Hectic schedule for Pontefract star Willstrop as he travels the world

James Willstrop plays this week in the Houston Open in which he is seeded number two. Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com.
James Willstrop plays this week in the Houston Open in which he is seeded number two. Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com.
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THERE IS little respite for the world’s best squash players these days.

Pontefract’s James Willstrop, having just returned from El Gouna in Egypt, plays this week in the Houston Open in which he is seeded number two behind Karim Gamal Awad who will be confirmed as the new world number one in May’s ranking list.

After Houston he will go straight to Helsinki for the European Team Championships which could end with finals between England and France in both the men’s and women’s sections.

The French teams are led by current world number one Gregory Gaultier and world number two Camille Serme who is scheduled to train at Pontefract in July.

The England teams have in them the vastly experienced trio of Nick Matthew, Willstrop and Daryl Selby and recently crowned British Open champion Laura Massaro.

After Helsinki, Willstrop will head for the Belle Vue Open in America and then the World Series finals in Dubai in early June.

His position in the eight for the prestigious World Series was confirmed after El Gouna and he ended in sixth place, a fitting reward for his consistency this season.

And there is much to look forward to.

There are the world doubles in Manchester in early August and Manchester will also stage the world men’s and women’s Championships in December.

All eyes will be then on the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Nor is it just the senior players who are affected. Pontefract’s Sam Todd and Ben Sockett will represent England at under 17 level in the European team and individual championships in the Czech Republic in mid May.

This weekend the National Club Team Championships finals take place at Edgbaston Priory Birmingham.

Pontefract will be represented in the men’s, junior mixed and over 35, 45 and 55 championships.

The men’s team is Evan Williams, Taminder Gata-Aura, Neil Cordell and Alex Hodgetts and the junior mixed team is Eliot Ridge, Sam Todd and Charlotte Jagger.

The opposition in the men’s championships looks immensely strong with many of the country’s leading players involved.