COUNTY COACH LAUREN SELBY REPORTS
This season Essex fielded a girls U13 and U15 team in the inter-county competition. A young U-15 team of Elise Lazarus, Alice Green, Ellie Hewes, Paige McCoy, Eleanor White and India Webb worked hard in the earlier rounds and secured themselves a place in the Inter-County Finals in January.
The girls headed to Surrey Sports Park ready for their semi-final match against Sussex. The Sussex team clearly had a physical advantage over us, some of their players were 14, our youngest is 10!
First on court were the number three and five strings. Eleanor White was up against Torrie Malik, an experienced youngster. Torrie was too powerful but Eleanor dug in and made her opponent work hard for victory.
Next door Ellie Hewes, at three, was certainly getting the crowd going! Her epic match with Megan North kept everyone on the edge of their seats. The fist pumps and adrenaline was flying but in the fifth game Ellie couldn’t quite clinch the match.
Paige McCoy at four took to the court next. She couldn’t quite find her rhythm and struggled to get into the match. During the second game Paige slightly pulled her hamstring so this restricted her mobility around court. Paige carried on in true warrior style but lost out 3-0.
Elise Lazarus was was up against Sussex number one Jasmine Hutton. The Essex girl glided around the court with ease and made Jasmine work in every rally. Elise ran out a 3-0 winner but the scores were close although Elise always looked to have plenty in hand.
Essex had already lost the tie but Alice Green stepped on court against Alice Rose.looking determined and ready to give her all. And in just 15 minutes Alice had thumped her opponent with a a performance of maturity which belied her age. She is just 12-years-old.
Our ever-improving reserve, India Webb faced a strong player from Sussex. Once India overcame her nerves her squash improved and although she lost the match her confidence seemed to grow.
The following day the girls faced a 3/4th playoff against Surrey. The team were desperate to secure the 3rd place position and it showed in their performances.
Eleanor White played out of her skin against Ella Frankland and came back from a game down to win 3-1. Ellie Hewes dispatched her older opponent in no time at all leaving Essex needing one more match to take the third spot.
Elise was matched against Rawan El Kalawaay and she cruised to victory 3-0 with her pinpoint accuracy leaving Rawan lost for answers. The celebrations had already started but Paige was next door playing the match of her life. The number 4 string was volleying and moving her player around the court superbly and Paige won two tie breaks and wrapped up the match 3-0.
Alice and India still had matches to play and didn’t disappoint. Alice used her physical advantage to good effect and powered her opponent off court in just 16 minutes. India was noticeably more confident in her match and started to move well around the court. The trusty left-hander will be a force to be reckoned with in coming years.
I am extremely proud of the team for their attitudes and determination over the course of the weekend. To finish 3rd in the whole country is a fantastic achievement especially considering we have such a young team. I would like to thank the parents for all their support this season, I am already looking forward to next season!