Mikayla, Alice and Brooke do Essex proud at Luton

JO MANN and WILL SOUTHWORTH REPORTING

The Essex U-13 B’ team, comprising of Brooke Smith, Captain Mikayla Mann, Alice Lindsay and Coach Will Southworth all arrived at Lewsey Sports Park, Luton, nice and early and were promptly given a court for warm up. The girls were nervous but very eager to get their Inter-Counties stage one campaign under way.

First up was Chiltern v Essex B, Alice Lindsay v Lily Main. It was a close match with both girls playing well. Lily took the first, Alice the second, Lily the third, Alice the fourth…wow, what a match.  And the crunch fifth game was close too with a  Alice edging it 11-9. Phew She worked hard and got a great result.

Next up at string number one was Brooke Smith, playing Sophia John. Brooke didn’t win but remained focused and smiled throughout.

Mikayla Mann now had the pressure of winning and faced Bucks player Anna Elson who was in the Chiltern team. Mikayla ran for everything and pulled a game back in the third set but Anna was just too strong and went on to take the fourth and the match.

Our games had taken the longest so it was straight into the next set of matches, this time we faced Buckinghamshire. Those girls were good. With England’s number 2, Katie Malliff and 25 ranked Amy Pullen in the team it was going to be hard.  Wise words guidance from coach Will throughout the games kept the girls focused and determined to get as many points as they could but Bucks were the better side on the day.

Finally, after a short break for lunch, it was time to face the Oxfordshire team. Alice won her games with confidence. Brooke faced Jasmine Tranter, she was nervous but again she played extremely well under the pressure and came off court smiling despite losing her match.

Could Mikayla pull off a win? Yes she could, after winning the first game quite comfortably it was the boost she needed and she was back in control of the court and played the rest of her games with self-belief and confidence. And credit to Alice for playing a second match at the end of a long day, a friendly against Oxfordshire’s 4th player.

The final results were 1st Bucks, 2nd Chiltern, 3rd Essex B, 4th Oxfordshire.

Coach Will was full of praise for the Essex trio saying:” All three girls produced some fantastic squash and were able to unsettle some highly ranked players in close games. We learned a lot from the experience and can be proud of our performance. Mikayla, Alice and Brooke were a credit to the county.”