Pontefract squash team off to winning start in national league

Pontefract Squash Club's winners and runners-up in the Regional Championships.
Pontefract Squash Club's winners and runners-up in the Regional Championships.
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Pontefract’s National Squash League season began in fine fashion when despite being without injured pair James Willstrop and Laurens Anjema and the unavailable Aqeel Rehmann the team defeated Leicester 3-2.

England international Sarah Kippax, Simon Parke and Alex Hodgetts were the winners, but with the same team Pontefract will face a stiffer task at home this week when they entertain champions Duffield, who have the distinction of having the two current world champions on their books.

It is unlikely, though, that one of them, Nick Matthew, will appear.

Pontefract’s Yorkshire League second Premier League side scored their first win of the season when they beat Hallamshire 3-2.

There were wins from Taminder Gata-Aura, Tom Bamford, who saved match balls against him to win in the fifth, and 15-year-old Elliot Ridge, who won comfortably.

The first team are still looking for their first win and they lost 4-1 to Heaton, Adam Taylor providing the win.

The second team do not play this week and the first team are at home to Abbeydale Park.

The Regional junior Championships, held at Pontefract, involving Durham, Northumberland, Cumbria and Yorkshire saw three Pontefract winners.

Ellen Cooper (under 17), seeded four, beat top seed Georgia Webster 3-1 and in the under 11s Ben Beachill and Layla Johnson both won well and they look to have bright futures.

Sam Todd, 11, was runner-up in the under 15 division, in which Ben Sockett finished third while the promising Asia Harris came second in the girls under 11.

Elliot Ridge (under 17), Jordan Stewart (under 13) and Laura Longfield (under 13) all finished creditable thirds.

The outstanding match of the championships was the semi-final between Todd and Sockett, which Todd won 3-1. The quality was top national standard.

The Pontefract contingent move on to Manchester this weekend for the British Junior Championships at Manchester Sports City and the Manchester Northern Club.

All those who performed so well at the Regional Championships will be looking to follow up at the top level.

Todd is seeded one for the under 13 boys and it would be something of a surprise were he not to become champion, even though he is still 11. Cooper is seeded two, but if she makes the final is likely to face the outstanding Elize Lazarus.