PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s Eliot Ridge was in outstanding form at the Nottingham Under 13 Open.
Seeded 5/8 Ridge beat Nick Wall (Yorkshire) 3-0 in the quarterfinals before losing to top seed and eventual winner Mark Mattimore (Northumbria) in the semi finals.
Ridge then went on to win the third place play off, beating Alec Engstrom, whom he had never previously defeated, 3-1.
Pontefract’s international reputation is reflected in the number of past Pontefract players now coaching at the highest levels all round the world.
David Campion, James Willstrop’s brother, is England national coach, Kirsty McPhee, who works for Leeds Met in the rackets sports division, is an elite coach for England squash and Andrew Cross has charge of Malaysia’s best juniors. In addition, Paul Hornsby was recently appointed New Zealand national coach and Neil Guirey has become head coach at the historically famous Abbeydale Park Club, Sheffield.
Further international significance is the players who come to train at Pontefract.
In recent times there have been players from India, Australia, South Africa, Holland, Austria and the Ukraine, all of international standard.
Due to arrive are more players from the Ukraine, Switzerland and Japan.
Pontefract’s influence on the world game is also plain to see with former world number one Lee Beachill’s role as chief operating officer for PSA, the professional players official body, and James Willstrop’s presidency of PSA, representing the opinions of the players.
Pontefract women’s team, newly crowned National Club champions for the eleventh time, will go to Prague for the European Club Championships from September 6 to 8.
James Willstrop (pictured) is in Colorado for altitude training in preparation for a season where his objective will be to retain his number one world ranking, having been at one for five months in 2012. On his return he will head for Poland and Jersey for exhibition matches.
Two of Pontefract’s promising girl players Jessica Beachill and Eve Perrin are not just talented squash players.
Beachill recently competed for England at the Royal Windsor Horse Show and 11-year-old Perrin has been selected for Yorkshire under 13 girls cricket team to play Lancashire at the end of the month.