Pontefract player wins Northern Masters title

James Willstrop is heading for Grand Central Station, New York, this weekend for the Tournament of Champions.
James Willstrop is heading for Grand Central Station, New York, this weekend for the Tournament of Champions.
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It may have been the festive season but for competitive squash players at high levels there has been no respite.

The Pontefract Dunlop Junior Open, which began the day after Boxing Day, attracted 180 players.

The British Junior Open in Sheffield, which began on January 2, drew over 430 players from 36 countries and the Northern Masters, played last weekend at Pontefract for players from over 35 to over 75, had 140 entries.

Feature of the Masters event was the success of Pontefract’s Andrea Santamaria who added the Northern title to her European and British Open titles.

There were other Yorkshire successes for Hull’s Mike Clemson and Sheffield’s Murray Scott.

Sam Todd did best of the Pontefract juniors at the British Open finishing 12th in the boys under13.

Ten year old Todd was giving up to two years in age to world class opposition and he will be a major contender in the next two years.

Eliot Ridge (under 15) continues to improve and he won four of his six matches, beating three seeded players.

Ben Sockett, too, did well finishing 18th in the under 13 boys.

AJP Pontefract resume their National League programme this week with a home fixture against league leaders Duffield.

In what will be a special night, James Willstrop, world number one throughout 2012, will take on current world number one and world champion Nick Matthew.

They were key members of the England team which won the World Team Championship in France, beating Egypt 2-1, with Willstrop winning the deciding match.

Both are heading for Grand Central Station, New York, this weekend for the Tournament of Champions so after the holiday break the National League match will be valuable preparation.

There is little doubt that although Pontefract’s main court can accommodate 150 plus that England’s two outstanding players would draw a crowd well in excess of that.

Pontefract’s Yorkshire League second team, unbeaten in 11 matches, look to extend the sequence against Huddersfield first team at home, the Premier League side go to Queen’s (Halifax) while the fourth team head for Hallamshire to take on that club’s third team.