Yet, the fourth-seeded Sabahans combined well to upset top seeded pairs to win their first Grand Finals SportExcel-Milo-NSC girls doubles title.
The Sabahan pair, who idolise eight-time world champion Nicol David, beat third seed Eugenia Sulan-Nathalie Sim of Sarawak 11-8, 11-8 in the final at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
In the quarter-finals, Doyce-Jessica had no problem beating the Kulasegaran sisters Vinikasheinie and Vitrikashienie of Selangor 11-5, 11-8.
In the semi-finals, they came back from a game down to upset top seeds Aira Azman-Anrie Goh of Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) 9-11, 11-10, 11-10.
Doyce, who took up squash four years ago, was delighted with her efforts.
“It feels nice to win the SportExcel Grand final title at age of 12. What makes it special is that I partnered Jessica just two months ago,” said Doyce, a Year Six pupil of St. Francis School in Kota Kinabalu.
“We did not play in the first leg of SportExcel because Jessica was busy with her SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) examinations in November.
“We played the second leg early this month and finished runners-up. This time, we were confident of winning the title in the grand finals after beating the top seeds in the semis-finals.
“Winning the title is a boost for me for the British Junior Open in Birmingham from Jan 2-6,” said Doyce, who will be featuring in the Under-13 category in Birmingham.
Jessica said she was happy to partner Doyce, who has matured to be a good player despite being only 12.
“As for me, I have completed my examinations and will focus in squash next year. I want to follow in the footsteps of Nicol, who is regarded as the best women squash player of all time,” said Jessica.
Top seeds V. Loshmaan and Shamiel Haeyzad from Negri Sembilan came back from the brink of defeat to beat eighth seeds Kayden Liaw-Nicholas Tan of Sabah 10-11, 11-8, 11-10 in the final to lift the doubles title.
RESULTS (All finals)
Men doubles: V. Loshmaan-Shamiel Haeyzad (Nse) bt Kayden Liaw-Nicholas Tan (Sab) 10-11, 11-8, 11-10.
Women doubles: Doyce Lee-Jessica Keng (Sab) bt Eugenia Sulan-Nathalie Sim (Swk) 11-8, 11-8.
Mixed doubles: Mohd Hafiz Zhafri-Aira Azman (BJSS) bt Nicholas Tan-Yee Xin Ying (Sab) 11-5, 11-9.