Record entry for new Essex Junior Grand Prix series

DAVID HARRIS – EJS Secretary reports

The Essex Junior Squash Grand Prix series got off to a rousing start at Epping Squash club last month with a record entry of 44 players and a new Year 4 & Under category.

The Essex Junior Squash Grand Prix series is designed to provide competition for the next generation of young players. Aimed at youngsters who have yet to wear county colours, the 2017/2018 Grand Prix competition is being staged over ten months at seven different venues with points from each event counting towards an overall total. Winners and runners-up in each category will be invited to attend training with Current World top 50 player, Ben Coleman.

The new Girls Year 4 group was contested by Rebecca Salmon and Grace Boore with the boys corresponding group containing Hugh Brooke, Cullen Clark and Alex Demetriou-Foale. Both categories featured some entertaining squash from the new youngsters with Grace Boore triumphant in the girls group and Alex topping the table in the boys.

The Girls Year 6 saw group saw old rivalries revisited between Ruby Hester, Leonie Powling, and Hannah Laryea with newbie Imogen Fincken joining the ranks. With the promotion of last year’s winners to our main county squads, Ruby took up the challenge of being the person to beat completing 5 wins from her group to take 1st place. Imogen finished 2nd after losing her only group match to Ruby, 2-1.

12 players in the Boys Year 6 category meant that 2 groups had to be created. Group 1 consisted of a number of last year’s protagonists with eventual winner Ben Bushell sweeping the board with 5 wins out of 5. Henry Marshall finished 2nd with his only loss being to Ben. Group 2 saw a number of newbies entering the tournament. Playing his first GP tournament, Matthew Yip proved to be the person to beat and no-one in his group did that, winning 5 out of 5, to claim first place. Second in the group was one of last season’s regulars in Rocco Jones.

With a number of girls being promoted to main county squad, the Girls Year 8 and 10 group had to be combined. With over half of the matches going to 3 sets deciding the winner of Year 8 and Year 10 was going to be tight. In the year 8 Felicity Halim came out on top closely followed by Abi Larg. Things were tighter in the Year 10’s with both girls finishing on the same number of points. The winner being decided by Tamsyn Hancock’s 2/1 defeat of Kate Lucas.

In the Boys Year 8, twelve entrants meant two more groups. In Group 1 Antony Yip completed a nice family double by winning all 5 matches and taking the top spot, 2 points clear of Finlay Terrell. In Group 2 Dylan Petty swept all before him to take top honours with debutant George Demetriou-Foale a close second.

As expected the Boys Year 10 Group was as competitive as ever. With a number of players moving up an age group from last year, combined with some debutants, matches were hard fought and intense. The deciding match was Noah McKennon v Tom Barden. Both entered the last game with 4 wins apiece. In what was probably game of the day, Noah triumphed 2/1 to take the spoils.

I would like to thank Kate Hancock, Tony Rowland and Ian Hardy at Epping Squash Club for their help in setting up this event. To all the parents and coaches who helped mark

throughout the day and to Tim & Elli Barrott for coming along to provide their support, all contributed to another successful Grand Prix. Sadly for us, with the redevelopment plans now in progress at Epping, we will not be returning to this squash club. The loss of 2 courts, leaving only 2 remaining does not give us the capacity to run a GP at Epping again.

Final Results:

Girls Year 4 – 1st Grace Boore, 2nd Rebecca Salmon Girls Year 6 (Green Group) – 1st Ruby Hester (Mersea), 2nd Imogen Fincken, 3rd Hannah Laryea

Girls Year 8 – 1st Felicity Halim (Mersea), 2nd Abi Larg, 3rd Eliza Hancock (Epping)

Girls Year 10 – 1st Tamsyn Hancock (Epping), 2nd Kate Lucas

Boys Year 4 – 1st Alex Demetriou-Foale, 2nd Hugh Brooke, 3rd Cullen Clark

Boys Year 6 (Group 1) – 1st Ben Bushell (Felsted), 2nd Henry Marshall, 3rd Owen Toleman

Boys Year 6 (Group 2) – 1st Matthew Yip, 2nd Rocco Jones, 3rd Harrison Mussett

Boys Year 8 (Group 1) – 1st Antony Yip, 2nd Finlay Terrell, 3rd Archie Hassett

Boys Year 8 (Group 2) – 1st Dylan Petty, 2nd George Demetriou-Foale, 3rd Charlie Safwat

Boys Year 10 – 1st Noah McKennon, 2nd Tom Barden, 3rd Archie Pritchard