James Willstrop helps England to victory over Rest of the World

James Willstrop helped a full-strength England defeat Rest of the World team by a single point at the spectacular Ab Initio Squash International at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club in Surrey, England.

In the first televised test match since the 1980s, the England quartet of James Willstrop, Daryl Selby, Laura Massaro and Nick Matthew won 122-121 in a riveting contest which came down to a run chase and where every rally and point mattered.
 
England's garlanded four were all given severe tests before the men's trio today depart for the World Team Championships and Massaro fine tunes her game ahead of the AJ Bell PSA World Championships later this month.
 
Individually, Selby beat Australia's Cameron Pilley and Massaro overcame Canadian Hollie Naughton, while Paul Coll, of New Zealand, beat Willstrop in a physical duel.
 
Coll's victory saw England head into the final match holding a slender nine-point lead over Rest of the World at 97-88 to the good. That lead was overhauled dramatically when Egypt's in-form Mohamed Elshorbagy won the opening two games against Matthew.  But England's three-time world champion held on 11-6 in the last, with Elshorbagy needing just one winner, having won the two bonus points on offer for the match win.
 
The contest was so tight that the scoreline had to be verified and the numbers crunched for several seconds before England were announced as trophy winners.
 
Earlier, opera singer Alexander Wall sang Jersusalem and Nessun Dorma before the passion was carried over into the four matches.
 
The evening was all about points being won, with one and two bonus points on offer for games and matches won in each rubber respectively.
 
Selby and Pilley opened proceedings in front of a sell-out crowd on the all-glass showcourt. In a rollercoaster clash between two rival nations, Selby came back from a game down to hand England a 36-29 lead after winning 2-1 in games.
 
Laura Massaro, England's women No 1, beat Naughton, the Canadian champion, in the only women's match of the contest. Massaro rallied in the first to take it 11-9 and then raced away with the second. But Naughton came back brilliantly in the final game to give the Rest of the World some important points at the half-way stage of the match, with England holding a 12-point cushion at 68-56.
 
Willstrop and Coll then played out an energetic encounter as the Kiwi prevailed on the same court where he won the 2016 Channel Vas Championship.
 
The event was broadcast on the BBC Sport website and was showcased for the first time in 360 virtual reality, with viewers able to watch the action unfold on YouTube.
 
Ab Initio Squash International, St George's Hill
England bt Rest of the World on points won: 122-121
Daryl Selby beat Cameron Pilley (AUS) 10-12, 11-9, 11-7 (36-29)
Laura Massaro beat Hollie Naughton (CAN) 11-9, 11-6, 6-11 (32-27)
James Willstrop lost to Paul Coll (NZ) 10-12, 11-5, 7-11 (29-32)
Nick Matthew lost to Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) 10-12, 3-11, 11-6 (27-30)
 
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