Canary Wharf Classic 2008

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March 2008

Women's International Challenge Result


2007 Event Page
2006 Event Page



(2) James Willstrop (Eng) bt (7) Cameron Pilley (Aus) 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3  (78 mins)

James 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 2-1deficit 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.

The 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 brutal combat.

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 played.

I 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 painful.

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.








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Womens International Challenge,
East Wintergarden,
Canary Wharf, London

Nicol David (Malaysia)
Alison Waters (England)
11-9, 4-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-1 (41 mins)

. Qualifying

. Weary Willstrop's Hat Trick
. Willstrop Beaches Rival
English trio reach last four
. Gallant Walker Stuns Top Seed Gaultier
. Egyptian Teenager Meets Welsh Veteran Gough
Young Egyptian Ace Dazzles

PSA Trial Tri-Ref System At Canary Wharf Classic

Alan Thatcher Previews
. Walker Steps in for Injured Abbas
. Willstrop Warms Up
Classic Welcomes Top Women Stars
. Barker Goes For Glory
. Gaultier Sets His Sites
. Willstrop Bids For Third       Time Lucky

James Willstrop secures his third Canary Wharf Classic title, beating Cameron Pilley in 5 games

James Willstrop continues his recent successful run against Pontefract team-mate Lee Beachill

Cameron Pilley ends the run of giant-killer Alister Walker

Cameron Pilley puts out Peter Barker to gain revenge for his defeat in the deciding match of the 2007 World Teams final

Alister Walker beats top seed Gregory Gaultier to record the best win of his career

Canary Wharf Classic
10th - 14th March 2008

First Round
10/11th March
12th March
13th March
14th March
[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
3/11, 11/5, 4/11, 11/7, 11/7 (53m)
Alister Walker (Eng)
Alister Walker
5/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/4 (56m)
Renan Lavigne
Alister Walker
11-1, 11-10 (2-0)11-5 (41 mins)
Cameron Pilley

Cameron Pilley

9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3  (78 mins)

James Willstrop
[8] Renan Lavigne (Fra)
11/5, 12/10, 9/11, 11/8 (53m)
[Q] Jesse Engelbrecht (Rsa)
[4] Peter Barker (Eng)
11/7, 11/6, 11/4 (46m)
Daryl Selby (Eng)
Peter Barker
11/1, 6/11, 11/9, 11/8 (66m)
Cameron Pilley
[7] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
 11/1, 11/1, 11/5 (32m)
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
Joey Barrington (Eng)
11/6, 6/11, 12/10, 11/8 (68m)
[5] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Joey Barrington
11/8, 13/15, 11/9, 11/2 (76m)
Lee Beachill
Lee Beachill
11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9 (58 mins)
James Willstrop
[Q] Chris Ryder (Eng)
11/8, 11/5, 11/4 (37m)
[3] Lee Beachill (Eng)
[Q] Mohammed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/5, 11/8, 4/11, 3/11, 11/5 (67m)
[6] Alex Gough (Wal)
Alex Gough
11/3, 12/10, 4/11, 11/2 (42m)
James Willstrop
[Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
11/6, 11/7, 11/9 (30m)
[2] James Willstrop

Qualifying finals, Sunday:

Chris Ryder (Eng) beat Scott Arnold (Aus) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-1 (60 mins)
Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egypt) beat Saurav Ghosal (India) 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-10 (4-2) (53 mins)
Mark Krajcsak (Hungary) beat Simon Rosner (Germany) 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (73 mins)
Jesse Engelbrecht (RSA) beat Stacey Ross (Eng) 11-7, 11-5, 11-0 (32 mins)

Qualifying  first round, Wimbledon Rackets and Fitness Club:

Chris Ryder (Eng) bt Ben Ford (Eng) 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (41 mins)
Scott Arnold (Australia) bt Neil Hitchens (Eng) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (32 mins)
Stacey Ross (Eng) bt Phil Nightingale (Eng) 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (45 mins)
Simon Rosner (Germany) bt Joe Lee (England) 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (33 mins)
Mark Krajscak (Hungary) bt Robbie Temple (Eng) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (35 mins)
Jesse Engelbrecht (South Africa) bt Jon Harford (Eng) 11-8, 11-10 (5-3), 7-11, 4-11, 11-3 (85 mins)
Saurav Ghosal (India) bt Tom Richards (Eng) 11-8, 8-11, 11-10 (4-2),11-7, 11-8 (85 mins)
Mohammed El Shorbagy (Egypt) bt Julien Balbo (France) 11-10 (3-1), 11-6, 6-4 retd injured (27 mins)

Screen Hire

Official Cars



(2) James Willstrop (Eng) bt (3) Lee Beachill (Eng) 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9 (58 mins)

Reigning champion James Willstrop reached the final of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic by beating his Pontefract and England team-mate Lee Beachill in tonights semi-finals.

