Pontefract host prestigious championships

England international Chris Simpson will play for Pontefract in the National League next season.
England international Chris Simpson will play for Pontefract in the National League next season.

The prestigious European Club Team Championships take place at Pontefract Squash Club next week.

Club champions from European countries will compete for the title when the tournnmanent gets underway on Wednesday.

As host club, Pontefract will field men’s and women’s teams, both of whom should give good accounts of themselves.

Staging the championships, which will be run by Pontefract’s expert tournament director Terry Dudley, is testimony to the status the club enjoys in the squash world.

On the domestic scene, the Tom Abbott Handicap, held in memory of one of the club’s most dedicated members, has reached the quarter final stage and sees a combination of youth and experience which seems sure to provide some entertaining matches.

Millen Howard, newly arrived from Chicago to combine his academic studies and squash training at Ackworth School, will play close friend and British and United States under 13 champion Sam Todd.

Senior England international Andrea Santamaria will play Shaun Smith or James Vause and Stuart Hargreaves faces Giles Choyce who was thrilled to make the quarter finals.

Ben Beachill and Layla Johnson, two promising juniors both with England junior international aspirations, contest the fourth match.

The Yorkshire League season begins at the end of this month, with Pontefract fielding five teams for the first time.

They will have two Premier League teams, one in the First Division and two in the Second Division.

The first Premier League side will be strengthened by Evan Williams, the New Zealand international, the Japanese number one woman player Misaki Kobayashi and the return from studying in America of Neil Cordell.

The National League season starts in October and Pontefract will have its strongest team ever. New signings include world number two Laura Massaro, who has just won the China Open in Shanghai, and England international Chris Simpson.Their availability means that Pontefract should be title contenders.