Pontefract ace Willstrop faces strong challenge at Cleethorpes

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WITH the first of the new season’s major championships, the Australian Open in Canberra early in August, Pontefract Squash Club’s James Willstrop (pictured) and Saurav Ghosal will welcome the match play opportunities at this weekend’s Cleethorpes Invitation tournament.

It is a long established eight man tournament, whose winners have included former world number one John White, the hardest hitter of a squash ball the world has ever known, and former British Open champion David Evans.

Willstrop is a five time winner of the event but will face strong opposition, not only from Ghosal, but from British champion Daryl Selby and England international Adrian Grant in a line up which is as strong as ever. In Canberra, Willstrop should meet Frenchman Gregory Gaultier for a place in the semi final and Ghosal has a tough first round match against Manchester based Australian Stewart Boswell for the chance to play Ramy Ashour, the world number two.

Before that Willstrop will join forces with world number one Nick Matthew at Alderley Edge, Cheshire, for a charity night in aid of Wythenshawe Hospital Special Care Baby unit.

And, on Friday July 29, Willstrop will feature with a host of world class players - Jenny Duncalf, Vanessa Atkinson, Lee Beachill, Simon Parke,Ghosal and aspiring youngsters Sam Todd and Wll King - in a night at Pontefract for Sadie Rose Clifford, a seriously ill two year old from Knaresborough.

There will be four matches and music provided by Andy Procter and James Fender.

The world under 19 championships for boys has just ended in Belgium and the girls championship takes place in Boston, USA, this week.

Katie Smith will be representing England and has a first round match against Alix Younger (Canada).

If successful Katie is likely to meet 9/16 seed Anaka Alankanamy (India) in the second round.

In a powerful draw American hopes rest with Amanda Sobhy, the reigning champion.

Emily Whitlock, the British under 17 Open champion and the best English girl for some years, is seeded 5/8.