World No.4 Willstrop was made to battle hard for his win as Beachills trademark precision play contained his opponents attacking flair.

Willstrop edged home in the first game but former world No.1 Beachill imposed himself in the second to draw level. However, Willstrop at last began to play with a flourish in the third and a capacity crowd at the stylish East Wintergarden venue was treated to a superb contest as Beachill tried his hardest to stem the flow of winners.

Willstrop survived a concerted fightback from the 30-year-old Beachill to complete victory in 58 minutes, bringing the crowd to their feet with a dazzling winner at the conclusion of a marathon final rally.

Willstrop has reached the final of all six tournaments he has entered this year, winning four of them so far. Few will bet against him adding to that tally tomorrow.


(7) Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt  Alister Walker (Eng)  11-1, 11-10 (2-0)11-5 (41 mins).

Australian Cameron Pilley ended hopes of an all-English final when he beat Englands giant-killer Alister Walker.

World No.32 Walker had beaten two Frenchmen on his way to the semi-finals, including a shock victory over No.1 seed Gregory Gaultier.

Tonight he found world No.20 Pilley in dominant form. The 6ft 2in tall Australian powered through the first game 11-1 and led 10-5 in the second before the dreadlocked Walker clawed his way back to force a tiebreak.

However, Walker was unable to maintain the momentum and Pilley claimed the next two points to lead two games to love.

Walker started brightly in the third but soon began to tire as Pilley quickly advanced to an 8-4 lead. Walkers exhaustion and frustration showed as he hit two volleys into the floor.

Pilley maintained his discipline and continued to strike the ball with power and accuracy to claim his place in the final against Willstrop.

With Pilleys height eclipsed by the 6ft 5in Willstrop, there certainly wont be much room on court.

Radar Gun Top Speeds:
Willstrop 127mph
Beachill 122
Pilley 120
Walker 108

English trio reach last four at Canary Wharf

(3) Lee Beachill (Eng) beat Joey Barrington (Eng) 11-8, 10-11 (3-5), 11-9, 11-2 (76 mins)

Yorkshire's Lee Beachill overcame Joey Barrington to reach the semi-finals of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic before a sell-out crowd in London tonight.

Barrington, son of squash legend Jonah, fought valiantly and won the second game after a prolonged tiebreak to draw level at one game all. However, Beachill's vast experience told in the end as he edged the third game and powered home 11-2 in the fourth.

Beachill admitted: It was a bit scrappy at times, probably because we were both trying to go for the same space on court, but I was moving well and thats the pleasing thing for me.

Beachill, president of the PSA, the governing body of the mens world tour, said he was delighted to see every seat sold at the fabulous East Wintergarden venue at Canary Wharf.

He said: This is one of the worlds great squash venues and its fantastic to see the place absolutely full.

If any of those people who say the sport is dying were to come here and see the worlds top players they would soon change their mind. The product is fantastic and the presentation of the sport is getting better all the time with venues like this and the giant screen above the court.

(2) James Willstrop (Eng) beat (6) Alex Gough (Wales) 11-3, 11-10 (2-0), 4-11, 11-2 (42 mins)

James Willstrop now faces his Pontefract team-mate Lee Beachill in the semi-finals after beating Welsh veteran Alex Gough in four games.

Gough produced an inspired spell in the middle of the match to run Willstrop close during the second game and take the third with some ease, but Willstrop regained control to win the fourth for the loss of just two points.

Willstrop is hot favourite for the tournament following last nights shock defeat of top seed Gregory Gaultier by the unseeded Englishman Alister Walker, but the world No.4 Willstrop refused to believe it made his task of winning the tournament any easier.

He said: The depth of ability in this game is so high that anybody can win the tournament. It would be ridiculous of me to think any other way. Every player in this tournament is a quality performer and I respect every one of them.

Willstrop, who has won four of his last five tournaments, achieved his first career victory over Beachill on his way to winning last years Canary Wharf title and he added: I am just enjoying the way I am playing at the moment and taking each match as it comes.

Alister Walker (Eng)  bt (8) Renan Lavigne (Fra) 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (56 mins)

The unseeded Alister Walker continued his march through the ISS Canary Wharf Classic and removed a second French opponent to reach the semi-finals. Having beaten top seed Gregory Gaultier last night, Walker produced another stylish and determined performance to overcome No.8 seed Renan Lavigne from Marseille.

