Pontefract star Todd starts season in style

Pontefract Squash Club's Sam Todd won the Northumbrian Under 15 Open, beating fellow England junior international Max Forster 3-0 in the final.
Pontefract Squash Club's Sam Todd won the Northumbrian Under 15 Open, beating fellow England junior international Max Forster 3-0 in the final.

Sam Todd, Pontefract Squash Club’s world class 13-year-old player, began his season in style by winning the Northumbrian Under 15 Open.

In the final, Todd gave a masterful performance to beat fellow England junior international Max Forster 3-0.

Todd’s focus in the first half of the season will be on the British and US Junior Opens and in the New Year on the European Championships.

Pontefract’s James Willstrop lost 3-1 to Australian Ryan Cuskelly in the quarterfinals of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open.

Cuskelly came out on top 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 after 74 minutes to avenge his first round defeat against Willstrop in the same tournament last year.

Willstrop, returning to competitive action, will be happy enough with his form in Hong Kong.

He beat fellow England international Tom Richards 3-1 in the first round and world number ten Tarek Momen (Egypt) in convincing fashion 3-1 in the second round to reach the quarter finals.

Although Willstrop then lost to Cuskelly, he had looked the likely winner for much of the match.

The Cathay Pacific Open is the first World Series Championship of the new season and because of that only a few players, men and women, have had the benefit of match play.

The world doubles tournament in Darwin, Australia, and the world junior championships in Poland were the two recent significant events and players from those tournaments performed noticeably well in Hong Kong.

Remarkably, the new world junior champion Nouran Gohar (Egypt) won the women’s event, beating ten times champion Nicol David (Malaysia) 3-1, world number two Laura Masssaro (England) 3-2 and talented Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1 in the final

In the men’s championship only one of the top eight seeds.Karim Gawad (Egypt), reached the quarter finals.

World number one Mohammed El Shorbagy (Egypt) and world number two Gregory Gaultier (France) both lost in the second round.

The winner was the world’s best player Ramy Ashour whose last two years have been plagued by injury.

Having beaten Saurav Ghosal in three tight games in the first round he survived a five set second round match against Marwan El Shorbagy (Egypt) and went on to beat Gawad in the final 3-2.

Pontefract star Willstrop resumes his acting career on September 14 at the Ilkley Theatre when he plays Philip Lombard in ‘And Then There Were None’ - one of Agatha Christie’s most famous mystery novels.

Willstrop’s next squash tournament will be the Netsuite Open in San Francisco at the end of September, immediately followed by the US Open in Philadelphia.

Pontefract Squash Club is preparing to host the European Team Championships from September 14 to 17.

It will bring world class men and women players to the Stuart Road club.