Pontefract star gives England great start in final

Pontefract's James Willstrop gave England an excellent start by beating Matthieu Castagnet 3-2.
Pontefract's James Willstrop gave England an excellent start by beating Matthieu Castagnet 3-2.

England men’s and women’s squash teams retained their European Team Championships in Riccione, Italy.

The men beat France 4-0 in the final and the women also defeated France 2-1.

To reach the men’s final, England, with three world top ten players, beat Finland, Spain and Scotland all 4-0 to face a strong French team, led by current world number one Gregory Gaultier.

In the final, Pontefract’s James Willstrop gave England a great start by beating Matthieu Castagnet 3-2 and when Nick Matthew defeated Gaultier 3-1, England were almost out of reach.

Essex pair Peter Barker and Darly Selby completed the 4-0 win.

The world’s best players move next week to the KC Stadium in Hull for the Allam British Open ,the first round taking place on Monday.

Willstrop has a tough first round match against Simon Rosner, the German number one, but if seedings are borne out he will play Ramy Ashour (Egypt) in Friday’s quarter final.

Suarav Ghosal, who joins Indian teammate Joshana Chinappa in Pontefract this week to prepare, also has a difficult first round match against Selby.

The Britsh Open will have a rugby league following as Tony Smith (Warrington), Richard Agar (Wakefield) Rob Burrow (Leeds) and Andy Lynch (Castleford) are all expected to attend.

Pontefract juniors excelled at the Chapel Allerton Open.

Fourteen-year-old Elliott Ridge continued his successful ways by winning the under 17 boys.

Emma Campion, 15, won the under 17 girls and 11 year old Sam Todd won the under 15 boys.

Laura Longfield nearly made it four when losing 3-2 in the final of the under 13 girls and Millie o’Toole was runner-up in the under 11 girls.

Ridge heads for Prague this week to represent England at under 15 level in the European Junior Team Championships.

Malcolm Willstrop, Pontefract’s head coach, has been invited to speak at the world coaching conference next month in Krakow, Poland, a country which has seen much recent development in the game. Whilst there he will also coach Polish Juniors.