Willstrop plays key role in Euro triumph

editorial image

PONTEFRACT’S world number one James Willstrop led England to victory in the European Squash Team Championships in Nuremburg, Germany.

England’s world-class team won all their five matches 5-0.

Willstrop (pictured) played in three group matches against Denmark and Holland.

Despite a recent taxing schedule. he brushed aside world number nine Laurens Jan Anjema (the Dutch number one) 3-0.

In the semi-finals, Willstrop was rested as England beat Scotland with ease but he returned for the final against main challengers France, who were led by world number three Gregory Gaultier.

Essex’s Daryl Selby gave England a 1-0 lead and Willstrop made it 2-0 by emphatically beating Gaultier 11-3,8-11,11-6, 11-1.

Peter Barker made it 3-0 and the second string match between Sheffield’s world champion Nick Matthew and former world number one Thierry Lincou went unplayed.

England’s women’s team, led by Yorkshire’s Jenny Duncalf, made it an England double, beating Ireland 2-1 in the final.

India’s men’s and women’s teams, who had strong Pontefract connections, reached the finals of the Asian Team Championships, the first time ever for either team.

The women, led by Dipika Pallikal and Joshua Chinnappa, who is currently training at Pontefract, had a magnificent win in the final against Hong Kong, both beating higher ranked opponents. Pallikal beat the world number eight.

Disappointly, the men failed to make it an Indian double, losing to Pakistan. Saurav Ghosal and Siddarth Suchde, who are based at Pontefract, both lost 11-9 in the fifth, Ghosal having led 2-0.

Willstrop goes to London next week for the Allam British Open at the 02 Arena, seeded one.

Ghosal, Suchde, Pallikal and Chinnappa are all competing.

Before leaving for London, Willstrop will be doing a book signing at Waterstones, Leeds from noon on Saturday. His book ‘Shot and a Ghost’ is among the Amazon best sellers.

Megan Kaye, still only 13, won the Queens (Halifax) under 17 open, winning two five-set matches in the process. Eliot Ridge, 12, did well to finish fifth in a strong under 15 draw.

Seven year old Layla Johnson, playing in the under 11 girls, won two of her four matches, narrowly losing a third 15-13 in the fifth, confirming her promise.

In the National Club Championship quarterfinals Pontefract men’s team failed to join the women’s and under 19 mixed team in the finals, losing 3-2 to Cheshire team Bowden.

Taninder Gate Ara and Alex Hodghetts both won but Neil Cordell and Sam Wileman both lost and Adam Taylor went down 3-2.