Willstrop prepares to take on world’s best

James Willstrop in action against Nick Matthew.
James Willstrop in action against Nick Matthew.
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The World Squash Championships at Manchester Sports City and Manchester Central bring together the world’s best players,led by Ramy Ashour, the Egyptian superstar, who is on an impressive run of over 30 matches unbeaten.

Pontefract’s James Willstrop, the World no.3, is in the opposite half of the draw to Ashour and is seeded to meet Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the semi-final.

He has the prospect of a difficult quarter-final against Mohammed El Shorbagy, the World no 5, but with the strength and depth at world levels these days, matches have to be taken seriously from the very first round.

Willstrop was a finalist in Saudi Arabia in 2011 and a semi-finalist in Qatar in 2012 and will relish the opportunity of playing close to home this time.

The qualifying competition will be played on October 26 and 27 October at Sports City before everything moves to Manchester Central for the quarter-finals onwards.

Willstrop and Sheffield’s Nick Matthew were part of the England team which won the World Team title in France earlier this year and it would be fitting if either of them could win the World Individual championship in England.

Pontefract’s Premier Yorkshire League side will be looking to make it three out of three when they take on Abbeydale Park, Sheffield at home this week.

The Asian under 17 champion Kush Kumar will play his final match for the club before returning to Chennai, where he is based.

Last week they beat Wiggington 4-1 and this promising young team looks sure to challenge for the title.

AJP Pontefract begin their PSL season with an away fixture at Duffield. The probable team is: Willstrop, Saurav Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Lee Beachill and Sarah Kippax.