Ten Pontefract Squash Club juniors have been accepted directly into the draw for the British Junior Open Championships which start in Sheffield on January 2 and attract about 500 players from all over the world.
Pontefract’s Sam Todd (under 13 boys) and Ellen Cooper (under 15 girls) have been seeded, Todd 3/4 and Cooper 9/16.
Todd’s seeding is remarkable because he is still only 11 and has another year in the age group.
To reach the semi final he faces strong foreign opposition with the 5/8 seed Marwan Reda (Egypt) his main opponent.
Elliot Ridge, just 15 in the under 17 draw, and Ben Sockett (under15) will also be looking to make an impact.
Other Pontefract players involved are Jack Cooper (under 19 boys), Harry Anderson (under 15 boys), Poppy Jaram (under 15 girls), Eve Perrin (under 15 girls), Amber Copley (under 13 girls) and Laura Longfield (under 13 Girls).
The absence of Jack Cooper, Tom Bamford and Peter Lonsdale from the Pontefract Yorkshire League Premier second team meant that Todd, at the age of 11, made his debut in the Premier League, the strongest league in the country, against Chapel Allerton.
Although he lost 3-0 he acquitted himself with credit in the defeat.
Pontefract’s national League side, strengthened by the inclusion of Indian number one Saurav Ghosal, went close to beating Nottingham.
Ghosal beat the Scottish number one Alan Clyne 3-1 and both Aqeel Rehman, the Austrian number one, making his debut for the club, and Simon Parke led 2-1 before losing 3-2 .
The last Yorkshire League match of the first half of the season is between Pontefract’s fourth team and Barnsley second team.
Pontefract’s line-up includes Todd, 11, Anderson, 13, Sockett, 13, and Min Jie the outstanding Malaysian 18 year old who is training at Pontefract.
Pontefract’s James Willstrop continues to make progress towards his goal of returning to action at New York’s Tournament of Champions in the middle of January, a tournament which he has previously won and at which he has played some outstanding matches.