Willstrop wins Canary Wharf title for record fourth time

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Pontefract Squash Club’s James Willstrop became the first player to win the Canary Wharf Classic four times by beating Peter Barker in this year’s final.

Willstrop (pictured) won the inaugural tournament in 2004 and has now added three more successes to his name, as well as reaching the final on two other occasions.

Arriving from Kuwait, where he lost in the final of the Kuwait Cup, he faced a difficult draw in the 2013 event.

Seeded two, he met in-form Daryl Selby and was impressive in a 3-0 victory in the quarter finals.

In the semi final he faced world number five Mohammed El Shorbagy who beat him in a two hour epic in the World Championships in Qatar in December but who lost to him more recently in Kuwait.

Willstrop lost the first but went on to win 3-1 without it ever being easy.

Meanwhile, London-based Barker beat top seed Nick Matthew to be Willstrop’s final opponent.

In the final, the first game was well contested but even though Barker went 5-2 up, Willstrop hit back to take a 1-0 lead.

Barker again led 5-2 in the second but this time there was no way back for Willstrop and Barker levelled at 1-1.

However, it was Willstrop’s turn to lead in the third and fourth as he took total control and won 3-1 to land his fourth Canary Wharf title.

The championship is played in the spectacular all glass East Wintergarden and played to sell out crowds all week.

BBC sports presenter John Inverdale was one of the celebrities in the crowd on final’s night.

The shot that Willstrop produced against Ramy Ashour in the semi final of the North American Open continues to attract world wide attention and has been tweeted by none other than Stephen Fry who has five million followers.

Willstrop will lead AJP Pontefract in their final National League match of the season against Chapel Allerton in Leeds.

The team is Willstrop, Lee Beachill, Thoboki Mohohlo, Adam Taylor and Katie Smith. Willstrop then has a tournament free April as he prepares for the European Team Championships in Amsterdam and the Allam British Open in Hull in May, although he will be active in various parts of the country doing exhibitions,

In the Women’s National Club Championships, Pontefract faced a strong challenge from Duffield who were led by world number three Laura Massaro.

However, she was the only winner for Duffield, beating Emma Beddoes 3-0 and Pontefract moved to the finals weekend 4-1 with wins from Deon Saffery, Orla Noom, KIrsty McPhee and Sarah Bowles.