Hemsworth squash ace Smith repeats Euro gold success

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SQUASH ace Katie Smith has been on the gold run again after helping England U19s to gold at the European Junior Team Championships in Switzerland.

The Hemsworth squash sensation bagged gold while representing England U17s at last year’s championships, held in Prague, and repeated the feat at the higher level, despite being one of the youngest players at U19 level.

The 17-year-old made the step-up to the U19s for the first time in the Swiss city of Lucerne but didn’t look out of place.

She was part of a five-strong England U19s team that made the ten-day trip to the continent.

It started with the Swiss Open, which was run separately and before the European Team Championships, and the Hemsworth Community College pupil achieved a creditable top-ten finish in the U19 section.

She beat Swiss number one Milena Pnkov in her opening game 3-0 before suffering a close-fought defeat against Belgium U19 number one Nele Gillis and a 3-1 loss against highly-rated Dutch number one Ilona Lagerweig.

Smith finished with a flourish to secure her top-ten place, beating England’s Chloe Pearson 3-1 and Finland U19 number one Imilia Soini.

The Hemsworth ace stayed on for the team event, run after the individual tournament, along with her England U19 teammates at Lucerne’s Pilatus Sports Club.

England faced challenges against Norway, Scotland, Israel, Germany and Spain before beating Belgium 3-0 in the final to win gold.

Smith was involved in the games against Norway, Israel and Spain and helped England to convincing 3-0 victories in each one.

She played alongside England U19 number one Emily Whitlock and three of the top boys at U19 level in the country.

There was no resting on her success abroad as she returned to English shores to represent Yorkshire Senior Ladies at the Inter-County Finals in Nottingham just days later.

The Pontefract Squash Club member usually plays at number four or five at senior county level but, with the usual top three players missing for the White Rose county, Smith was promoted to play at number two.

It was a daunting prospect, with Yorkshire not favoured ahead of the tournament.

But Smith rose to the occasion and beat her Surrey-based opponent 3-0 in the quarter-final before seeing off an opponent from Northumberland 3-2 in the semi-final.

It helped Yorkshire to the final, but Warwickshire proved too strong and ran out 5-0 winners.

But Smith, and an understrength Yorkshire team, gave a good account of themselves to finish as runners-up.

Smith is in action in the Pontefract Squash Club Championships this week.

See this week’s Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for all the latest sports news from around the area.