Pontefract star wins Cleethorpes title for tenth time

Pontefract's James Willstrop beat Daryl Selby in the final at Cleethorpes. Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com.
Pontefract's James Willstrop beat Daryl Selby in the final at Cleethorpes. Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com.

PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s James Willstrop won his tenth Cleethorpe’s invitation tournament title when the competition was held for the 20th time last weekend.

Four England internationals - Willstrop, Daryl Selby, Chris Simpson and Declan James - and Scottish number one Alan Clyne were all in the eight-strong field.

Willstrop began with a comfortable 3-0 win over George Parker to earn a semi final clash against James, his recent partner in the World Doubles Championships in Manchester when they won a bronze medal.

James, who had beaten last year’s Cleethorpe’s title winner Clyne in the first round, resisted strongly but Willstrop went 2-0 up, winning the second set on a tiebreak 12-10.

Willstrop went on to win the third set to book his place in the final.

Meanwhile, World Doubles silver medalist Selby became Willstrop’s final opponent with two 3-0 wins against Richie Fallows and Simpson, the latter returning from injury.

The final featured two of England’s outstanding internationals of the last decade, England having won the World Team Championships three times.

Both players began well, attacking readily and Willstrop took a 1-0 lead, winning the first game on tiebreak 12-10.

He won the second more easily 11-5 and looked well on course to victory.

Selby, though, has never given way easily and encouraged by an early 4-1 lead in the third, he took the game 11-7 to put himself back in contention.

Selby started well in the fourth and led again 4-1, winning that game also 11-7 to go level at 2-2.

He was more than happy at that stage after being 2-0 down.

But Willstrop doesn’t give way easily either and it was the Pontefract player who raced to a 5-0 lead in the fifth and deciding game.

Once again Selby fought back and amazingly led 7-6 before Willstrop re-asserted his authority with three winners to win the match and the title 11-8.

The final befitted the occasion and was the high quality match to be expected from the world number six and the world number 13.

Willstrop goes to Nottingham University this week for the European Individual Championships.

The championships are being held from today (Thursday) until Sunday.

He is seeded number two behind world number one and long-time rival Gregory Gaultier (France).

Willstrop is likely to face a strong challenge in the semi-finals from Spanish number one Borja Golan.

Camille Serme (France), a recent Pontefract visitor, is seeded number one in the Women’s Championship.

Selby travels to Shanghai next week for the China Open which will be held from Thursday, August 31, to Sunday September 3.