Pontefract are national champions for record 11th time

PONTEFRACT Squash Club's highly successful women's team (left to right) Orla Noom, Deon Saffery, Sarah Bowles, Kirsty McPhee and Katie Smith.
PONTEFRACT Squash Club's highly successful women's team (left to right) Orla Noom, Deon Saffery, Sarah Bowles, Kirsty McPhee and Katie Smith.

PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s all international women’s team, under the guidance of Terry Dudley and Kirsty McPhee, won the National Clubs Team Championship for a record 11th time in Nottingham.

They willl now head for Prague later this year for the European Club Championships.

In the semi finals they easily disposed of London club Colet’s 5-0, although the top two string matches were well contested and of high quality.

Dominic Lloyd-Walter (Colet’s), who recently retired from the world tour, played as well as ever to extend Pontefract’s Deon Saffery, the Welsh number one who won in the fifth, having been well in control early in the match.

Lloyd-Walter recovered from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 before Saffery reasserted.

Orla Noom, the Dutch international, who has had injury problems, was well tested by young Alison Thompson who played with great spirit, chasing every ball down, before losing 3-1.

Pontefract’s McPhee, Sarah Bowles and Katie Smith all won easily.

In the final, Pontefract faced Cotton’s and Monument, another London team, but won even more easily than in the semi final, with only Bowles dropping a game.

The Pontefract team is quality and will take all the beating in Prague.

Pontefract’s under 19 mixed team was also biddiing for a record 11th success but they lost 4-1 to eventual winners Redbridge in the semi finals. Hannah Shipley recorded Pontefract’s only win.

Jack Cooper went close to making it 3-2 when he lost narrowly in the fifth. From 2-0 down, Cooper recovered well and playing disciplined, ordered squash he levelled the match at 2-2.

He was 7-3 down in the fifth but fought back again before just losing to a talented opponent, two years his senior.

In the 3/4 play-off Pontefract beat Berkhamsted 4-1 with wins from Cooper, Shipley, Tom Bamford and Megan Kaye.

With the host of junior talent at Pontefract it will not be long before the under 19 mixed team adds to its 10 wins.

James Willstrop, having played in the Paderborn (Germany) and Florence (Italy) teams which had already won their National Club championships was bidding for an unprecedented treble when he represented Mulhouse in the French League finals against Marseille.

It looked massive odds on when Mulhouse took a 2-0 lead in the four string match, with Willstrop beating former world number one Thierry Lincou 3-0.

But Marseille won the other two matches with Finnish European champion Ollie Tuominen beating England’s Daryl Selby 3-1 in the crucial match.

The championship was then decided on points since the game score was level and it was Marseille who won by the narrowest of margins.

Mulhouse had been deprived at the last minute of the services of Pontefract’s Saurav Ghosal who had injured a hand in a freak accident. It is almost certain he would have made the difference.