The more experienced Lavigne won the opening game but Walker admitted his concentration had been affected by the previous evenings match highlights being replayed on the giant screen above the glass court.

Walker said: I know the crowd enjoyed but I was trying to blank it from my mind and concentrate on this match. Renan is a great pro and I knew it was going to be a difficult match.

Its a great feeling to be in the semi-finals and I just hope I can continue to move well and play well.

(7) Cameron Pilley (Aus) beat (4) Peter Barker (Eng) 11-1, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8 (66 mins)

Australian Cameron Pilley ended hopes of an all-English semi-final line-up when he beat Englands No.4 seed Peter Barker in four games. Pilley began like lightning, striking the ball crisply and finding plenty of nicks at the side of the court as he won the opening game for the loss of just one point.

Barker slapped the wall in frustration at the end of the game but came out firing in the second. He advanced to 9-1 and weathered a five-point run from Pilley before taking it 11-6.

The third game was a tense affair with Pilley clinching the big points at the end to nick it 11-9. Barker led 7-4 in the fourth but lost his concentration and was docked a conduct stroke for throwing his racket in anger. The tall, athletic Pilley launched a huge recovery to win seven of the final eight points to clinch a place in the semi-finals against the underdog Walker. 

Radar Gun Top Speeds: Pilley 140mph, Beachill 127, Willstrop 125, Barrington 124, Walker 119, Lavigne 118, Gough 110, Barker 109.



Alister Walker produced a sensational fightback from the brink of defeat to beat top seed Gregory Gaultier to reach the quarter-finals of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic. It was an astonishing performance by the world No.32 to remove the reigning British Open champion.

The French maestro, the world No.3 and runner-up in the last two World Open finals, dominated the opening game but Walker stepped up a gear to win the second.

This was competitive sport at its most brutal and spectacular. These two superb athletes twisted and turned to retrieve almost unplayable shots and delivered entertainment of the highest quality to a near-capacity crowd at the East Wintergarden.

The audience roared as Walker clinched the second game and Gaultier stared in disbelief at the giant screen mounted above the glass court as Walker matched his shot-making audacity.

Gaultier slowed down the pace in the third game and placed the ball with pinpoint accuracy as he regained his authority. However, Walker staged another massive recovery to win the fourth, continuing to chase down every ball and producing faultless finishing with exquisite drops and kills at the front of the court.

Gaultier looked to have the match sewn up as he advanced to a 6-3 lead in the fifth game but Walker found incredible reserves of courage and perseverance to claw his way back, point by point.

The match developed a physical dimension as both players hunted the ball down the backhand wall and there were frequent discussions with referee Jos Aarts following a series of collisions.

From 7-4 down, Walker produced a phenomenal sequence of controlled, attacking and aggressive squash to win seven points in a row to book his place in the quarter finals.

As the crowd erupted, Gaultier raced from the court, grabbed his bag and headed for the exit as a delirious Walker ran round the building on a lap of honour.

The 25-year-old, who was born in Botswana but is now based in Halifax, said: "That was my best result without a doubt. I have played well against the top guys on many, many occasions without getting the results. But I sensed that he was getting tired and I was determined to get every ball back."

Walker faces another French opponent, Renan Lavigne, in the quarter-finals and must fancy his chances of causing another upset against an opponent ranked just four places above him in the world.

(7) Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Davide Bianchetti (Ita) 11-1, 11-1, 5-11 (32 mins. 

Italy's Davide Bianchetti made a hot-foot exit from the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic after leaving his shoes back home in Brescia. Bianchetti wwas forced to borrow a pair from England's No.3 seed Peter Barker but was clearly unsettled as he lost to Australia's Cameron Pilley, 11-1, 11-1, 11-5. The No.7 seed powered his way through the opening two games and weathered a brief recovery from the Italian in the third to stroll through to tomorrow's quarter-finals and a clash with Englands Peter Barker.

(4) Peter Barker (Eng) bt Daryl Selby (Eng) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (46 mins)

No 4 seed Peter Barker eased past Essex team-mate Daryl Selby to reach tomorrows quarter-finals and a match-up with Australian Cameron Pilley. Barker was always in front but Selby competed ferociously despite having his left ankle strapped. One rally of more than 100 shots had the audience spellbound but ended in a let. Barker started strongly in each game and never looked in danger of surrendering his lead.

