Coach Chris Chitty travelled up to Manchester with three teams from Essex in April in a bid to become National Under-11 Champions.
However, the day before the event the Essex A team were struck with an injured string three player and had to shuffle players up from Essex B leaving a gap at string 3 for the boys B team. A tall order to have to play matches always giving one match away due to Essex B not having a 3rd player.
However, Hugh Brooke (8 years) brother of Amelie had his kit with him and volunteered to step up to the job! However, the opposition on every team for Hugh was just a bit too strong and he was unable to secure a win for the team, but he played with heart and most importantly a smile on his face the whole day and was loving the experience.
The Boys A team played their early rounds and won all matches convincingly, we were in the semis against Kent. It was tough going Zain beat his opponent so we were ahead. Edward lost to his opponent 2/0 and Alex just lost his match in the third 11/10. There were no 2 clear points so it was sudden death for Alex at 10/10 but luck didn’t go his way.
Essex A could then only finish 3rd or 4th nationally. We did win against Yorkshire (our arch enemies) so we finished in 3rd spot. A great result for the boys considering they played so many matches and were slightly weaker than they should have been.
The Boys B team were weakened at 3 but tried their level best and played with pride and sportsmanship and teamwork. However, they finished 17th out of 18 counties and can be very proud of their efforts on the day.
The Girls team were doing well all day and winning their early round robin matches and topped their group, which put them into the top 3 playing off for 1, 2 and 3 position. They lost against Gloucestershire and then had to win against Hampshire but with top national players in their team it was going to be tough and they lost to Hampshire 2/1. Therefore they finished 3rd on the day, which is a great result in a national championships.
The teams were:
Essex A Boys – Alex Banhidai, Edward Mason & Zain Mughal (pictured separately)
Essex B Boys – William Wand, Sam Bennett & Hugh Brooke
Essex Girls – Renitha Srindran, Rebecca Morley & Amelie Brooke