Pontefract aiming for glory at national level

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PONTEFRACT Squash Club have a record second to none in the National Club Championships.

The women’s team have gone on to win the European title, as England’s representatives, several times, with the men’s team winning in the Algarve and the under 19 mixed team winning the national title several times.

Pontefract’s women’s team beat Kenilworth 4-1 to reach this year’s national finals at Nottingham in June.

The team was Kirsty McPhee (pictured), Vanessa Atkinson, Deon Saffery, Sarah Bowles and Katie Smith, all of whom have played internationally, three for England, one for Holland and one for Wales.

The men’s team have a quarter final to play against Bowden (Cheshire) to make the finals.

The under 19 mixed team are already through to the finals, so there is every chance that all three Pontefract teams will be in Nottingham, all with prospects of ultimate success.

International squash has returned to Egypt after troubled times in the holiday resort of El Gouna.

Pontefract’s James Willstrop, the world number one, is seeded one and will be hoping to sustain his outstanding record of recent times. He has reached six consecutive finals at the highest world levels with victories in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Delhi and Virginia and runners up positions in New York and London.

He has begun well with a 3-1 first round win over the dangerous Swiss champion Nicolas Mueller.

He will now play, not for the first time in recent events, clubmate and practice partner Saurav Ghosal who came from 2-0 down to beat England’s Robbie Temple.

If he meets seeding predictions Willstrop will face holder Karim Darwish (Egypt) in the semi final.

Pontefract’s international reputation is well known and visitors from India and the Ukraine are expected shortly while Jackie Hawkes, the New Zealand international, will be training at Pontefract this week.

The third team will play the last Pontefract Yorkshire League match of the season tomorrow (Friday) against Queen’s (Halifax).

Wakefield Wildcats will be the latest Super League team to enjoy a morning’s squash as a break from thier normal routine when they are at the club next Monday. Wildcats coach Richard Agar is a keen squash supporter.

A night was held at Pontefract Squash Club for Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham, the famous middleweight boxer, rated by many to be the best fighter not to have won a world crown, when he entertained an audience of 70, many from London where he now lives.

Broadcaster and sports commentator John Helm was master of ceremonies and he conducted a question and answer session with the Graham.

The evening promoted Graham’s book Bomber and also raised a considerable sum for charity.