Rising Bury squash star, Finnlay Withington, says the experience of playing against some of the sports top players in Manchester last week can only aid his development.

The 20-year-old was handed a wildcard in the Manchester Open, played at the National Squash Centre at the Etihad Campus.

And while he was knocked out in Round One, losing 11-2, 3-11, 11-1, 11-5 to compatriot George Parker, Withington loved being back on home turf again.

He told Bury Times: “It is really nice to play in Manchester as most of the tournaments I play in are in other countries

“It is nice to have people in the crowd supporting me.

“When I play better players I look back after the match and think about it.

“It makes me want to train harder to get closer if not beat these top players.

“I am finished for the season but there are some big events in September on the world tour I am looking to get into.

“I am still young but I want to get as high as I can, as quick as I can.

“I think it is progressing as a bigger sport and going into the Olympics can only help.”

You could say the sport is in the blood for Withington.

His grandad ran the squash at Fairways Lodge, under it’s former guise as The Village, and dad also played the sport.

And once Withington took hold of a racquet aged just three, there was only one sport for him.

He explained: “Both my grandads were at Fairways Lodge, which was The Village, Prestwich back then.

“One was a manager, and one ran the squash there and that is how mum and dad met.

“Grandad and dad both played and I picked it up from them.

“I was told I was three when I started, but I expect that was just me running around the court messing around!

“Grandad is my biggest supporter - he loves it and always wants to come and watch me play.

“He is in Whitefield and always rings up asking how it’s going. Which is really nice.

“As a youngster, I travelled all over the country for tournaments. I was quite lucky as there were three or four clubs in Manchester I used to go to with friends who still play a bit now.”

As he developed, Withington enjoyed success at junior level and now hops to build on that as he grows in the professional game, naturally with the Los Angeles Olympics, in four years’ time, firmly in his thoughts.

He added: “I feel it is going well.

“I had a good junior career - I was top three in most age groups and kicked on a little bit at under-19s.

“I got to the final of the world juniors and won a British Open.

“That was when I realised I was going to be quite good and it gave me a big boost turning professional.

“Now it is all about working hard and improving all the time.”