-7 11-2 11-7 over a player ranked eight spots below her.

Earlier, 31-year-old Kitchen turned back the clock with an 11-8 9-11 15-13 11-7 defeat of Bailey, a match dominated by numerous let and stroke calls which stretched proceedings well beyond an hour.

World No 12 Hawkes began smartly but was worn down by world No 2 Duncalf 7-11 11-9 11-6 11-9 in a match marred by a nasty collision at the start of the fourth set.

New Zealand will play off for third today. England's opponents in the final will be either second-seeds Australia or the fourth-seeded Malaysia, who were to contest the second semifinal in last night's late game.

- NZPA