Yorkshire Squash League: Leaders Pontefract looking over their shoulder as rivals creep up

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Pontefract still lead the Yorkshire Premier Squash League despite not playing this week, but their nearest challengers all won to intensify the pressure at the top.

Leeds club Chapel Allerton remain in second place on 142 points, now just six points behind the leaders, after Tuesday night’s 4-1 home win over Queen’s Club of Halifax.

Club stalwart Dom Hamilton and former world No 3 Simon Parke got the hosts off to a blistering start with rapid wins.

Although Connor Sheen reduced the arrears for Queen’s by beating British Under-19 finalist Stuart McGregor in straight games, wins for Welshman Owain Taylor and world No 130 Mark Fuller at second and first string completed the home side’s victory. Fuller’s 3-1 win over European junior champion Patrick Rooney was the night’s most entertaining duel by some distance.

York club Dunnington stay third on 129 points, and with a game in hand on the top two they are in the running to regain the title they won in 2015, especially after handing struggling Hull & East Riding their sixth defeat of the season.

Although Dunnington’s No 1 Julian Tomlinson lost to 18-year-old Harry Falconer, it was otherwise plain sailing for the hosts as Gareth Lumsden, Michael Andrews, Andy Cross and Ed Shannon all cruised to 3-0 victories.

Neither Hallamshire nor Barnsley, who sit in joint-fourth on 101 points, can be discounted for the title just yet, though.

Hallamshire took care of Pontefract 2nds 4-1 with world No 116 Ashley Davies, Nick Wall, Alex Cutts and Jo Alcock all winning comfortably for the Sheffield outfit. The visitors’ consolation came courtesy of 15-year-old Ben Sockett – yet another top-class junior from legendary coach Malcolm Willstrop’s Pontefract production line.

Abbeydale 1sts remain second-bottom after their seventh defeat in eight games, although their 3-2 home defeat by Barnsley did at least go down to the wire.

It had started so well for the Sheffield club with Luke McFarland and Murray Scott winning at fourth and fifth string, but further up the order the visitors took control. Chris Fuller and Miles Jenkins pulled it back to 2-2 for last year’s winners Barnsley, and British under-23 National champion Declan James completed the comeback with a 3-0 triumph over Adam Murrills.

There was no match this week for Abbeydale 2nds who remain bottom, with the gap between them and their stablemates now an ominous 18 points.

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