(8) Renan Lavigne (Fra) bt(Q) Jesse Engelbrecht (RSA) 11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 11-8 (54 mins)

Renan Lavigne regained some lost pride for France by beating South African No.1 Jesse Engelbrecht. Lavigne, the No.8 seed, had too much court craft and experience and won 11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 11-8 in 54 minutes. Engelbrecht battled hard throughout and was delighted to have taken the third game. Lavigne will now go in search of revenge for his compatriot Gaultier as he faces Alister Walker in the last eight.



Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egypt) beat Saurav Ghosal (India) 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-10 (4-2) (53 mins)

Egyptian teenage sensation Mohamed El Shorbagy held his nerve in a tense tiebreak to beat Indias Saurav Ghosal to reach the first round proper of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic.
The 17-year-old Millfield student will be firmly in the spotlight as he features in the tournament's opening match against Welsh veteran Alex Gough, who is still playing solid squash at the age of 37.
Despite the 20-year age gap, Shorbagy is confident his all-out attacking flair will translate to the glass court at Canary Wharf's East Wintergarden in this PSA Five Star World Tour event.
Shorbagy said: "This is the draw I wanted. I am so looking forward to playing on the glass court in front of a big crowd."
Shorbagy started nervously today against India's World No.49 Ghosal, who began in fiery mood, reeling off the first six points of the match to establish an unassailable lead in the opening game. However, Shorbagy decided it was time to open his box of tricks and he took control of the match with some outrageous shots and breathtaking retrieving.

Shorbagy held the lead throughout he second and third games and looked poised for a comfortable victory as he led 9-5 in the fourth. However, Ghosal produced a succession of winners to draw level and take it to a tiebreak. Shorbagy held match ball at 11-10 but Ghosal continued to dig in despite the effects of an 95-minute match the previous day. Ghosal won the next two points to reach game ball at 12-11, but Shorbagy regained his composure to reel off the final three points to book a place in the first round after 53 minutes of breathtaking squash, full of stunning winners and incredible pick-ups from both players.

Chris Ryder (Eng) beat Scott Arnold (Aus) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-1 (60 mins)

England's Chris Ryder became the first qualifier to win through to the main draw of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic by beating Australia's Scott Arnold.
The stylish Ryder, the Hertfordshire No.1, showed superb touch to negate the power of the tall, hard-hitting Australian and open up a two-game lead. Arnold played tighter, more disciplined squash to edge the third, but Ryder regained control in the fourth to cruise home for the loss of just one point. He meets former world No.1 Lee Beachill in tomorrows first round.

Mark Krajcsak (Hungary) beat Simon Rosner (Germany) 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (73 mins)

Mark Krajcsak of Hungary produced a determined fightback and a spectacular finale to beat Simon Rosner in a marathon all-European encounter. Rosner appeared to have the match under control as he cruised through the opening two games, but he tired visibly as the feisty Krajcsak fought his way back. Showing no ill-effects of the leg wound of the previous day, Krajcsak drew level at two games all. Rosner seemed to rediscover his earlier form to lead 5-2 in the fifth, but Krajcsak summoned all his physical reserves to win the next six points. The score seesawed one way then the other, thanks to some astonishing, gruelling rallies suddenly terminated by some flat nicks, until it was 9-9 and time for the big points. Krajcsak moved to match ball with a stupendous volley following a massive rally, then buried a crosscourt volley-nick in sensational style to clinch victory after 73 minutes and place in the first round against reigning champion James Willstrop, the No.2 seed.

Jesse Engelbrecht (RSA) beat Stacey Ross (Eng)
11-7, 11-5, 11-0 (32 mins)

Jesse Engelbrecht, the South African No.1, cruised past Englands Stacey Ross, who was suffering from a calf injury sustained during his warm-up before yesterdays match against Surrey team-mate Phil Nightingale.

Ross competed for the first two games but was clearly in some discomfort as Engelbrecht eased home in the third game without dropping a point. Engelbrecht meets Renan Lavigne in the first round on Tuesday.


Teenage sensation Mohamed El Shorbagy looks set to join the ruling Egyptian squash dynasty.

The 17-year-old Millfield student produced a devastating display of outrageous winners as he beat French opponent Julien Balbo in the first qualifying round of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic at the Wimbledon Rackets Club.

Balbo conceded in the third game with a stiff neck, which was probably caused by all the twisting and turning he was required to do as Shorbagy unleashed a mind-boggling repertoire of shots.

The most memorable was the winner that took him to game ball in the second. Down on one knee at the back of the court, he unleashed a straight kill that died in the nick at the front right of the court.

