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Andy Gill Memorial
04-07 Sep, Rochdale Cricket & Squash Club
Willstrop Takes His
First Andy Gill Title
Malcolm Willstrop reports from Rochdale

The Andy Gill Memorial is one of the longest-running tournaments in the country, and this was its twentieth running. At no time has it lost its standing, and indeed in recent times a C event has been added to the existing A and B events.

Five-time winner Nick Taylor and last year's champion Marcus Berrett led the field, with World Junior Champion James Willstrop, beaten finalist in 2001 and 2002, the other main player.

Taylor had to come from 2-1 behind against Adam Stevenson, but in the semi-finals beat a dispirited-looking Andrew Whipp very easily.

Berrett and Willstrop moved easily to their semi-final, and it was the youngster who showed how much success at the World Junior Championship and European Senior Team Championships for England had done for him He took control from the outset, and Berrett was never in the hunt, managing just six points.

Taylor is a very popular figure in the Manchester area, and a full house for the final contained many of his supporters. Willstrop looks the part these days and although the first game lasted 29 minutes, he seemed mostly in control and when he won it 10/8 even Taylor's supporters must have known their hero's number was up.

Willstrop finished off in style with his usual display of racket skills to win his first Andy Gill on his sixth visit to Rochdale.

The 17-year-old American Chris Gordon, who lives and trains under David Pearson in Harrogate, did well to win the competitive B event, beating Nigel Willis 3/0 in the semi and David Barnett, also 3/0, in the final. His time in England is paying dividends and he is now America's number one under-19 player.

David Pearson won the Andy Gill several times, and another Pearson, 17-year-old Michael, son of Brian and nephew of David, won the C event beating a trim-looking Laura Lengthorn 3/1.

The plate went to James Willstrop's clubmate and often training partner Andrew Cross, another promising youngster.

The tournament owes much to the efforts of Barry King and Rob Slater and Tony Parker and his band of loyal referees.

Mr and Mrs Gill were there, and Andy's mother presented the prizes. They must know after 20 events how much people thought of their son.

A Final:
James Willstrop bt Nick Taylor  10/8, 9/1, 9/2

Nick Taylor bt Andrew Whipp  9/2, 9/1, 9/0
James Willstrop bt Marcus Berrett  9/5, 9/1, 9/0

B Final:
Chris Gordon bt David Barnett  3/0
C Final:

Michael Pearson bt Laura Lengthorn  3/1

Andrew Cross bt Lawrence Hicks  3/0


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