Willstrop concedes in semi-final after slipping badly on court

Pontefract's James Willstrop. Picture: Steve Line.SquashPics.com
Pontefract's James Willstrop. Picture: Steve Line.SquashPics.com

James Willstrop’s bid to win the Cleethorpes Invitation tournament for the tenth time ended in an unsatisfactory way.

The Pontefract Squash Club star conceded after the first game of the semi final against Scottish number one Alan Clyne. Willstrop had beaten one of England’s best young players Richie Fallows in the first round.

In the first game against Clyne, he led 8-5 and served to win the game at 10-8. At that point he slipped badly without injuring himself on a court that had recently been sanded.

With the World Series tournament, The Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Open, less than three weeks away, Willstrop felt he was unable to continue at the risk of injury.

In the other semi final, Willstrop’s England teammate Daryl Selby won a very tough five setter against Declan James, perhaps the most promising of the country’s emerging players.

It was no surprise that Clyne, fresh and unextended, beat Selby in the final played the same day, though Selby, as he always does, battled hard and almost won the second game. Next year is the 20th year of the Cleethorpes Invitation and already promoter Mike Hallam is planning to make it a special occasion.

Eleven times Indian champion Saurav Ghosal will be training this week at Pontefract in preparation for the world doubles tournament in Darwin, Australia, next week.

He partners Harinder Pal Sandhu in the men’s and Dipika Pallikal in the mixed, both of whom have a long association with Pontefract.

Good news for the forthcoming season is that Japanese number one woman player Misaki Kobayashi will be based at Pontefract full time, as will New Zealand number three Evan Williams who has been having much success on the PSA circuit in recent times. They will be welcome additions to the club’s playing strength.