Atkinson eases to Nottingham title

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PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s Vanessa Atkinson may have ended her illustrious career on the world women’s tour but she showed she is still a force to be reckoned with when she beat a useful field in the Mantis Nottingham Open without being seriously troubled.

Atkinson (pictured) disposed of qualifier Sigany Silevis, from Atkinson’s adopted country, Holland, and promising Welsh youngster Tesni Evans, both 3-0, to reach the semi finals.

There she beat Sarah Jane Perry, another qualifier, who had beaten two seeds, 3-1 and then Laura Hill, who had also beaten two seeds, in the final.

Atkinson lost the first game in the final but then played very well to run out an easy winner, 11-3,11-3,11-4.

She will lead the Pontefract team in the European Club team championships in Belfast in September, supported by Kirsty McPhee, Sarah Bowles and Katie Smith.

England began their challenge for the World team title in Paderborn, led by Pontefract’s James Willstrop, who beat formidable Spanish number one Borja Golan 3-1 in a match which will have done much to sharpen him up for what lies ahead.

England have Germany and Ireland to play in their group and are seeded to meet Egypt in Saturday’s final. It would be a major surprise if the world’s two outstanding teams fail to justify their seeding.

The Lesley Willstrop Memorial Doubles, in aid of H.E.R. Breast Friend and Candlelighters, will begin at Pontefract next Thursday (September 1).

Players from the age of six to world level will be competing in the three categories, men’s, women’s and mixed.

The finals will be played on the Saturday.The popular Stafford Murray will provide the musical entertainment after the finals.

Super League title-chasers Warrington Wolves are paying their third visit of the season to Pontefract for a morning’s squash.

Andrew Cross, long time former Pontefract player and now number two in the Malaysian coaching hierarchy, is on holiday in this country and he will be part of the coaching staff who will assist the Warrington players on court.