The major event at Pontefract Squash Club last week was the party to say farewell to Margaret Rotherforth, one of its longest serving and most influential members.
Testimony to the regard in which she is held was the host of members past and present who were there to wish her well.
Margaret was central to the club in its now distant troubled days and instrumental with Mick Todd in rescuing it and taking it to its present standing as one of the most famous and best known squash clubs ,not only in England, but in the world.
When Mick Todd took the club over, Margaret became manager, a position she held until the decision to retire.
All the members past and present are indebted to her.
Mick Todd paid tribute to her and in her speech Margaret paid her own tribute to the many people who have helped and befriended her over 30 years of association.
Three of the club’s players have reached the exalted postion of number one in the world and Vanessa Atkinson and partner James Willstrop were present, the third Lee Beachill being engaged in the Swedish Open.
Margaret was quick to acknowledge the part they have played in the club’s success.
The best Irish player ever Derek Ryan, a long time player for Pontefract although unable to be present, sent a message thanking her for everything.
Pontefract has the reputation as a friendly and welcoming club and Margaret’s part in that is her legacy.
The prestigious British Championships are being held at Manchester Sports City this week and James Willstrop is seeded two in his bid to win the title for the third time.
With world champion and world number one Nick Matthew heading the draw, Willstrop and two other world top ten ranked players Peter Barker and Daryl Selby as main contenders, the championship is world class.
Willstrop is due to meet Barker in the semi finals.
The women’s championship is equally strong with world number two Laura Massaro seeded one.
The championships will have equal prize money, a welcome move by England Squash.
Pontefract’s all conquering Yorkshire League second team went to Dunnington in a bid to make it 15 wins out of 15 and did so in style, 5-0.
With five matches left they play Malton at home next week.
The Premier league side narrowly lost to league leaders Barnsley.
Jack Cooper and talented Malaysian Syafiq Kamal provided the wins. Chris van der Salm lost 3-2 to the experienced Peter Bilson.
Pontefract juniors contiue to achieve and Ben Beachill (under 11 boys) and Laura Longfield (under 13 girls) added to the considerable tally of open wins, winning the Edgbaston Junior Opens.