Commonwealth Games: 'I can't really believe it!" - Yorkshire's James Willstrop finally gets his hands on gold

JAMES WILLSTROP ended his long wait for Commonwealth Games glory amid emotional scenes on the Gold Coast.

Monday, 9th April 2018, 12:46 pm
Updated Monday, 9th April 2018, 2:26 pm
James Willstrop. Picture: England Squash

The 34-year-old Yorkshireman beat New Zealand's Paul Coll 3-0 on Monday morning, making it third time lucky after twice losing out to long-time rival Nick Matthew in previous Games.

Willstrop was given a tough time in the first game by his Kiwi opponent, but took control thereafter, closing out the match to win 11-9, 11-4, 11-6.

Afterwards, a delighted Willstrop was hugged by his long-time manager Mick Todd. His victory brought him his first major title after previously having come off second-best in three British Open finals and World Championship final - in addition to his previous disappointments at the Commonwealths, both at the hand of Matthew.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"Things came off, shots went in - it just came together," said Willstrop. "I had to be clinical. He's so good, such an unbelievable athlete. You have to keep faith in the accuracy and keep mixing things. I mixed it well and things just worked.

"I'm not sure what's going on, I can't really believe it!"

Willstrop believed he had saved one of his best-ever performances for one of the biggest games of his career.

"It was the stuff you dream of - most brilliant performances in my career, everything works and clicks," said. "That's happened today. That is one of the best performances.

"There was no expectation. Everything in the lead-up has to go well and it just did. No illnesses for once, it went smoothly, so I knew it was there."

Earlier, Willstrop's England team-mate Sarah-Jane Perry took the silver medal in the women's singles after losing out to New Zealand's Joelle King after a mammoth encounter which saw her defeated 14-16, 8-11, 11-6, 13-12, 8-11.

"I couldn't quite make it over the finish line," said Perry. "Joelly played an absolute blinder at the end. She's a figher and never ever gives up - she's such an amazing player."