Pontefract’s top juniors struck by stomach bug

Laura Massaro (pictured) and James Willstrop will miss the start of the National League season because they will be playing in the US Open.
Laura Massaro (pictured) and James Willstrop will miss the start of the National League season because they will be playing in the US Open.

SEVERAL of Pontefract Squash Club’s leading junior players, including Eliot Ridge, Sam Todd, Ben Beachill and Jordan Stewart, were all unable to compete fully at the England Squash Junior Silver event at Manchester Sports City after being struck down by a stomach problem.

Todd, 14, competing at under 19 level, managed one match and Beachill two before they were unable to continue and Ridge, who has looked in fine form in practice and was seeded two, lost his first match.

Harry Anderson emerged unscathed and won his first silver championship at under 17. Asia Harris, 12, playing under 15, came close to giving Pontefract two wins, losing 3-2 in the final, and Grace Clark played well to reach the semi-finals of the under 17 girls.

Pontefract play Woodfield Park this week in the final of the newly inaugurated Yorkshire Summer League at the Doncaster venue, having beaten Chapel Allerton in the semi-finals 3-0. The three-string team is Dominic Pegg, Katie Smith and Nathan Foster. Yorkshire League fixtures begin next week, Pontefract’s fourth team taking on Woodfield Park.

The Yorkshire Premier League begins on October 4 when the club’s first team play the second team in a match full of interest. The National League starts in the same week with a home match against Nottingham. Many of the leading players, such as James Willstrop and Laura Massaro, will not be available as they will be in Philadelphia for the US Open.

Pontefract have joined forces with Woodfield Park - Rob Waller’s splendid new club near Doncaster - for National League purposes, the home fixtures being shared.

Before the US Open, European Champion Willstrop heads for the Netsuite Open in San Francisco, the court set spectacularly in the bay.

Next international visitors to Pontefract for training purposes will be the sensational athlete New Zealander Paul Coll, whose incredible court movement has attracted massive interest and who has risen to world number 10 and girlfriend Nele Gils, fresh from reaching the final of the Nantes Open.