With England and Egypt locked at 1-1 in the final of the World Men’s Team Championships in Mulhouse, France, the outcome was in the hands of Pontefract’s James Willstrop (pictured) as he took on former world number one and current world number six Karim Darwish.
Daryl Selby, who had not had to play in the previous night’s semi final win over France, gave England the best possible start with an impressive 3-0 win over the talented Tarek Momen.
But Nick Matthew, who battled for over two hours to beat French number one Gregory Gaultier 3-2 and Willstrop, whose match with Thierry Lincou ended in the early hours, had little time to recover.
Matthew faced a fresh and rested Ramy Ashour, the world number one, and in the circumstances did very well to extend the Egyptian, winning the first before going down 3-1.
It remained to be seen whether Willstrop had had time to recover. He began in the best possible fashion, winning the first game 11-3, and then had three game balls before Darwish won the second 13-11.
Although Darwish, with restored confidence, led eary in the third, Willstrop, playing with trademark accuracy and showing great resolve, caught up with him and then drew clear to lead 2-1.
The early stages of the fourth were close, but once again Willstrop took control, winning the match and with it the World Team Championship for England.
Willstrop went the whole week unbeaten, with wins over Miguel Rodriguez (Columbia), Dane Sharp (Canada), Alan Clyne (Scotland) and Thierry Lincou (France).