Malaysians win five titles at Pontefract

Pontefract's James Willstrop is a previous winner of the Tournament of Champions. Picture: Steve Line/
Pontefract's James Willstrop is a previous winner of the Tournament of Champions. Picture: Steve Line/

PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s status as one of the world’s leading clubs was enhanced at the Pontefract Junior Open at Stuart Road.

Players from Malaysia, America, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium all featured in the draw.

Added to that was the presence of the world junior champion Eain Yow who regrettably fell ill during the championship and was unable to compete.

Malaysia’s talented youngsters invariably do well at the event and they won five of the eight titles.

Pontefract’s world class 13 year old Sam Todd, who recently lifted the United States under 15 open title, won the under 15 championship.

In a repeat of last year’s under 13 British Junior Open final, Todd came out on top 3-1 in a high quality match against Amir Amirul.

It was the same score that Todd beat Amirul at the British Open in Sheffield.

Asia Harris won an all Pontefract under 13 final against Amy Royle and Elliot Ridge (under 19), Ben Sockett (under 17) and Ben Beachill (under 13) all performed well to reach the finals.

Layla Johnson, returning to competitive play after three months in America, showed signs of much to come by finishing third in the girls under 13 competition.

The British Junior Open is in full swing with over 450 players from all over the world competing at Abbeydale Park and Hallamshire.

Todd, Harris and Beachill are all seeded.

Whatever Todd achieves this year, he will still be eligible at under 15 level next year.

The Yorkshire Senior Championships will be held at Pontefract at the end of the month .

The club’s Yorkshire League teams are back in action next week.

James Willstrop’s world ranking jumped sharply from 15 to 11 after his successful December.

His results last month confimed that he can hope to re-establish himself in the world’s op ten very soon.

Willstrop heads for the United States next week to play in the Tournament of Champions at New York’s Grand Central Station.

It is perhaps the most iconic venue on the world squash tour.

Willstrop, a previous winner of the Tournament of Champions, plays South America’s best-ever player Miguel Rodriguez in the first round of the tournanent.