Ab Initio International 2017
24 Nov Weybridge,
REST OF THE WORLD
England bt Rest of the World on points
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
beat Rest of the World by a single point in the inaugural Ab Initio
Squash International at St George's Hill Lawn Tennis Club in Weybridge,
Surrey on Friday night.
In the first televised test match since the 1980s, the England quartet
of Daryl Selby, Laura Massaro, James Willstrop 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 departed for the World Team Championships on Saturday morning and
Massaro fine tunes her game ahead of the World Championships later this
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.
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
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
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
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
Friday night's 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.
WHAT THEY SAID
"The points are crucial and every point counts in this format. It's
great and I felt nervous.
"It means a lot to be playing in the England shirt again. I love playing
the PSA World Tour but when you are with a team it gives you that extra
"I am a team man. We have been through a lot together this team [the
men's World Championship team play in France next week] and I don't know
how much longer we can go on for. But it means so much to play for
"The format is so different dynamically. Even when I was ahead I was
trying to get as many points as I could.
"The situation is all about points and to win the match despite losing
"I really enjoy it with the team dynamics. There is an argument to
finding out who is best by combining the best men and women together in
a kind of World Cup format.
"It is about finding a way to fit it in the calendar with the World Team
Championships, but it would be great."
"Tonight was about putting on a show. That's the type of drama you want.
Mohamed and I have had too many battles down the years to fix that! It
was unbelievably dramatic.
"It was the perfect tune up for the World Team Championships and we're
proud that we're champions."
England set for testing night v Rest of the World
full-strength England will take on a Rest of the World team in the
eagerly-anticipated Ab Initio Squash International in Surrey on Friday –
with the event being showcased live across the globe and featuring a
number of exciting elements to capture the Test match feel.
England will field a world-class line-up consisting of Nick Matthew, the
three-time world champion, James Willstrop, Daryl Selby and Laura
Massaro, the 2013 women's world champion, on the all-glass show court at
St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club, Weybridge.
The mixed quartet will take on Egypt’s Mohamed Elshorbagy, New Zealander
Paul Coll, Australia’s Cameron Pilley and Hollie Naughton of Canada.
This 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
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."
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.
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 Championships 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 (November 24, 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
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)