Tomorrow he meets India’s Saurav Ghosal, who will need all his renowned speed around the court to contain the Egyptian sensation. Ghosal may well be suffering from the exertions of today’s marathon encounter with Surrey’s Tom Richards, who folded at the closing stages of the firth game as Ghosal squeezed home 11-8 after an 85-minute battle.

South Africa No.1 Jesse Engelbrecht survived a determined fightback from Gloucestershire's Jonny Harford in the first qualifying round of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic.

Engelbrecht won a marathon tiebreak in the second game to open up a two-game lead but Harford produced a courageous recovery to draw level and take the match to a fifth game at the Wimbledon Rackets and Fitness Club.

However, his energy levels were depleted by his efforts and Engelbrecht eased home 11-3 in the final game to complete victory in 85 minutes.

Engelbrecht now meets the vastly experienced Stacey Ross, who overcame his Surrey team-mate Phil Nightingale despite a niggling calf injury that hampered his movement around the court.

Nightingale, from Reigate, took the opening game but Wimbledon-based Ross made full use of his superior racket skills to book his place in the qualifying finals.

Earlier, the top qualifying seed, Hertfordshire's Chris Ryder, eased past Kent's Ben Ford in straight games to set up a qualifying final with Australia’s Scott Arnold, who powered past England’s Neil Hitchens.



PSA Trial Tri-Ref System At Canary Wharf Classic


The Professional Squash Association is trialling a new three-referee system at this week's ISS Canary Wharf Classic 5-star event in London.


TRI–REF is a wireless electronic three-man refereeing system which has been developed by Michael Castleton, of Security Foiling Ltd, in conjunction with the PSA over the past eight months, in a bid to solve the problem of player–referee confrontation and inconsistency.


"The prototype model will allow three referees to make a decision independently and without the knowledge of their fellow arbiters," explained PSA board director Tony Hands.  "When the three decisions have been entered into the keypads, the head referee will see the resulting decision on his keypad and will announce it to the players and audience.


"If the testing proves to be successful, then the stage two of development will be to expand the software to integrate the tri ref with laptops, scoreboards and live streaming.  It could open up the possibility of being able to add sound and graphics to a pending decision," added Hands.


"The PSA are very driven to attaining Olympic status for our sport and it was noted that one view of the Olympic committee was that Squash is a sport with too much vocal confrontation between referees and players.  This new Tri Ref system potentially could remove this view, as the players do not have a direct source on which to focus their disagreement."


Hands also stated that PSA World Tour players will benefit in that it should improve the decision process and will remove any possible influence amongst the three referees as they will make their own decision independently and privately without prior knowledge as to the thoughts of the others.


"We hope that this will reduce the level of inconsistency.


"It will also allow the WSF refereeing panel to be able to assess their referees from outside the court and could save cost and expense on international assessments.  This may enable the potential growth in numbers of higher level qualified referees," added Hands.


"We are grateful to Graham Waters, head of the WSF refereeing panel, and Canary Wharf Classic tournament referee Linda Davie, both of whom have been very helpful in their support for this new system - knowing that it could potentially throw up unforeseen problems.   But they acknowledge that the system needs to be tested by qualified referees in competition to be able to properly monitor its affects on the game.


"Furthermore, event promoters Eventis have been very accommodating in allowing us to test the tri ref prototype at the Canary Wharf event from the first round onwards and we hope that the players and the referees all find this a valuable system in taking the professional game to the next level as a spectator sport."


PSA would like to thank Michael Castleton for his own personal investment, both financially and in the great deal of time spent, in making sure the system reached all the specifications required to operate a fully functional electronic refereeing system.



Alan Thatcher Previews

EGYPTIAN squash star Mohammed Abbas has withdrawn from the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic because of an injury sustained this week in the USA.

Abbas twisted his ankle playing former Canary Wharf champion Thierry Lincou in the Players Cup grand prix finals in Boston.

His withdrawal means that Renan Lavigne moves to fill Abbas's slot in the draw. That's great news for Lavigne, because he now faces a qualifier instead of fellow Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the top seed.

England's Alister Walker comes directly into the main draw to tackle Gaultier in the first round on Tuesday.

Tournament Director Tim Garner said: "It's  great shame that Abbas has had to withdraw. He delayed his decision for a day but the injury was clearly not responding to treatment and he reluctantly had no choice but to pull out.

"However, I am sure that Renan Lavigne will be mightily pleased, as will Alister Walker, who is now spared the effort of qualifying and is sure to receive tremendous support from the crowd when he steps on court against Gaultier."


