Willstrop stays on top of the world

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PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s James Willstrop (pictured) has retained his world number one spot in this month’s list of the world rankings.

It means he has been the world’s leading player for seven of the eight months this year.

He first gained the position in Delhi in December, 2011, when he won the Punj Lloyd World Masters. He beat Gregory Gaultier (France) 3-1 in the final after a record hour-long first game.

He officially became world number one on January 1 this year, only to be replaced by fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew the following month.

Another major success in the North American Open restored Willstrop to number one, a position he has held ever since.

It seems almost certain that he will stay at number one for the next two months at least.

He has been busy promoting the game in a variety of places including Poland, Jersey and the North East of England, as well as opening the exceptional new facility at the recent World Masters in Birmingham in an exhibition match with Pontefract teammate Saurav Ghosal.

Willstrop’s book ‘Shot and a Ghost’ continues to attract widespread approval from the press and in the Sunday Express it was described as the sporting read of the year.

Willstrop has remained in training in what for him is the close season and will begin his world tour 2012-2013 at the British Grand Prix in Manchester in September. Before that he will play the Cleethorpes Invitation, a tournament he has supported for many years, being five times a winner and the holder.

At the end of August he will play a series of exhibitions in London and in Kent, one in the evening of the RL Challenge Cup final which he will attend as a guest of Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith who has strong associations with Pontefract Squash Club, being a keen player himself.

This Saturday is the club’s belated annual dinner which will make awards to those who have served the club well in the year gone by.