Pontefract squash players dominate county championships

Pontefract winners at the Yorkshire Junior Squash Championship (left to right) Asia Harris, Ben Sockett, Ellen Cooper, Amber Copley and front row Ben Beachill and Joe Royle.
Pontefract winners at the Yorkshire Junior Squash Championship (left to right) Asia Harris, Ben Sockett, Ellen Cooper, Amber Copley and front row Ben Beachill and Joe Royle.

The Yorkshire Junior Championships held at Pontefract Squash Club were dominated by the host club.

From 10 age groups finals Pontefract produced six winners – Ellen Cooper (under 17), Ben Sockett (under 15), Amber Copley (under 15), Ben Beachill (under 13), Asia Harris (under 13) and Joe Royle (under 11), three of who have held the number one ranking in the country this year.

Add five runners-up and the current quality of Pontefract juniors is there for all to see.

There were some remarkable performances too.

Amber Copley,who recently beat the country’s leading junior of her age, Sussex’s Torrie Malik, played outstandingly well to beat a high class field and Ben Sockett, error free, used his considerable athleticism to beat Sam Todd.

Highly promising youngsters Asia Harris and Joe Royle confirmed their promise.

There is no doubt that the present crop of Pontefract juniors are unusually talented and with three already England junior internationals there are certainly more to come.

Success was not limited to junior events as long time Pontefract player and Leeds University graduate Saurav Ghosal, India’s best-ever player, won the Calcutta International,beating a world class field without conceding a game.

In the semi finals he beat South African number one Steve Coppinger for the loss of only 10 points and then the top seed Marwan el Shorbagy 11-7, 11-2, 11-7, much to the delight of the home crowd.

James Willstrop, playing in San Francisco, beat Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller 3-2 before losing 3-1 to world number three Gregory Gaultier (France) after a well contested match, which showed he is well on his way back after his hip operation.

The only downside is the unwelcome news that squash has again been rejected by Tokyo’s Olympic Committee, such sports as skateboarding being seen to be more suitable.

It is hard to believe that a sport played in over 180 countries, involving boys and girls, men and women of all ages, which unlike some Olympic sports is drug free and which the Forbes Magazine in America voted the toughest sport in the world is held to be unacceptable.

It is not the credibility of the sport that is questionable, but more the decision makers.