THE Dunlop Pontefract Junior Open has become one of the most prestigious events in the junior squash calendar being staged just before the British Junior Open in Sheffield.
Expertly run by Terry Dudley and his team, Pontefract’s 2012 Championship attracted over 150 entries with a powerful contingent of Malaysian players under the direction of former Pontefract player Andrew Cross.
The Malaysians dominated proceedings, winning six titles.
There was a large entry of Pontefract players and the pick of them - Taminder Gata Aura, Jack Cooper, Ellen Cooper and Sam Todd - all acquitted themselves well.
Gata Aura (under 19 boys) reached the final but, troubled by a groin problem, he had to retire at 2-0 down in the decider.
Jack Cooper finished third in the under 17 boys and his sister Ellen also finished third in the under 13 girls.
Pontefract’s jewel in the crown, though, is nine year old Sam Todd who, giving up to three years away to opponents, finished fifth in the under 13 boys with a series of impressive performances.
Todd’s game is mature beyond his years and he has every chance of following in the footsteps of Pontefract’s Lee Beachill and James Willstrop, both of whom have been ranked one in the world.
Willstrop (pictured) is quickly back in action this week at the World Series in London at the Queen’s Club, which is for the top eight players in the world.
He plays Karim Darwish (Egypt), Gregory Gaultier (France) and Simon Rosner (Germany) in his round robin, the first and second going on to the semi finals on Saturday.
Nick Matthew (England) Amr Shabana (Egypt), Mohammed El Shorbgay (Egypt) and Peter Barker (England) make up the other round robin.
The results of Pontefract’s junior open championships were:
Under 19 boys: Sanjay Singh (Malaysia) beat Taminder Gata Aura 11-4 11-3 retired. Under 19 girls: Rachel Arnold (Malaysia) beat Lucy Beecroft 11-4 11-6 9-11 11-6. Under 17 boys: Syafiq Kamal (Malaysia) beat Adam Turner 11-9 11-8 13-11. Under 17 girls: Sivasangari (Malaysia) beat Mari Taylor 11-6 11-3 11-7. Under 15 boys: Ng Eain Yow (Malaysia) beat Jesse Foo (Malaysia) 11-3 11-4 11-4. Under 15 girls: Zoe Foo (Malaysia) beat Zoe Kaiser 11-1 11-8 11-7 . Under 13 boys: Nick Wall beat Richard Hall 11-6 11-7 14-12. Under 13 girls Nur Aliah (Malaysia) beat Aifa Azman (Malaysia) 12-10 9-11 12-10, 11-9.