Pontefract star Willstrop climbs to sixth in world rankings

James Willstrop is concentrating on the British Open in Hull later this month. Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com
James Willstrop is concentrating on the British Open in Hull later this month. Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com

Pontefract Squash Club’s James Willstrop has climbed to number six in this month’s world rankings list.

After hip surgery and illness he had previously dropped out of the world’s top 20 but his consistent form this season has seen him climb the rankings with two finals and three semi finals, all in top tournaments.

In his latest tournament, the Windy City Open in Chicago, he gave an outstanding display to beat fifth seed Omar Mosaad (Egypt) 3-0 and then beat the talented Mohammed Abouelghar (Egypt) 3-1 to reach the quarter finals where he met long time rival Gregory Gaultier (France).

Attacking from the start, after losing the first game, he troubled the Frenchman in the second and was unfortunate not to level the score, losing it 12-10.

Although he lost 3-0 Willstrop had the satisfaction of being beaten by the eventual title winner.

This week Willstrop misses one of his favourite events, the Canary Wharf Classic, which he has won four times.

He is concentrating on the British Open in Hull later this month.

Sam Todd, the country’s oustanding junior, and Ben Beachill have both been selected to represent England in the junior home internationals in Cardiff at the end of the month.

Asia Harris has also been named as first reserve.

Todd’s appearance at the English Under 11 Championships this week in Birmingham is in doubt because of a hairline fracture to the middle finger of his racket hand.

Pontefract’s Premier League team visit Bristol next week for a crucial match. Willstrop will lead the side which will include Laura Massaro and Patrick Rooney. Pontefract’s Yorkshire League Premier first team are at home this week to Barnsley in their quest for the league title.

Three Ackworth School teams, which consist of Pontefract Club players, have reached the National Schools team finals to be played in Manchester later this month. Already National Champions at boys under 15 level, they look sure to retain that title and will have major chances at under 15 girls and under 19 boys levels. The girls under 15 team includes French Under 15 Open cChampion Amber Copley and the outstanding 12 year olds Asia Harris and Layla Johnson.