6:30 pm
19 May 2024

Pilley Powers To National Capital Title

4 Feb 2008

Australia's Cameron Pilley saved his stunning best for the final of the 2008 National Capital Open where he overwhelmed top seed Laurens Jan Anjema in three straight games in the climax of the inaugural 2 Star PSA Tour squash event in Bethesda in the US state of Maryland.

The 25-year-old from New South Wales started tentatively in the first game and tinned several attacking drops, giving Anjema an early 8-3 lead. In contrast, Dutchman Anjema appeared comfortable against the early Pilley attack and it looked as if he might be able to nullify the lanky Australian in a way that his previous opponents had been unable to do.

As the play settled in the first, second seed Pilley began to reduce his error rate and lengthen the rallies, forcing his opponent to increase the intensity of his attack. Subsequently Anjema began to use more short game, including his trademark trickle boast counter drops. Pilley quickly demonstrated that he was up to this challenge, using his substantial reach to cope with the short game that the Dutchman's earlier opponents had struggled with.

"These retrieving skills proved to be key, robbing Anjema of the opportunity of his favourite scoring options and forcing the Dutchman to ever increasing tightness which eventually raised his mistake rate," said tournament organiser Rod Barnes. "Over the three games, there was only one drop, a rolling nick, which Pilley did not reach or receive a let on, in an incredible retrieving display."

Towards the end, Anjema's head dropped slightly as if to signify he had no answer for what he was facing and indeed the end came shortly after as Pilley wrapped up his 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 upset in 53 minutes.

"I can't believe how well I was moving and retrieving," said Pilley afterwards - adding that he hoped to carry the form through Nova Scotia and on to Toronto.

Tournament promoters, Rod and Connie Barnes of AussieNick Squash, vowed to work with the National Capital Squash Association and sponsors to provide a bigger and better National Capital Open 2009, with use of a portable glass court a major ambition.

Pilley's triumph in Bethesda - where he failed to drop a game throughout the tournament - gives the UK-based Australian his 12th PSA Tour title in 20 final appearances.

[2] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [1] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 (53m)