A WAKEFIELD squash star is aiming to power up the rankings after getting his first taste of action on the continent
Sam Mawson, of Wakefeld Squash Club, has already enjoyed domestic success at under-19 level but took his talents to Holland to compete in the Dutch Junior Squash Open in Amsterdam.
It was the 19-year-old’s competitive debut outside of the United Kingdom and although the luck of the draw didn’t fall in his favour, the squash sensation can take plenty of positives from the trip.
He had to come through a qualifying match to compete and did so with flying colours.
But the draw pitted him against the number six seed in the next round and he bowed out despite a battling effort on the court.
“It was a good trip, I finished 44th out of 80 so I’m pleased with that,” he said.
“It was my first time competing in Europe. I’m used to seeing all the familiar faces in competitions domestically but there I saw all the top young players from places such as Egypt and Canada.
“It was a great experience, not only in playing but in the trip over there.”
Mawson, who lives in St Johns, works at JJB Sports at Albion Retail Park, and also has the full support of his current employers.
The company has provided equipment for the former Outwood Grange pupil and will continue to support him as he aims to climb up the rankings.
He was ranked number 52 in England as an U19 going into the Dutch Junior Open but has already moved up to 43rd.
And he’s looking to break into the top 30 by Christmas as he targets success in more competitions at home and abroad.
“There’s a delay in how the rankings change so I could be even higher than that now,” he explained.
“That ranking takes into account some more competitions over here but it doesn’t include my involvement in Holland yet.
“Given that not as many English players go over there it might mean I get another boost up the rankings.
“It’s my aim to get in the top 30 by the end of the year and I’m confident that I can achieve that.”
Mawson will look towards the North East Championships, to be held at Pontefract Squash Club, and the Yorkshire Closed and British Closed competitions to help continue his rise in the sport this year.
He’s also expecting to travel overseas again to compete in the Belgian Junior Open later this year to get another taste of competition on the continent.
Previous successes include becoming junior squash champion for Wakefield and Huddersfield for the last two years.
He also became men’s squash champion for Wakefield this year, proving he can mix his success at both junior and senior level.
It’s a big year for the St John’s quash star both on and off the court.
He’s taking up a Sports Development course at university in York next month and is joining Wiggington Squash Club in York.
He’ll still train and compete for Wakefield Squash Club, based at College Grove sports complex in Eastmoor, when he can.
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.