James Willstrop to face Paul Coll in England vs. Rest of the World Test Match

James Willstrop will tonight face New Zealand No.1 Paul Coll as a full-strength England take on a Rest of the World team in the eagerly-anticipated Ab Initio Squash International at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club in Surrey, England.

Alongside Willstrop, England will field a world-class line-up comprising Nick Matthew, the three-time world champion, Daryl Selby and Laura Massaro, the 2013 women’s world champion.
The mixed quartet will take on Egypt’s Mohamed Elshorbagy, New Zealander Paul Coll, Australia’s Cameron Pilley and Hollie Naughton of Canada.
The sold out and free to watch event will be broadcast by BBC Sport, live on their website and on smart connected TVs. Fans will also be able to watch via the BBC Sport downloadable app.
Squash will also be showcased for the first time in 360 Virtual Reality, with viewers able to watch the action unfold on YouTube using mobile devices with or without VR Headsets such as google cardboard or Oculus gear VR.
The first match starts at 6pm and will be preceded by entertainment from renowned opera singer Alexander Wall.
Danny Lee, event promoter and head coach at St George’s Hill, said: “I am delighted England are using this as a proper international. To have seven athletes who will also be at the Commonwealth Games is a big scoop for us as a club.”
The four singles matches will be played over three games, with every point counting towards the overall team score. Bonus points will also be secured for games and matches won.
Nev Appleton (director of MOOV TV), who is producing the event, said: “I’m really looking forward to the evening, especially seeing how the event unfolds. We will have about 12 cameras on the night, most of which are robotic and also a new custom-built camera for the back wall.
“We’ll also feed live scores to screens around the venue so as this unique, ‘every point counts’ format unfolds both players and spectators can share the excitement. We are also running a trial broadcast in VR 360 live on YouTube.”
This will consist of two 4K 360-degree cameras with augmented scoring and replays - and will be a first for squash.“
The England team includes three former World No 1’s in Matthew, Willstrop and Massaro, England women’s No 1. For Matthew, Willstrop and Selby, the evening will also be a key warm-up ahead of next week’s WSF Men’s World Team Championship in Marseille (the trio are pictured below, before the 2013 MWT final, also in France, which they won).
Matthew, who retires at the end of the season, said: “This is the perfect preparation to play world-class players right before the world teams. It also gives us the perfect excuse to get the team together a couple of days earlier than what we would normally do.
“We are under no illusions as to the difficulty of our task in becoming world champions and we will go to France as well prepared and ready to represent the shirt as well as we always do.”
The Rest of the World team features an in-form Elshorbagy, the Bristol-based former world No 1 who has won four out of five titles this season, including the $100,000 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill last month. Coll and Pilley, meanwhile, will both be major rivals to England’s hopes at next April’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Organisers will trial an innovative referee system on the night, with a former player – Ireland’s Steve Richardson – working alongside a top official and consulting on decisions.
Lee hopes that the initiative will spark interest with retiring players in the future.
“There is currently a lack of new referees coming through of a sufficient level,” he said.
Schedule (Fri 24th Nov, starts 6pm):
Daryl Selby (world No 15) v Cameron Pilley (Australia, world No 19)
Laura Massaro (world No 4) v Hollie Naughton (Canadian champion, world No 32)
James Willstrop (world No 10) v Paul Coll (New Zealand, world No 9)
Nick Matthew (world No 5) v Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egypt, world No 3)
UNSQUASHABLE is committed to developing equipment to be used by the world’s leading players because we believe that engineering equipment for professional competition makes for a better product for the everyday player.
James Willstrop uses the UNSQUASHABLE JAMES WILLSTROP AUTOGRAPH racket which is available exclusively from www.unsquashable.com
UNSQUASHABLE sponsored players and brand ambassadors competing on the PSA World Tour are sponsored by AJ Bell, one of the UK’s largest providers of online investment platforms and stockbroker services.
For more information regarding the 2017 Ab Initio Squash International, visit: www.psaworldtour.com & www.squashsite.com