Todd follows in Pontefract teammate Willstrop’s footsteps by winning second British junior title

Pontefract's Sam Todd pictured on his way to winning the British Open Under 15 Championship in Birmingham.
Pontefract's Sam Todd pictured on his way to winning the British Open Under 15 Championship in Birmingham.

PONTEFRACT squash star Sam Todd set his sights on breaking more records at the prestigious Dunlop British Junior Open after sweeping to the boys’ under-15 title in Birmingham today (Sunday).

Top-seeded Todd, son of Pontefract Squash Club owner Michael Todd, had to be at his clinical best to beat India’s Neel Joshi 8-11, 16-14, 11-0, 14-12 in an entertaining 37-minute final on the all-glass court at the University of Birmingham.

His calm and composed win meant he became only the second Englishman this century to win two British junior titles following his under-13 success in 2016.

And Todd follows James Willstrop into the record books after his Pontefract team-mate lifted the under-17 and under-19 titles in 2000 and 2002 respectively.

The 14-year-old said: “I am just so happy. I am now half way to winning all the age groups and I just want to carry on like James did.

“I had to vary the pace alot against Neel and reset the rally and it’s something I’ve been working on back at Pontefract.”

After losing the first, Lee Beachill, the former world No 1 and his coach on the day, put an arm around him and gave some sound advice.

Todd admitted: “Lee told me to relax after the first and let the nerves go. He told me to enjoy it and I did.”

Todd then held his nerve to edge a tight tie-break in the second and never lost his head in a controlled performance.

“I enjoyed the atmosphere and it’s great for the game that there are all these nations now competing for the title,” he added.

Todd’s brilliant victory was one of two for England on finals day at one of the most prestigious tournaments in junior squash, following Jonah Bryant’s win in the under-13 event.

The last time two Englishmen won titles on the same day came in 1995.

Sunday also capped a fine start to the year for Todd after he became the youngest ever British player to sign a financial sponsorship package with Dunlop. The Ackworth School student hopes to turn professional later this year.

Todd, one of 620 juniors who were competing in Birmingham, will now step up to the under-17 age category at next year’s Dunlop British Junior Open, which will be held in Birmingham for the next two editions. Next year will mark the 40th year of the long-running tournament.