INDIAN ace Saurav Ghosal won the deciding match as Pontefract Courtcraft snatched a thrilling 3-2 home win against Duffield in a National Squash League match played in front of a large, appreciative crowd.
On paper, it looked a competitive contest with Duffield the probable winners, but outstanding performances by Pontefract players gave them the edge.
Kirsty McPhee (pictured) got Pontefract off to a good start with a hard-earned 3-0 win over Laura Hill who is always difficult to beat. All three games were close but McPhee was resolute when necesarry for an impressive win.
Lee Beachill, short of matchplay, managed to get to 2-2 against in-form Andy Whipp before the fifth game proved too much for him.
Neil Cordell, back from America, lost 3-1 and Simon Park looked to have a difficult task against world universities champion Joel Hinds.
After three punishing games, former world number three Park found himself 2-1 down but battling and chasing as only he can he proved too tenacious for Hinds, edging home 11-8 in the fifth for a quite remarkable victory, greeted raptuously by the crowd.
It all depended on the top string match between Ghosal and Jon Kemp, who is renowned for his attacking play.
Ghosal won the first and lost the second on a tiebreak 13-11. Then followed a monumental third game which, after a protracted struggle, went to Ghosal 19-17. The fourth game remained competitive but Ghosal drew away to win it 11-7 and clinch the match for Pontefract.
Pontefract’s Yorkshire League Premier side, again led by Ghosal, followed up with a 4-1 win over title challengers Hallamshire. Ghosal and James Earles both won 3-0 comfortably, Taminder Gata-Aura won 3-1 and George wileman, returning from injury, had to battle for his 3-2 victory.
Pontefract’s third team beat Abbeydale secopnd team 4-1 and there was a fine victory for the fourth team when youngsters Jack Cooper, Tom Bamford and Brad Gallivan all won tough matches to clinch Pontefract’s 3-2 success.
Recently over 300 youngsters invaded Pontefract for the Junior open and last weekend it was the turn of the older players who were competing in the Northern Masters. Age groups from over 35 to over 70 were in action and there was no shortage of entries, quality and famous names.
Among the men winners were American based Richard Millman, David Manning of Queens Halifax, Mike Clemson (Hull) and London’s ageless over 70 champion Lance Kinder.
Nikki Horn won the women’s over 40s to add to Yorkshire successes.
Terry Dudley was tournament organiser, as comfortable with the older generation as with the junior players.
Bradford Bulls were at Pontefract Squash Club for a morning’s squash under the direction of newly-appointred coach Mick Potter and assistant Francis Cummins. Bulls captain Andy Lynch, a regular and capable player at Pontefract, was the stand-out performer.