Pontefract denied first win of season

Ten-year-old Sam Todd won the Carlisle Under 15 Open.
Ten-year-old Sam Todd won the Carlisle Under 15 Open.

AJP Pontefract Squash Club’s National League side went close to achieving their first win of the season in a 3-2 defeat against Birmingham.

Columbian Miguel Rodriguez, South America’s best ever and highest ranked player, and England international Sarah Kippax gave Pontefract their two wins.

Pontefract’s New Zealander Chris van der Salm lost 3-2 to Welsh international Joel Makin.

The outcome hinged on James Willstrop’s match with Chris Ryder but the exertions of his World Championship and the birth of his first child proved a bridge too far for the Pontefract player who lost a tough contest 3-1.

Pontefract’s next National League fixture is in London at the Coolhurst Club on Tuesday.

Pontefract’s Yorkshire League Premier side stayed in contention with a 3-2 win over Dunnington.

Van der Salm, Taminder Gata-Aura and Jack Cooper provided Pontefract’s wins.

They play main rivals for the leadership Hallamshire at home this week.

Pontefract 2nd team made it seven wins out of seven by beating Doncaster first team 5-0.

The team has 17 year old Tom Bamford at number one. The rest of the side are the experienced and long- serving quartet of Peter Lonsdale, Simon Gittins, Stuart Hargreaves and Mark Swift. They have all retained their form and enthusiasm to compete at a high level.

They take on Pontefract’s 3rd team this week.

The club’s remarkable 10 year old Sam Todd - an England under 13 international at the age of nine, England under 11 champion and runner up in the recent British Under 13 Championships - showed his class by winning the Carlisle Under 15 Open Championship.

Todd, who was giving up to four years in age to his opponents, underlined that he is the best English prospect for many years.

It will be interesting to see him in action against the world’s best in the British Junior Open at Abbeydale Park, Sheffield, next January.

James Willstrop won his first match in the Qatar Classic in Doha with a 3-0 win over Abdullah al Tamini, the local wildcard.

He plays fellow England international Daryl Selby in the second round.

Pontefract’s Saurav Ghosal plays legendary Egyptian Amr Shabana in the first round.