British Open qualifiers battle it out at Pontefract

Pontefract Squash Club's James Willstrop is seed to meet world number one Ramy Ashour in the semi-final of the Allam British Open.
Pontefract Squash Club's James Willstrop is seed to meet world number one Ramy Ashour in the semi-final of the Allam British Open.

Pontefract Squash Club this week hosts the qualifying matches for the Allam British Open which will be staged at the KC Stadium, Hull.

The 32 strong qualifier at Pontefract will produce eight players for the first round which will played at Hull next Monday. The final is the following Sunday (May 26).

The first round of the Allam British Open Women’s championship will also be played at Pontefract on Monday.

Visiting players from all over the world, incuding the number ones for their countries - Joelle King (New Zealand), Miguel Rodriguez (Columbia), Siyoli Waters (South Africa), Dipika Pallikal (India) and Sam Cornett (Canada) - will join James Willstrop and Saurav Ghosal in preparation at Pontefract.

Willstrop is seeded to meet world number one Ramy Ashour in the semi final.

The Pontefract player has a first round match against the South African number one Steve Coppinger on Tuesday.

Ghosal plays a qualifier on Monday.

Despite it being a big week for Rugby League, major figures from that sport will be attending the British Open in Hull.

Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith, Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos) and Andy Lynch (Hull), the latter pair both club members at Pontefract, will be at the semi finals and final.

It has been another successful season for Pontefract juniors with two new England internationals, Sam Todd and Ellen Cooper, both at under 13 level.

Todd folowed up his win in the Surrey under 13 Junior Open last weekend with another at the Ilkley Open.

Eliot Ridge,13, who performed with credit in an under 17 open in Manchester recently to finish ninth out of 32, returned to his own age group to win the Ilkley Under 15 Open easily.

Airedale Junior School have visited Pontefract in recent weeks for coaching and Halfpenny Lane became another school to take advantage of the coachng offered to local schools.

Several of the children from both schools show promise and some have now attached themselves to the club’s regular coaching sessions.