Malaysians dominate Pontefract squash tournament

Pontefract's 10-year-old Sam Todd was giving two years away to his opponent in the final. He won the third game before losing 3-1 to Mohammed Hafiz.
Pontefract's 10-year-old Sam Todd was giving two years away to his opponent in the final. He won the third game before losing 3-1 to Mohammed Hafiz.
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The Malaysian national juniors, under the care of former Pontefract player Andrew Cross, swept the board at the Dunlop Pontefract Squash Club Junior Open Championships with all eight winners.

To win all eight was a remarkable achievement, with South African and many leading English players also in the draw.

Pontefract players Jack Cooper (under 19 boys), Eliot Ridge (under 15 boys) and Sam Todd (under 13 boys) all reached finals.

Ridge, seeded as low as eight, had the most successful tournament of his career, beating top seed Daniel Harrison 3-2 in the quarter-final and Charlie Major 3-2 in the semi-final.

Although Ridge lost to Ong Sai Hung in the final he acquitted himself well.

Todd, only ten years old, and giving two years away to his opponent in the final, showed much of his exceptional talent, winning the third game before losing 3-1 to Mohammed Hafiz.

It was left to England junior international Cooper to come closest to breaking the Malaysian dominance.

Cooper had played well to reverse a previous loss by beating Connor Sheen in the semi-final and he continued in the same form in the final.

He won the first game off the talented Mohammed Syafiq and came back from 2-1 down to level the score.

The deciding game was always close but the Malaysian just clinched it, a fitting finale to the championships.

Ben Sockett finished fifth in the under 13 boys, losing narrowly to the eventual winner in the second round.

Emma Campion finished fifth in the under 15 girls and nine-year-old Layla Johnson confirmed her exceptional promise when she finished eighth in the under 13 girls, beating the sixth seed on the way. The Pontefract Junior Open leads into the British Junior Open, which begins today (Thursday) in Sheffield and the Malaysians can again be expected to do well.

Cooper, Ridge, Todd, Sockett and Ellen Cooper will represent Pontefract with hopes of performing well at the highest world levels.

AJP Pontefract take on Duffield in the National League on Tuesday at home and there is a possibility that England’s two outstanding players James Willstrop and Nick Matthew will be in action against each other.

Both head for New York and the glamorous setting of Grand Central station for the Tournament of Champions the week after and they may both be looking for match play after the break .

RESULTS: Boys under 15: Ong Sai Hung (Malaysia) beat Eliot Ridge 3-0. Girls under 15: Aifa Azaman (Malaysia) beat Karina Tyma 3-0. Boys under 13: Mohammed Hafiz (Malaysia) beat Sam Todd 3-1. Girls under 13: Jessica Kheng (Malaysia) beat Amirah Rusdina 3-0. Boys under 19: Mohammed Syafiq (Malaysia) beat Jack Cooper 3-2. Girls under 19: Sivasangari (Malaysia) beat Nazihah Hannis 3-2. Boys under 17: Ng Eain Yow (Malaysia) beat Mohammed Farez Izwan 3-0. Girls under 17: Andrea Lee (Malaysia) beat Amber Pearcey 3-0.