Willstrop makes first appearance of season for Pontefract

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PONTEFRACT Courtcraft visit Nottingham this week for a National Squash League match with a team close to the strongest it could turn out.

Indian pair Sauav Ghosal and Siddarth Suchde are unavailable because they are playing their National Championships in Chennai but world number two James Willstrop (pictured) makes his first appearance of the season.

With Lee Beachill, Simon Parke and Vanessa Atkinson also playing for Pontefract, the match looks evenly balanced.

Willstrop, who is joint leader in the World Series rankings, will then head for Delhi and the Punj Lloyd Masters with the world number one spot within his sights.

Atkinson, after her well received performance as presenter in the recent World Championships in Rotterdam, will be presenting in Delhi, which is the last PSA tournament of 2011.

The world’s leading players will soon be back in action though when they visit Queen’s Club, London, on January 4 for the World Series which features the top eight players in the world based on Super Series events in 2011.

This week the Pontefract first Premier League side take on the Premier League second team which will provide plenty of local interest, especially as the two teams are split on ability.

A young fourth Yorkshire League team did well to beat Wakefield 3-2, with wins from British under 15 champion Jack Cooper at one, Matthew Haigh and Thomas Howell.

Other young players making their mark include Lewis Southward who, having lost in the final of the under 13 North of England championship, scored his first tournament win in the Carlisle under 13 open beating another Yorkshireman Ross Singleton 3-1 in the final the following weekend.

Eliot Ridge continues to impress and he won his first match in the Leeds Senior Metro league, adding to Sam Todd’s previous win in the same league.

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane showed much promise on the squash court on his visit to Pontefract with Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith.

Keane was quickly spotted having lunch in Pontefract where the staff could not resist asking him for autographs and posed pictures. He good naturedly obliged, his main complaint about his visit being that he was so stiff after his squash exertions he could hardly walk the next day.