Hemsworth squash ace enjoys home comforts to win Pontefract title

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HEMSWORTH squash ace Katie Smith has followed her gold medal joy at the European Junior Team Championships in Switzerland with more success closer to home.

Smith helped the England U19s to gold in Lucerne last month and returned to her Pontefract Squash Club base to win the senior ladies section of their club championships.

It’s the second time the Hemsworth Arts and Community College student has taken the accolade after being the youngest person ever to win the senior ladies section at the age of 15.

The 17-year-old has been in top form on the court this year and it continued in the championships as she won all three games to take the title and see her name inscribed on the club’s honours board.

Attentions turned from playing against her Pontefract teammates to playing alongside them at the National Club Championships in Nottingham.

Smith competed for Pontefract in both the U19s mixed team and the senior ladies team at the event, held at Nottingham Squash Club.

Smith and her U19 teammates had little problems in taking the title thanks to a convincing 4-1 victory over Wimbledon in the final.

And, although not winning the senior ladies section, Pontefract left in high spirits after reaching the final and qualifying for the European Club Championships event in Belfast in September.

The Stuart Road club met highly-acclaimed European club champions Edgbaston in the final, and with Edgbaston’s place in this year’s European Club Championships already secured, it meant the runners-up also qualified for the tournament.

The Birmingham-based club ran out winners but the young Pontefract side could take plenty of positives from the competition.

They beat London-based Colets in the semi-final, with Smith winner her game comprehensively 3-0 to help book a place in the final.

She did it playing higher up the team order, at number three, than she usually does.

And Pontefract can expect to have a stronger side for the trip to Northern Ireland later this year, with Smith expected to regain her usual number five position with key members returning to the team.

Her superb form has also seen her called up for the World Junior Squash Championships in July.

Originally scheduled for Cairo in Egypt, the event will now take place at Harvard University in Boston, USA, between Wednesday, July 20 and Saturday, July 30.

It will be the first time the young squash ace has been involved in the World Championships and she’ll compete in the individual tournament in the first week before going on to represent England U19s as part of a team of four in the second week.

She’s part of a young squad who will also be eligible to enter at U19 level next year.

Smith will prepare for the up-coming tournaments by training with the best young English players and coaches at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall next week before a likely run-out in the Nottingham Junior Open.

Smith couldn’t enjoy her success without the help of her sponsors, Energy Services in Horbury, and the Ivy Care Home Group.

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