PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s James Willstrop (pictured) and fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew are seeded to meet in the final of the British Championships at Manchester Sports City on Sunday.
The championships have been won by some of the world’s greatest ever players, including Jonah Barrington and Peter Nichol.
Pontefract’s Lee Beachill has a record second to none in the championship, having won it three times.
Willstrop is twice a winner and this year’s tournament is undoubtedly the strongest ever.
Willstrop and Matthew, having recently contested the final of the Tournament of Champions in New York, are ranked one and two in the world buttheir passage to the final will be not be easy.
World number seven Peter Barker and holder Daryl Selby, who beat world number four Karim Darwish in New York, will provide serious opposition.
They are likely to be the four semi-finalists on Saturday, with Willstrop scheduled to meet Barker and Selby to play Matthew.
The women’s championship is almost as strong with world number two Jenny Duncalf and Lancashire’s Laura Massaro, world number three, probable finalists.
Pontefract play Oxford in the National League at home next Tuesday and look as if they will be able to turn out a strong side for a change.
Willstrop is a probable starter and Indian number two Siddarth Suchde makes his first appearance. Lee Beachill, Simon Parke and Vanessa Atkinson are all definites.
The club’s third team registered a convincing win over Chapel Allerton third team 4-1, with wins from James Fender, James Thompson, Chris Emerson and Tom Bamford.
The fourth team were on the verge of a 3-2 win over Malton when Craig Smith, leading 2-0 and within two points of victory, suffered an Achilles injury.
Smith was making a comeback after a long absence and had been impressing in practice.Youngsters Jack Cooper and Brad Gallivan provided the wins.
In the national under 19 mixed championship Pontefract, who have a record second to none in the competition, beat Northumbria Squash club 3-2 to progress to the next round.
Emerson,Cooper and Gallivan saw the team home after Pontefract’s two girls had lost.
The men’s National Club team play Brampton Manor tonight (Thursday) for a place in the quarter finals with a powerful side comprising Suchde, Neil Cordell, Alex Hodgetts, Sam Wileman and Adam Taylor.
Emma Beddoes, the England international, who has recently become part of Pontefract’s world class team, won the Meadowood Pharmacy Open in Winnipeg Canada, coming from 2-0 down against Danish number one Line Hansen to win 11-7 in the fifth.
The saddest aspect of the week at Pontefract was the funeral of one of the club’s most popular players Bev Bartram. Many Pontefract members attended the service and condolences go to Pat and Bev’s family.