PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s James Willstrop has been chosen for England for the World Team Championships in Paderborn, Germany, at the end of this month.
It will be Willstrop’s fourth championship in this biennial event which was first played in 2003. He has been in a winning England team twice when they beat Egypt in the final in 2005 and Australia in 2007.
The 2011 team will be led by world number one Nick Matthew from Sheffield, with two Essex players Peter Barker (world number seven) and Daryl Selby (world number 12) making up a powerful side.
Egypt will be marginal favourites with world number two Ramy Ashour at one, supported by Karim Darwish, Amr Shabana and Mohammed El Shorbagy, but England have been strong in team events in recent times and should the anticipated final between England and Egypt materialise, it should be a match to remember.
Willstrop already has 80 caps to his name and is well on the way to becoming the most capped English player of all time.
He plays the Australian Open in Canberra this week. His first round opponent is Englishman Chris Ryder.
Willstrop’s clubmate Saurav Ghosal has a tough first round match against experienced Australian Stewart Boswell who is Manchester based.
As the new season gathers pace the draw for the Rowe British Grand Prix in mid September at Manchester Sports City has been made and with all the world’s top players in action, squash fans are in for a treat.
Wilstrop faces a prospective quarter final with the great Amr Shabana, four times world champion, who has relocated from Cairo to New York.
Through the years their matches have rarely failed to live up to expectations, partly due to the mutual respect they have for each other.
Saurav Ghosal, who is more than capable of troubling the world’s best, has another tough first round draw, this time against Gregory Gaultier, the Malaysian Open champion.
Ramy Ashour beat Willstrop in last year’s final and he is seeded two to meet Matthew in the final this time.
The Ukranian national team will be in Pontefract soon as part of their preparation for the forthcoming World Team Championships.
Warrington Wolves rugby league team will be paying their third visit to Pontefract for a morning’s squash towards the end of the month.
After losing to Wigan in the Challenge Cup semi-finals, Warrington’s focus is on winning the Grand Final under their coach and squash enthusiast Tony Smith.