TODAY at the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic
Fri 14th March 2008, Final:
Nicol David (Mas) bt Alison
11/9, 4/11, 11/4, 7/11, 11/1 (41m)
 James Willstrop (Eng) bt  Cameron Pilley (Aus)
9/11, 11/9, 8/11, 11/6, 11/3 (78m)
Views on the final:
Hat-trick for James
Steve Cubbins reports
As a prelude o the final we had an entertaining match between world
number one Nicol David and British Champion Alison Waters, with the
'favourite' winning in five games, a prelude to the ISS Canary Wharf
Classic Grand Final which followed.
And what a match it was. Any thoughts that Cameron Pilley would be
overawed in his first 5-star final were soon dispelled as he took
the first game - not the 1//1 he recorded in his previous three
matches, but impressive nonetheless as he pulled back from 7/4 down
to take the lead.
Defending champion James Willstrop bounced back to level, but the
tall Australian wasn't finished, really taking the game to James to
win the third, then pushing hard to pull back the Englishman's early
lead in the fourth.
Cameron reached 6/5 in that fourth his fist-pump was probably his
most demonstrative of the week. However the way his head sagged when
he tinned on the next point gave us a clue as to how he was feeling.
Sure enough, Willstrop started to take control, levelling the match
with six unanswered points, getting on top early in the decider and
finishing it off with a couple of demoralising backwall nicks and a
dropshot that was just too tight for a now very tired Cameron.
So it's five titles in six weeks for James and a third win here at
Canary Wharf. He deserves a rest, for sure, and Cameron deserves
praise for some great performances this week, a week which will
surely see him continue his upward surge ...
"I'm incredibly happy to win this tournament again, but I'm hurting
a lot now.
"I knew going into the match I could lose it - if I'm fresh I know I
can outplay a lot of players, but it was always going to be a
question of mental strength tonight, all week I've been pushing my
self to one more game, one more game ..."
was playing really well, but when I went 2/1 down I didn't think I
was doing much wrong, I nearly got back level in the third and made
a couple of errors, so I just needed to have faith in my game and
hang in there.
"I just tried to negate what he was doing at the front, and could
feel that he was getting a bit tired. I felt that I was in control
from the middle of the fourth and pushed on from there.
"If anything I'm more proud of this win than the others this year
because it's the end of a really hard period. The games I've played
in tournaments over the last few weeks haven't been too hard in
themselves, but the buildup of matches over the weeks, all the
travelling and staying in hotels, it catches up with you. I
" haven't had a real rest for a long time so I'm looking forward to
putting the rackets away for a while and having a complete rest."
thought I was playing pretty well, but you don't really think about
that when you're on there, I was happy to be 2/1 up and was trying
to take it point by point.
"I really pushed to get into the lead in the fourth, and it caught
up with me. I really needed to just maintain a steady rhythm and
establish some control, but in the heat of the battle events take
over and I probably pushed too hard - then he took control rather
"I'm happy with how I played though, I stuck in there, gave it a go,
and I'm very pleased with my week."
Malcolm Willstrop on the Final
may often be a problem on finals night with tired players and
imbalanced semi-finals. A sellout crowd at Canary Wharf certainly
deserved a final to match the occasion, and they got one.
James Willstrop, looking for his fifth successive tournament win,
was at the end of a testing schedule and there were certainly signs
in earlier rounds that he was fraying at the edges, understandably
enough. Nor did a demanding semi-final with Lee Beachill help.
Meanwhile Cameron Pilley, ranked 20 in the world but better than
that, comfortably saw off Peter Barker and Alister Walker, who had
deposed of top-seeded Gregory Gaultier, a major surprise.
Early exchanges indicated that it was not going to be easy for
either, and although Willstrop settled well, Pilley recovered and
eventually took the first. The world number four must have known how
crucial the second was and he battled hard to get level. Both
players were attacking wherever possible and retrieving
spectacularly. Pilley, looking confident, took a 2/1 lead after
another punishing game, but Willstrop held firm, dug into his
diminished reserves and from halfway in the fourth took control and
It seemed unlikely that he would be stopped now, and gathering
impetus he won the decider comfortably 11/3 to continue his winning
Both players can be happy with their efforts and there was no doubt
that the crowd went home happy, too.
WEARY WILLSTROP'S CANARY WHARF HAT-TRICK
Alan Thatcher reports
Willstrop won the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic for a third time
with a battling performance to win a gruelling final against
Australian Cameron Pilley.
Willstrop fought back from the brink of collapse to overturn a 2-1
deficit in games as Pilley came close to a shock result.
The Reading-based Pilley played fast, controlled and aggressive
squash to establish a 2-1 lead against the world No.4 from
Pontefract, who was exhausted following a punishing tournament
schedule in which he has collected five titles already this year.
No.7 seed from New South Wales began solidly and fought back from
7-4 down to win the opening game 11-9 before a capacity audience at
the superb East Wintergarden venue.
Willstrop heeded the words of advice from his father Malcolm between
games and resumed with a more focused approach.
However, he still had resist some ferocious competition from Pilley
before clinching the game with a stunning kill shot after Pilley had
played an amazing shot with the racket behind his back.
Pilley grew in confidence and when he took the third game, after
leading throughout, a major upset was on the cards. But Willstrop
dug deep into his physical reserves and at 6-6 in the fourth the
match swung his way.
Pilley was in uncharted territory and visibly wilted as Willstrop
reeled off the next five points. He maintained the momentum
throughout the fifth game and clinched victory after 78 minutes of
Willstrop paid tribute to his opponent, saying: “Cameron may be
ranked 20 in the world but he clearly has the game to be up there
with the best. He has shown that this week in every game he has
am just delighted and relieved to have won the tournament. I am
looking forward to a complete rest and forgetting about squash for a
few days to let my body heal and recover.
“I love playing squash but the travelling takes a toll on the mind
and the body and that match hurt. That was painful, extremely
“Winning this tournament is special. It gets bigger and better every
year. The Canary Wharf venue is fantastic. It's right up there with
the best venues in the world and the audiences are brilliant. The
London crowds are very knowledgeable and love to get involved, which
the players appreciate. Any event that sells out every night is
obviously good for the game and the players love coming here.”