Commonwealth Games duo help Pontefract to reach first play-offs

Laura Massaro.
Laura Massaro.

Pontefract’s National League team reached the play-offs for the first time when they beat Birmingham 5-0 in convincing fashion in a home fixture last week.

James Willstrop and Laura Massaro, now in the Gold Coast Australia to represent England in the Commonwealth Games that start this week, both won their matches 3-0.

Willstrop beat the Belgium champion Jan Van Den Herrewegen and Massaro (pictured right) beat England international and European Championship finalist Millie Tomlinson.

Chris Simpson won 3-1 as did Eliot Ridge, who was making his National League debut for Pontefract.

British Under 23 champion Patrick Rooney rounded things off with a comfortable 3-0 win.

Pontefract now go to the historic RAC Club, in London, for the play-off semi-finals on Tuesday, May 8.

The RAC Club have New Zealand number one Paul Coll – currently in the world top 10 rankings – at one, with England international player Daryl Selby at two and another experienced England international Alison Waters as their female player.

The good news for Pontefract is that Indian number one and Indian Player of the Year Saurav Ghosal will be available, so they will be at full strength.

The Commonwealth Games squash championship begins this week and Willstrop and Massaro, both of who already have three silver medals to their credit, will be looking to add a gold to their collections.

Massaro is seeded number one in the women’s and Willstrop four in the men’s.

Both will play in the doubles championships, which follow the singles.

On his return from Australia Willstrop will play for England in the European Team Championships In Wroclaw, Poland from May 2 to 5, where France will be England’s main opponents.

He and Massaro will also be looking forward to the Allam British Open, in Hull, from May 13 to 20, Dr Allam, having given much support to the prestigious championship for several years.

Patrick Rooney, meanwhile, heads for Ireland next week for the Galway Open, which is followed by the Irish Open, in Dublin.