England’s James Willstrop prepared for next week’s ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic in stunning fashion by overcoming French rival Gregory Gaultier to win a major tournament final in America.

Willstrop beat Gaultier 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4 to clinch the Davenport Professional Championship at Richmond University, Virginia, in a marathon match lasting 83 minutes.

It was Willstrop’s third victory in his last four tournaments following successes in the Swedish Open and the National Championships in Manchester. The win was Willstrop’s tenth PSA World Tour title and his third Super Series success.

The reigning Canary Wharf champion, Willstrop also won the Mamut English Open in 2007. His success in Richmond will give him a massive confidence boost ahead of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic, in which he is seeded to meet Gaultier in the final once again. The Frenchman, from Aix-en-Provence, is seeded one and Willstrop two.

Qualifying for the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic begins at Wimbledon Rackets and Fitness Club on Saturday (March 8) before the main event switches to the all-glass Harris Brushes ProCourt at the magnificent East Wintergarden venue at Canary Wharf on Monday, March 10.

Play continues each evening throughout the week with Willstrop seeded to meet Gaultier in the final on Friday, March 14, when women’s world No.1 Nicol David from Malaysia meets new British national champion Alison Waters from London in a special International Challenge.


Organisers announced this week that a special Meweco Fair Play prize of £500 (1,000 dollars US) will also be awarded to the player who displays the highest levels of honesty and sportsmanship throughout the week at the ISS Canary Wharf Classic.

The prize has been offered by former professional Peter Bryttne, from Sweden, who owns the Meweco management training company. He said: “I think that it is better to support good rather than punish bad behaviour. If we can support good behaviour at the top level then perhaps it will spread down the line to all types of players.”

Tickets are still available for each day’s play and are on sale via the Ticket Hotline, 0844 847 2419, or via the website (


Women's world No.1 Nicol David is taking part in a special International Challenge match against the new British champion Alison Waters during the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic.

David, from Malaysia, is the most dominant figure in women's squash, having held the No.1 position for 19 consecutive months.

She meets the London-based Waters at the East Wintergarden on finals night of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic on Friday, March 14.

Date: Monday, February 25th, 2008
Canada Place Mall (between Boots and Gap), Canary Wharf, London
Time: 11a.m. to 2pm

TICKETS for the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic are like gold dust - but former world champion Peter Nicol will be giving away some special gold tickets next week. Nicol, who is co-promoter of the event, will be appearing at the Canada Place Mall at Canary Wharf on Monday February 25 to sign autographs, answer questions and oversee special draws for free Gold Tickets.

The ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic is London's premier squash tournament and takes place at the stunning East Wintergarden event from March 10-14. All prime back-wall seats have been sold out and the only way for squash fans to get their hands on one is to register their names for the Gold Ticket draws which will take during Nicol's visit to Canada Place on Monday February 25. Each draw will take place on the hour at 12 noon, 1pm and 2pm and the former world No.1 will pick out the lucky winners.

Tickets are on sale via the Ticket Hotline, 0844 847 2419, or via the website (

Tournament Title Sponsor: ISS Facility Services, London Division

Host Sponsor: Canary Wharf Group plc
The ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic at the East Wintergarden is jointly promoted by Eventis Sports Marketing and SquashUK.

Corporate Hospitality: Superb packages are available,
enabling spectators to wine, dine and watch all the 
gripping squash action from the Gallery 
restaurant within the East Wintergarden.

Full details from Tim Garner at Eventis Sports Marketing

Telephone: 07973 817468. Email:

Qualifying: March 8-9 at Wimbledon Rackets and Fitness Club.Main draw: March 10-14, 2008 Venue: East Wintergarden, Bank Street, Canary Wharf, E14

Corporate Hospitality: Superb packages are available,
enabling spectators to wine, dine and watch all the
gripping squash action from the Gallery
restaurant within the East Wintergarden.

Full details from Tim Garner at Eventis Sports Marketing
Telephone: 07973 817468.


Squash star Peter Barker has a special reason for wanting to do well in the forthcoming ISS Canary Wharf Classic ­- he will soon be a local resident!

Barker, the current world No.12, is moving from Bethnal Green to Limehouse in May and said: “If the tournament was two months later I could walk from home to the venue.”

Barker is sure to enjoy considerable local support when the five-star PSA World Series event returns to the spectacular East Wintergarden venue from March 10-14.

The left-handed Londoner is enjoying the best form of his life, and warmed up for the Canary Wharf tournament by reaching the final of the Swedish Open on Sunday.

