Pontefract youngsters dominate Yorkshire Championships

Sam Todd
Sam Todd

Pontefract’s outstanding juniors dominated the Yorkshire Junior Championships with five winners and four runners-up from nine championships.

World class Sam Todd, England junior international Ellen Cooper, Layla Johnson, Ben Beachill and Poppy Jaram, who although from York is coached at Pontefract, were the winners and the runners-up were Tom Bamford, Elliot Ridge, Ben Sockett and Laura Longfield.

Results: Under 19 boys: James Peach (Doncaster) beat Tom Bamford 11-5, 11-6, 11-9; under 17 boys: Stuart Mcgregor (Ilkley) beat Elliot Ridge 11-5, 11-9, 11-7; under 17 girls: Ellen Cooper beat Gabriella Mawson 11-4, 11-4, 12-10; under 15 boys: Ben Merchant (Chapel Allerton) beat Ben Sockett 11-5, 15-13, 11-8; under 15 girls: Poppy Jaram (York) beat Emma Gill 11-9, 11-6, 11-6; under 13 boys: Sam Todd beat Matthew Readshaw 11-4, 11-6, 11-5; under 13 girls: Lydia Robinson(Hull) beat Laura Longfield 11-3, 7-11, 11-3, 12-10; under 11 boys: Ben Beachill beat Ben Parlour 11-8, 9-11, 11-9; Layla Johnson beat Lexie Ogram (hull) 11-2, 11-7.

The Yorkshire League got under way last week and Queen’s Halifax proved far too strong for Pontefract’s young second team.

Taminder Gata-Aura and Tom Bamford both lost 3-1, but the other three matches were all 3-0.

Pontefract’s first Premier League team play Queen’s this week and will be led by New Zealander Ben Grindrod, who will be here for the whole of the 2014/15 season.

The second team go to Abbeydale and the third team, who had a splendid win over Huddersfield first team 3-2, travel to Malton.

Katie Smith and the improving Matt Godson both won well,but the feature was the outstanding performance of 11-year-old Sam Todd, coming in as a late replacement and winning the crucial match 11-9 in the fifth.

The fourth team, which will include Todd, will play Wakefield at home in a busy week.

Another promising youngster, nine-year-old Asia Harris, reached the final of the Purley Under 11 Open, losing to the nationally ranked Siobhan Wilkins in the final. She has a bright future.

Saurav Ghosal, long time Pontefract player, the Indian no.1 and India’s best ever player, lost in the fifth game of the Asian Games singles final, having led 2-0, to Abdullah Almeyzan, of Kuwait.

But he then went on to lead India to team success. He reversed the loss to Almeyzan in the semi-final and then beat Ong Ben Hee, the experienced Malaysian no.1, 11-9 in the fifth to win the title for India for the first time.