The volunteers of Team EJS pulled off another amazing tournament last weekend with 50 kids from school years 4 through to 10 playing over a hundred matches across 9 groups in the space of 6 and a half hours!
With Lexden hosting round 4 of the Essex Junior Squash Grand Prix series on Sunday, an event designed to provide competition for the next generation of young players. Aimed at youngsters who have yet to wear county colours, the Grand Prix competition is being staged over six months at seven different venues with points from each event counting towards an overall total.
The fourth round provided proof of this popular series by setting new records for entrants and matches.
An increase in entrants for GP4 meant the schedule was due to run from 09:30 through to 16:00. As ever, pro-active management by the EJS Committee meant all games were completed earlier than scheduled.
The level of enthusiasm and the closeness of the games were reflected in the scores with over a half of the matches finishing 3-2 or 2-1.
In the Girls Year 6 & Under Blue Group, which contained our seeded players, Renitha Srindran (Redbridge/Connaught) claimed her first GP group win with some thrilling and battling squash against Leah Brooke, Anna Daniel, Emma Logan and Deeya Kaur Ranu. The closeness of this group was shown by the fact that three of the five players all finished on the same number of points.
In the Girls Year 6 & Under Red Group containing a number of first time players, Lara Newton (Mersea) also won her first GP group win with a clean sweep. The top three in this group we separated by 2 points and went down to the wire with Lara and Rosie Snook fighting for 1st and 2nd in a match that Lara claimed 2/1. Lara’s squash has been steadily improving since she started the GP series last season and it was lovely to see the smile on her face winning her first GP event.
In the Girls combined Year 8 & 10 Group Jessica Baxter (Felsted School) playing her first event emerged victorious in Year 8. Her only defeat came at the hands of the Year 10 group winner, Mary-Kate Lavery (Woodford Wells). 80% of the matches in this group finished 2/1 showing the improvement and competitiveness of the girls playing in this category.
The largest number of entrants saw three groups needed for the Boys Year 6 and under. In the Red group of seeded players Armaan Sattar (Connaught) pipped Anthony Yip for top spot with Sebastian Waugh a creditable 3rd. In the Blue Group Shivam Kotecha (Woodford Wells) also playing his first GP event claimed top spot. In the Green group Jack Tooley (Lexden) claimed the top prize with a clean sweep of wins.
In the Boys Year 8 & Under category, numbers dictated two groups would be required again with the Red Group being won by another first time player, Ronan Caruana (OTWS – Garrison) who won all his matches without dropping a single game. In the Blue group Noah McKennon (OTWS) cleaned up dropping only a single game on his way to victory.
The final group saw the Boys Year 10 & under won by Abdull Akbar from Felsted School. Abdull beat some more established players in this group, dropping only 1 game on his way to the Group win. His manner on court and concentration summed up a good weekend for Felsted School and Richard Pilcher who brought along 7 juniors to Sunday’s tournament to show the excellent squash being played at Felsted School.
I would like to personally thank the staff at Lexden Squash and Rackets club for allowing us to take over their facility for the day with 50 juniors and over 50 screaming parents! I hope we didn’t cause too many problems.
Also a big thank you to the volunteers of the Essex Junior Squash committee who gave up their Sunday to run another successful Grand Prix event. To all the parents for bringing their juniors, I hope you all enjoyed the day.
To Elli Barratt, Josh Stinson and Aidan Cahill from our Inter County squads for marking a large proportion of the matches and not forgetting Nils Carter de Jong, who whilst playing his Year 10 group also contributed in between his own matches to marking.
Round 5 now moves back down to the SW of the county to Connaught Squash club on the 10th April 2016.
We look forward to seeing you all then.
David Harris – EJS Chairman