Pontefract ace slips to surprise defeat

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PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s James Willstrop suffered a surprise defeat in the last 16 of the Rowe British Grand Prix at Manchester Sports City.

Having played well to beat Spanish number one Borja Golan in the previous round, Willstrop (pictured) played fellow Englishman Adrian Grant in the second round, never having lost to him on the world tour.

Grant played above himself and although it was a close run thing, world number four Willstrop could never dominate as he so often does.

Pontefract’s Saurav Ghosal lost 3-0 to world number six Gregory Gaultier but he can be happy with his performance.

Willstrop and Ghosal both head for Philadelphia for the US Open, looking for a change of fortune.

The Yorkshire Premier League match between Pontefract’s first and second teams ended in a 3-2 win for the first team.

Wins from Neil Cordell and Vanessa Atkinson for the first team were offset by Tamindar Gata-Aura and Adam Taylor so that the outcome depended on the match between Kirsty McPhee and Simon Gittins.

It was Gittins who prevailed but only narrowly in the fifth.

The first team play Phoenix at home this week and the second team go to Abbeydale.

The Yorkshire League fourth team lost 3-2 to York, with youngsters Jack Cooper and Brad Gallivan providing the wins.

The third team play Chapel Allerton seconds and the fourth team play Rothwell, both at home tomorrow (Friday).

A top class Northern Masters championship for age groups from over 35 to over 70 was held at Pontefract last weekend and Sky television were present to film Lance Kinder, who is now over 75 but still playing to a remarkably high standard.

Many of the country’s outstanding age group players were in action and senior England international Steve Bateman, who formerly trained at Walton Hall, Wakefield, for three and a half years, looked in great shape in reaching the over 50 final.

Christian Donelan, a former Pontefract player, currently working for the Olympic Games organisation in London, was unlucky not to reach the over 35 final, losing 3-2 in the semis.

Pontefract’s Peter Lonsdale also had a notable win over the number two seed in the over 45 division.

World number two Ramy Ashour, fresh from his win in the British Grand Prix in Manchester, was at the Pontefract club this week, as was his equally charismatic brother Hisham, the world number 13.