He lost to England team-mate James Willstrop in a superb match and the two could meet again in the ISS Canary Wharf final. However, for that to happen, Barker would need to remove the number one seed, French ace Gregory Gaultier, whom he is seeded to meet in the semi-final.

Barker, 24, admitted: “I have never beaten Greg before. I lost to him in Saudi Arabia last year and was not too happy with my performance. You know you’ve got to give everything when you play guys like him.

“I was very pleased with the way I played in Sweden and I hope to carry on that form. I beat Olli Tuominen of Finland in the semi-final and that was the best I have played for months.

“I felt I played well in the final against James, but everything I did he did just a little bit better. I am very optimistic about the next few months and I am really looking forward to playing at Canary Wharf.

“It’s a brilliant tournament and lots of my friends will be coming along to cheer me on.”

Barker faces fellow Essex player Daryl Selby in the first round, just as he did in Sweden, and is scheduled to meet Cameron Pilley in the quarter-finals if the tall Australian can beat the mercurial Italian Davide Bianchetti.

Barker achieved a sensational victory over Pilley as England beat Australia to win the World Team Championship in India in December.

Barker added: “I beat world number one Amr Shabana in Qatar last year and I suppose that was a career highlight from an individual point of view, but winning the World Team Championship with England was definitely the greater achievement.”

In the draw for the ISS Canary Wharf Classic, Willstrop, the number two seed, is scheduled to meet a qualifier in the first round followed by Welsh veteran Alex Gough ahead of a possible semi-final clash with his Pontefract training partner Lee Beachill.

Willstrop achieved his first career victory over his Yorkshire and England team-mate at Canary Wharf last year and is bidding for a third triumph in London’s premier squash tournament, having beaten Thierry Lincou of France in the 2004 final and Scotland’s John White last year.

Willstrop, the world number six, is seeded to meet French star Gaultier in the final. Their rivalry goes back to junior days and their matches are always absorbing physical and mental battles.

Gaultier, the reigning British Open champion from Aix-en-Provence, faces fellow Frenchman Renan Lavigne in the first round at Canary Wharf and is seeded to meet rising Egyptian star Mohammed Abbas, the number five seed, in the quarter finals.

The first round draw at Canary Wharf also includes an intriguing clash between Finland’s No.6 seed Olli Tuominen and Britain’s Joey Barrington, son of squash legend Jonah. Tuominen and Barrington are both noted for their attritional styles and spectators at the East Wintergarden could well be in for a marathon match.

The first round will be split over two evenings, meaning that office workers at Canary Wharf can stroll from their desks to the tournament venue in time for play to start at 5.30pm.

Sadly, England star Nick Matthew has been forced to take a long rest from squash because of a shoulder injury and will not be in action at Canary Wharf.


Squash fans are rushing to snap up tickets to see England's world champions in action at the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic in March.

England retained the World Team Championship in India recently, beating France in the semi-finals and Australia in the final. The title-winning trio of James Willstrop, Nick Matthew and Peter Barker will be aiming for more success when the world’s leading players return to Canary Wharf's spectacular East Wintergarden venue in two months’ time.

A week after helping England to the World Teams title in Chennai, Willstrop and Matthew faced each other in the final of the Mamut English Open in Sheffield. Despite Matthew enjoying considerable support in his home city, it was Yorkshire neighbour Willstrop, from Pontefract, who emerged triumphant.

Willstrop, the reigning Canary Wharf champion, is bidding for a hat-trick of titles. He won the inaugural event in 2004, beating France’s Thierry Lincou in the final, and last year overcame Scotland’s John White in an epic encounter.

Co-promoter Peter Nicol, who launched his Eventis sports management company shortly before retiring from the world tour two years ago, said: “It’s great to see the English players doing so well. England’s victory in India was a superb performance considering the strength of the opposition.

“Egypt were hotly tipped to win the event with Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour, the world's top two players, in their squad. But when Ramy pulled out with an injury it made it more of a level playing field and the England boys took their chances extremely well.

“For me, one of the outstanding performances in the tournament was Nick Matthew’s 3-0 victory over Gregory Gaultier of France in the semi-finals. He was absolutely on top of his game and his display highlighted the way England approached the whole tournament. It was totally professional and every player performed to the maximum when they pulled on the England shirt.

“When they pitched up in Sheffield they continued that excellent form, with all three English players reaching the semi-finals. Nick beat Peter Barker in the semi-finals and then he and James produced a final of outstanding quality.

