Todd misses out on British title after surprise semi-final loss

Sam Todd.
Sam Todd.
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Pontefract’s talented crop of juniors, most of them with another year to play in their respective age groups, performed with credit at the British Championships in Manchester.

Ben Beachill (under 13) finished third, as did Sam Todd (under 15), whose loss in the semi-finals was a major disappointment.

Asia Harris (under 13) finished fourth, Amy Royle (under 13) fifth and Elliot Ridge ninth in the under 19 championship.

The best performance, though, came from Ben Sockett (under 17), just 15 years old, who had match balls against Hampshire’s Jared Carter, who has dominated the age groups.

Sockett lost 13-11 in the fifth and deciding game. He ended up fifth best, but after a performance this impressive he can count himself unlucky not to have made the final.

Todd had a 50 minute five set match in his quarter-final and led 2-1 in the semi-finals, having match balls as Sockett did, before losing to eventual champion Max Forster, of Durham.

Todd is just 13 and will have the chance to put matters right next year, but such is his standing in the game that his loss was a shock.

Meanwhile, the World Championships was the main event in Egypt, which has never been a happy hunting ground for Pontefract’s James Willstrop, or indeed Lee Beachill before him, Willstrop having suffered extreme food poisoning there.

Willstrop won his first round match against fellow Englishman Jamie Haycocks. He then faced the local Ali Farag, the in-form world number six and in an outstanding match Willstrop lost 3-2.

He will play for Pontefract’s National League team against Nottingham next week and then head for Doha for the long established Qatar Classic, which he won in 2005.

The Yorkshire Premier League this week brings together Pontefract’s first and second teams in what should be an entertaining fixture, the first team having beaten Abbeydale Park 3-2 last week.

The unbeaten Pontefract third team continued on their winning ways with a 5-0 success against Woodfield Park and they go to AF Squash this week.