North Yorkshire's world class squash player 18-year-old Jenny Duncalf is turning professional next year.

The starlet made her announcement after reaching the final of the British Under-19 Open Championship at Sheffield - widely regarded as the Wimbledon of junior squash - where she made hot favourite Omneya El Kawy go into overdrive for victory. Duncalf's Egyptian rival is already competing worldwide and is 28th in the senior women's rankings.

Duncalf, studying for her A-levels at Harrogate Grammar School, is already finding it difficult to fit in enough junior tournaments, let alone compete at senior level.

Duncalf, who went down 9-4, 9-2, 6-9, 9-4 in 48 minutes to her quicksilver rival tended to open up the court too much in the initial stages, allowing her hungry opponent too much room. This partly led to her picking up only six points in her opening encounters.

But Duncalf, who plays at Harrogate Squash Club, proved that her rival was not invincible, taking the third game to six and then building a 3-0 lead in the fourth with a gritty fightback.

Afterwards her stepfather and coach David Pearson, who is the Squash Rackets Association top coach, commented: "I think she did as well as could be expected. But she reached the final without dropping a game and that is the first time she has done that at this level. I don't think she was nervous in the opening stages, but was tending to play junior squash.

"As the match went on she was learning and later was hitting the ball much straighter and not opening up the court for her rival," said Pearson.

Later Duncalf said that newly-appointed England junior team boss David Campion from Halifax, who works alongside Pearson for the SRA, was also involved in her coaching now.

Campion said of Duncalf's match: "It was a tremendous achievement for Jenny to reach the final without dropping a game in a world class event. She really got there in style. But in the final she played someone who is 28 in the world and who reached the last 16 of the senior British Open."

Duncalf, who has struck gold in the Commonwealth Youth Games and has rattled off six British Closed championship successes, said she would be turning professional once her A-levels had been completed next year.

She admitted it was sometimes difficult fitting in what has been a steady and sustained climb up the squash ladder with her preparation for examinations. "But I think my squash affects my A-levels rather than my A-levels affecting my squash.

"When I turn professional next year I want to see how things go and if they don't go well I can always apply for a place at university," she said.