Pontefract squash star James Willstrop’s record in major World Tour Championships this season has shown a high level of consistency.
He reached the finals in the Netsuite Open in America and the British Grand Prix at Manchester Sports City, the semi finals of the US Open, the quarter finals of the Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Open and last weekend he added another semi final at the Channel Vas Tournament at St George’s Hill, Surrey.
World number one Mohammed El Shorbagy went out in the first round and second seed Omar Mosaad also lost at the same stage.
After beating Swiss number one Nicholas Mueller 3-0 in the first round, Willstrop then defeated South African number one Steve Coppinger, Mosaad’s conqueror, 3-1 in a high quality match to play Tarek Momen (Egypt) who had beaten fellow countryman Marwan El Shorbagy and world number six in the semi-finals.
Momen beat Willstrop 3-0 but there was very little in it and each game was 11-9 .
Willstrop returned to Pontefract to lead the club to an important 3-2 win over Leicester in the Premier League on Tuesday evening in front of a sell-out crowd at Stuart Road.
In the deciding top string match, Willstrop overcame fellow England international Darly Selby, also a semi finalist at St George’s Hill.
Willstrop came out on top 3-2 (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 11-3) in a thrilling match.
Pontefract’s Chris Simpson beat Malaysian number one Nafizwan Adnan 3-0 (11-4, 15-13, 11-3).
Patrick Rooney defeated Mark Fuller 3-1 (12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4).
Evan Williams lost 3-1 to Scottish number one Alan Clyne (1-11, 12-10, 2-11, 7-11) and Fiona Moverley was beaten 3-0 by the promising young Emily Whitlock (11-13, 9-11, 7-11).
Pontefract’s Sam Todd heads for Connecticut this week for the US Under 15 Open.
He won the US Under 13 Open in 2016 and will be looking to make it a double from an entry of over 100.
He will be joined by fellow Ackworth School pupil and Chicago resident Millen Randell.
The Pontefract Junior Open, which attracts an international entry including last year’s world junior champion Eain Yow (Malaysia), begins on December 27.
It is immediately followed by the British Junior Open at Sheffield. Thirteen-year-old Todd is seeded 3/4 in the under 15 championship there.
The next world tour event is the glamorous Tournament of Champions at Grand Central Station in New York early in the New Year.
It will be followed by long time Pontefract player and India’s best ever player Saurav Ghosal’s wedding which will attract much media interest in India.
Pontefract will be represented at the wedding by club owner Mick Todd and head coach Malcolm Willstrop.