Squash club’s top players rewarded for their efforts

The male junior player award was won jointly by cousins Sam Tood (pictured) and Elliot Ridge.
The male junior player award was won jointly by cousins Sam Tood (pictured) and Elliot Ridge.

Pontefract Squash Club’s annual presentation night saw players rewarded for their efforts and achievements for the club in 2014.

Of the nine individual award winners, seven have played internationally, six for England and one for India, which reflects the club’s playing standards.

The prestigious club person of the year award went to Peter Lonsdale, an age group international, who lives in Guisborough, North Yorkshire and has, for the best part of 20 years,travelled far and wide for Pontefract.

In the 2013-2014 season, he was a member of the Yorkshire League second team,which played the entire season unbeaten and won promotion to the Premier Division.

Peter’s team won the team award and Stuart Hargreaves accepted the trophy on behalf of the side.

Andrea Santamaria, an age group international, won the British Championship and Jack Cooper went the entire Premier League season unbeaten. They won the women’s and men’s player awards respectively.

The male junior player award was won jointly by cousins Elliot Ridge and Sam Todd.

Todd, 11, recently won the British Under 13 Junior Championship and Ridge became England Under 15 number one before moving up an age group. He capped his year by winning the Dutch Under 15 Junior Open, beating players from five different countries on the way.

The Cooper family made it a double when Jack’s sister Ellen won the junior girl award.

She recently reached the semi finals of the British Under 15 Championships, as well as representing England at under 15 level.

Improved awards went to Matt Godson and Laura Longfield and the professional player award went to Indian number one Saurav Ghosal, a long time Pontefract player who led his country to team success in the Asian Games for the first time, beating Malaysian number one Ong Ben Hee 3-2 in the crucial match in the final.

The presentation was preceded by a doubles evening with players drawn out a hat.

There were combinations of young and old and experienced and inexperienced, illustrative of the club’s strong family ethos.

New Zealander Ben Grindrod and Rob Jepson were the winners and the prizes were presented by Lee Beachill, former world number one and chief operating officer of the PSA, the professional players association.

Pontefract Juniors had a successful weekend.

Ridge won the Sheffield under 19 open, Harry Anderson the Sheffield under 17 open, Jordan Stewart won the Ilkeston Manor and Sheffield under 13 opens on successive days and Asia Harris won the Sheffield under 11 girls open.

Pontefract’s Yorkshire League first team are at home to Chapel Allerton this week and the second team team make the trip to Dunnington.