Pontefract-based Rooney wins second PSA title

Patrick Rooney.
Patrick Rooney.

Pontefract players were back on the winning trail when British Under 23 champion Patrick Rooney won the Stortford Classic to notch his second PSA title.

Seeded two, Rooney survived a tough five set match against Pakistan’s Shahjahan Khan in the quarter-finals before going on to beat Scottish international Rory Stewart 3-0 in the semis and the promising young Englishman Charlie Lee 3-0 in the final.

Rooney, who has been based at Pontefract for the past year, is one of England’s most talented young players, as is Lee, and has been in fine form recently.

He now goes to Riccione, Italy, with Lewis Doughty and Alex Hodgetts to play in the Italian League finals this weekend.

Even younger, Pontefract’s Layla Johnson, 13, won her first silver event in Newcastle.

She, like Rooney, came through a tough five set match in the quarter-finals against an older and physically stronger opponent, when her excellent technical abilities stood her in good stead.

Layla then beat Amelie Haworth (Isle of Wight) 3-1 in the final.

Meanwhile, James Willstrop’s competitive season may be at an end, but he remains busy as he arranges visits to schools to talk about his Commonwealth Games experiences.

He has already been to his old Ackworth School and is scheduled to visit Airedale Junior School and St Peter’s School, York.

This weekend James is the principal guest at North Walsham Squash Club’s 40th anniversary celebrations. This is the club in Norfolk where as a two-year-old he hit his first squash ball.

He will play an exhibition with England teammate Daryl Selby.

Since the invitation Willstrop won gold and Selby silver at the Commonwealth Games at Australia’s Gold Coast.

Add to that he is rehearsing for a major role in the play Death and the Maiden to be staged at the Harrogate Studio Theatre, June 26-30.

Leading Indian players were at Pontefract for training purposes last week. They included Joshana Chinappa, Commonwealth gold medallist in Glasgow 2014; Ramit Tandon, senior international; and Abhay Singh, their leading young player .

Tandon will return to train in July along with Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Sandhu.