Hard season catches up with Willstrop

Pontefract squash club. James Willstrop
Pontefract squash club. James Willstrop

SEVERAL of the world’s leading squash players have been struggling with injury or fatigue.

James Willstrop’s arduous season finally caught up with him at the British Championships at Manchester Sports City.

Seeded two, Pontefract’s Willstrop (pictured) bowed out in the quarterfinals, losing 3-1 to Jonathan Kemp.

It was soon clear that Willstrop was going to struggle and Kemp, who has fine attacking skills, soon realised that Willstrop, with whom he practices quite often, was below par.

Kemp won the first game and then went 2-0 up as Willstrop looked distracted and found it hard to concentrate.

Somehow Willstrop won the third on a tie break but Kemp finished the match off.

Willstrop clearly needs a break but is due in Virginia this week and Chennai soon after.

Deon Saffery had a good 3-0 win over eight seed Layren Selby and then lost to Laura Massaro who beat world number one Nicole David in America recently.

Saffery came to the British Championships after winning the Delaware State Open on the world women’s tour.

Currently training at Pontefract is India’s leading woman player Joshua Chinappa who has also arrived on the back of a tournament win, having taken the Chicago Windy City Open, beating countrywoman Dipila Pallikal 3-2 in the final.

Pontefract’s teams continue to thrive in the Yorkshire League.

The second team beat Chapel Allerton fourth team 4-1 and the third team defeated Hallamshire 2nds 3-2, with wins for Kirsty McPhee, Daniel Siddall and Chris Emmerson.

The National League team will field a strong side against Oxford at home this week and against Chapel Allerton in a fortnight’s time.

Saurav Ghosal, Simon Parke and Lee Beachill are all available and Willstrop, if he has recovered from his Manchester experiences, will also play.

Vanessa Atkinson will play against Chapel Allerton.

The Yorkshire League first team go to Dunningion, Ghosal leading the team.

Warrington Wolves are at Pontefract this week for a morning’s squash after losing to Huddersfield Giants at Millenium Magic in Cardiff.