Essex celebrating County Cup successes

ESSEX junior teams were on fire again at the weekend securing two prestigious County Cup titles as well as a runners-up place cementing our position as one of the strongest counties in the country.

The Essex Under-13’s and Under-17’s were jubilant after downing strong rivals Yorkshire to lift their respective titles while our Under-15’s were only just edged out of first place by a powerful Kent team.

UNDER-13 REPORT BY DAVID HARRIS

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ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL: Zaid, Hattie, Brandon and Ruby celebrate their U-13 victory.

Essex was well represented when both our A and B teams qualified for the final back in February. They were pitted against teams from Kent and Yorkshire in what turned out to be a thrilling battle. Essex A emerging victorious by just two pointst from Yorkshire.

Essex B started their tournament against a strong looking Yorkshire side and it did not take long for Yorkshire to show their dominance over our B with 3-0 wins in the opening two matches. Yorkshire quickly followed this up with a further two 3-0 wins to take the match 4-0 and a maximum 16 points.

Essex A started their campaign against Kent. In the opening fixture Hattie Callen made a great start winning 3-0 whilst on court 2, Zaid Mushtaq battled bravely to a 3-1 win despite a shoulder injury which was causing obvious discomfort. Kent hit back with a 3-1 win over Ruby Hudson, but in what was probably the match of the day Brandon Higgins went down 2-3 to Tom Dean. Having been 2-0 down, Brandon battled back to take the match to a fifth game in which he lost 9-11. Virtually the entire crowd was gathered around this enthralling match. Essex 12 points Kent 7 points.

In the second round of matches, Kent took on Yorkshire, whilst Essex A faced Essex B.

The Kent v Yorkshire match finished 2-2 but on count back Yorkshire won 10-6. Yorkshire 14 points, Kent 6.

In the all Essex clash, Hattie Callen, Zaid Mushtaq and Brandon Higgins all proved too strong for Poppy Smee-Hotene, Max Chilver and Aidan Cahill respectively whilst Hannah Morley defeated Ruby Hudson. Essex A won 3-1. Essex A 14 points, Essex B 3 points.

These two results setup a 3rd round of matches which left Essex B facing Kent for 3 / 4 whilst Essex A faced Yorkshire for the U13 title.

In the 3 / 4 match, Kent proved too strong for Essex B winning 3-1 taking 14 points to Essex B’s 5 points.

In what turned out to be the final, Essex A made a fantastic start with Zaid Mushtaq playing at 1, winning the opening fixture 3-0. This was quickly followed by Hattie Callen powering to a 3-0 win. This left Essex A needing a single point from one of the remaining two matches to take the title.

Almost simultaneously Brandon Higgins and Ruby Hudson won their opening games to take 1-0 leads. This was enough to clinch the title for Essex A. To their credit, despite the disappointment of losing the tie, Yorkshire’s two players fought back to win both matches 3-1 but for Essex A the ESR U13 County Cup was theirs. Essex A 12 points, Yorkshire 6 points.

A great team effort directed by Coaches Lauren Selby and Chris Chitty, faultless organisation as always from Karen Selby and some over enthusiastic vocal support and clapping from the Chairman all made for a great day for Essex.

Final Table: Essex A 38 points, Yorkshire 36 points, Kent 27 points, Essex B 8 points.

UNDER-17 REPORT BY SYLVIA McCOY

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UNDER-17 CHAMPS, Laura, Paige, Harry and George

Essex received a warm Yorkshire welcome at the U17 County Cup final on Saturday.  The team consisted of Harry and Laura Burr (siblings from Epping squash club), Paige McCoy and George Rapley ( from The Connaught club) and Will Salmons, who played in the qualifying round.

Essex opened their account with a tremendous Yorkshire 3-1 win over Yorkshire.  Paige posted the first points on the board with an accomplished 3-0 win over Catherine Miller. George was next up and he performed brilliantly in a fierce battle which his opponent Jack Matthews narrowly edged  3-2.
Laura powered to a 2-0 lead against Beth Irwin-Jones but appeared to falter in the third game losing it 11-6. But she composed herself well and came back strongly to claim the match 3-1.
With the match still in the balance, Harry had everything to play for in the final match. Fortunately, his racket wizardry reached compelling heights as he overpowered Liam Bedford to claim a 3-0 victory.
Many thanks to Dave Clarke of Yorkshire squash for the warm hospitality and precious competitive spirit.

Essex beat Yorkshire 3-1

Liam Bedford lost to Harry Burr – 2/11: 3/11: 2/11

Jack Marrhews Bt George Rapley – 5/11: 11/9: 12/10: 8/11: 11/5

Beth Irwin-Joneslost to Laura Burr – 6/11: 2/11: 11/6: 11/5: 4/11

Catherine Miller lost to Paige McCoy – 6/11: 4/11: 9/11.

UNDER-15 REPORT BY TIM BARROTT

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SO CLOSE: Essex U-15’s finished a brave second

Jamie Carroll, Charlie Bacon, Elli Barrott and Amy Aspinall was narrowly edged out of first place by a strong Kent 1 side in their County Cup tilt at Park Langley on Saturday.

The Essex team were more than a match for Kent’s second team and they opened their account with a 10-6 victory thanks to wins for Elli, Amy and Jamie. However, hopes of lifting the County Cup trophy were dashed when  a strong Kent 1 side triumphed 11-4.

Of the 14 points that Essex scored on the day, 10 were secured by the girls. A sign of our growing strength in that depertment.

Elli dropped only 8 points as she won her first match 3 – 0 and in her match against Kent 1, Amy came from two games down to grab a hard earned victory.  Jamie, making his County debut, won his first match 3 – 2 in a long, hard match and whilst Charlie lost both his matches by the narrowest of margins.

There was strong support from parents of all the players which was appreciated by the players. Thanks also to Kent for hosting the event .