Young squash star Sam lifts national title in great style

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Pontefract’s Squash Club’s remarkable 10-year-old player Sam Todd won his first national championship when he claimed the English under 11 title at Manchester Sports City.

Runner up last year and runner up in this year’s English under 13 championship, Todd (pictured) made no mistake this time winning all his five matches 3-0 without ever looking likely to concede a game.

In the final he played the second seeded Joshua Perkins (Suffolk).

Although Perkins is a fine athlete, at no time could he contain Todd, whose control and range of shot for one so young is astonishing.

In the final game, he produced an incredible shot - which brought gasps from the crowd - from the wrong side of his body, even managing to put the ball where he wanted it.

Four other Pontefract youngsters Layla Johnson, Millie O’Toole, Sam Perrin and Jordan Stewart all performed with credit.

Johnson, only eight, will be a major challenger in the next two years, having finished tenth, while Stewart, inexperienced in tournament play, won three of his six matches.

Miguel Rodriguez, the Columbian number one, who has just entered the world’s top 20 for the first time - the first South American to do so - is currently in training at Pontefract and he presented the prizes in Manchester.

James Willstrop, representing England, Rodriguez and Saurav Ghosal (India) go to Mulhouse, France, this week for the world team championships.

The two outstanding sides are Egypt and England but both may be below full strength.

The great Amr Shabana (Egypt) is injured and Peter Barker is unavailable for England.

Nevertheless it would still be surprise were England and Egypt not to meet in the final, though France are a competitive side at world level.