Willstrop’s displays in United States confirm his return to form

James Willstrop Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com
James Willstrop Picture: Steve Line/SquashPics.com

PONTEFRACT squash star James Willstrop’s remarkable run in the United States ended when he was beaten by world number one Mohammed El Shorbagy in the US Open semi-finals.

Having lost two well contested games to the Egyptian, Willstrop narrowly failed to take the match into a fourth game, losing the third 13-11.

Having previously reached the final of the Netsuite Open in San Francisco, Willstrop’s achievements at the US Open in Philadelphia confirmed his return to top world class form after a hip operation and a long running virus problem.

During the two tournaments, he beat world number three Omar Mosaad 3-0, South American number one Miguel Rodriguez 3-0, South African number one Steve Coppinger 3-1 and Germany’s best ever player Simon Rosner 3-2.

Willstrop goes to Egypt for the World Championships at the end of the month and then in November to Qatar for the Qatar Classic, a championship he won early in his career.

The British Junior Championships are in Manchester in a fortnight’s time and the strength of Pontefract’s junior players is illustrated by the fact that eight are seeded.

Sam Todd is seeded number one at under 15, Ben Beachill number two at under 13, Asia Harris 3/4 at under 13, Ben Sockett 5/8 at under 17 and Amber Copley 5/8 under 15, as well as 9/16’s Elliot Ridge, Grace Clark and Laura Longfield.

A Pontefract junior team played Leinster and proved too strong for their Irish opponents. Sam Todd led the team with Millen Randell and there were good performances from two less experienced Pontefract players Michael Hillary and Oliver Foster.

Pontefract’sYorkshire League Premier first team beat Hallamshire 5-0 and they go to Barnsley this week. The second Premier team lost 3-2 to Queen’s, Halifax, despite wins from Ben Sockett and Matt Godson.

The experienced 3rds have won their first three matches 5-0 and they play Chapel Allerton 3rds when Misaki Kobayashi, the Japanese number one, will make her Ponte debut.