“After a brutal tournament schedule leading up the English Open, it was a magnificent effort by the home players and we are all hoping for squash of a similar high quality at Canary Wharf in March.” 

Tickets are on sale via the Ticket Hotline, 0870 150 0541, or via the website ( for this Five-Star ranking tournament on the PSA world circuit, which once again guarantees the presence of the world’s top players.


French squash star Gregory Gaultier is aiming to add the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic title to his rapidly expanding collection of trophies. The tournament takes place at Canary Wharf’s spectacular East Wintergarden venue from March 10-14 and Gaultier is sure to entertain the crowds.

The stylish 25-year-old from Aix-en-Provence is currently ranked No.3 in the world. He is the leading European player attempting to dislodge the two mercurial Egyptians, Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour, from the top of the rankings.

Gaultier is the current British Open champion and has reached the last two finals of the World Open, losing in Egypt to Australia’s David Palmer and to Shabana in Bermuda. Gaultier beat fellow Frenchman Thierry Lincou to win his first British Open title last year and aims to follow Lincou’s lead by lifting the ISS Canary Wharf title in March.

Lincou won the Canary Wharf tournament in 2006, beating the recently-retired Australian Anthony Ricketts in a magnificent 88-minute final. It was a year when Lincou enjoyed enormous success on British soil, also winning the Liverpool Open and Mamut English Open.

Gaultier has taken over the mantle as French No.1, and is now aiming for the world top spot. He is highly rated by his rivals and the formidable Shabana admitted: “Greg is a magnificent player and is sure to be world champion one day.”

Peter Nicol, the former world No.1 (who is co-promoter of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic), said: “We are delighted that Greg has confirmed his entry. He is one of the most stylish players in the game and is gradually becoming one of the most complete players on the tour.

“He has fantastic speed around the court, great awareness and superb racket skills. He and Thierry have made France one of the most successful nations in squash and it’s wonderful to see how their efforts have had such an impact on the development of the sport in their country.”

Last year’s World Open was closely followed by the World Team Championships in India, where England were relieved to beat France in the semi-finals before overcoming Australia in the final.

England’s title-winning squad of James Willstrop, Nick Matthew, Peter Barker and Lee Beachill will all be aiming for more success when the world’s leading players return to Canary Wharf for this PSA World Tour Five Star event, now firmly established as London’s premier squash tournament. Matthew will be hoping to recover from a shoulder injury that has kept him off court since December.

Tickets are on sale via the Ticket Hotline, 0844 847 2419, or via the website (


England’s James Willstrop will be bidding for a hat-trick of titles when the world's leading squash stars return to London, to show off their dazzling skills in the 2008 ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic.

This showpiece sports event, now in its fifth year, will take place from March 10-14, 2008, inside the superb East Wintergarden venue at Canary Wharf; with action taking place on the all-glass Harris Brushes ProCourt.

Firmly established as the No 1 Squash tournament in London, organisers are delighted to announce that ISS Facility Services (London) have confirmed a two-year extension of their Title Sponsorship, and that Canary Wharf Group PLC will be continuing as Host Sponsor.

Willstrop will be bidding for a third successive title, having won the inaugural event in 2004 by beating France’s Thierry Lincou in the final, and then triumphing against Scotland’s John White earlier this year for a second Canary Wharf success.

Co-promoter, Peter Nicol is expecting Willstrop to face some fierce competition. Former world champion Nicol, (who retired last year after 15 years on the pro circuit), said: “The competition at the top level is as tough as ever. There are so many great players in the world top ten that it is impossible to predict the outcome of any tournament. However, the Egyptians, Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour, have been in amazingly consistent form over the past 12 months and that’s why they are at the top of the rankings. Having said that, it was great to see a British triumph at Canary Wharf this year. James has worked so hard since turning professional that he deserves every success that comes his way, and he was a very popular winner. The crowds really got behind him and all the British players and it was a fantastic atmosphere all week.”

Nicol is expecting to see sell-out crowds once again for the 2008 event and is urging squash fans to book their tickets early to avoid disappointment. He added: “We sold every back-wall seat for every night of play in February and the calibre of squash on show was exceptional. We know there is a great demand to see that level of entertainment. The Canary Wharf crowds are very knowledgeable and extremely vocal, so it all adds up to a superb atmosphere for both players and spectators.”

Tickets go on sale on December 1st via the Ticket Hotline, 0870 150 0541, or via the website ( for this Five-Star ranking tournament on the PSA world circuit, which once again guarantees the presence of the world’s top players.

Further information from Alan Thatcher
Tel: 07971 639 829