Pontefract will field stronger team at Birmingham

JACK Cooper won his match in Pontefract's 4-1 victory against Barnsley in the Yorkshire Premier League.
JACK Cooper won his match in Pontefract's 4-1 victory against Barnsley in the Yorkshire Premier League.

WITHOUT the club’s top three men players, AJP Pontefract were always going to struggle against a strong Duffield team in the National Squash League.

Duffield’s line-up included the world’s second-ranked woman player Laura Massaro who beat England international Sarah Kippax, making her Pontefract debut.

Pontefract lost 5-0, with Indian international Harinder Pal Sandhu going closest to a win. He was beaten 3-2 by former world universities champion Joel Hinds, having for a long time looked the likely winner.

Pontefract’s next National League fixture is at Birmingham on Tuesday when the visitors will be able to field a much stronger side.

Pal Sandhu led Pontefract’s Yorkshire Premier League team to a 4-1 win over Barnsley, beating the experienced Andy Whipp 3-2.

Sam Wileman, Taminder Gata-Aura and Jack Cooper were the other winners. Pontefract play Dunnington this week at home.

BBC Radio Leeds, led by presenter Adam Pope, broadcast an entire programme from the club last Wednesday, interviewing Vanessa Atkinson, Mick Todd, Sam Todd and Layla and Masuma Johnson.

One of the purposes was to see why Pontefract has produced two world number ones out of the 17 that have existed.

The radio team were put through their paces last week in preparation for the broadcast and can vouch for the fact that hard work is the main reason for Pontefract’s success.

James Willstrop’s heavy recent schedule and troublesome draws finally caught up with him in San Francisco. He beat Scottish number one Alan Clyne 3-0 but was beaten in the quarter finals by legendary Egyptian Amr Shabana, the best player in the world in recent times.

Shabana has been in excellent form of late and he was always controlling matters in three tight games, even though Willstrop led 7-2 in the second.

Willstrop’s next PSA event is the Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Open, which he won last year, followed closely by the World Open in Qatar, for which he is seeded one.

The draw in Qatar has been much kinder to him this time and four main contenders, Nick Matthew, Shabana, Gregory Gaultier and Ramy Ashour, are all in the opposite half of the draw.

If the seedings go according to plan,Willstrop will play Karim Darwish (Egypt) for a place in the final.