IT was a tough weekend for Essex boys’ teams in the Inter County Championships as our players battled it out in Stage Two of the competition.
The Essex Under-13’s led by coach Dave Webster and our Under-15’s under the guidance of Paul Selby both came within one place of reaching the national finals in January but both fell to strong opposition in one of their matches being forced to settle for second place finishes in their overall table.
Our Under-17’s found the going extremely tough at Wycombe finishing fourth in their group while the Essex Under-19’s had an equally tough time playing at Clements Hall in Essex. They finished third in their Trophy group ending this year’s Inter-Counties interest.
You will find results and tables below. Team match reports will be added when they received.
UNDER-13’S REPORT BY JOANNE BRADDOCK
The Essex Boys Under 13 County team lost out on a place in the final after being beaten by Sussex, who have always looked like the strongest team in the whole event. I wanted to congratulate the Essex team and say here what a brilliant bunch of lads they are. Each and every one of them has impressed not just me but all who have seen them with their commitment, never-say-die attitude, behaviour and performances and each one of them is a truly special talent.
If Joel seems to have been playing for Essex U13 for years and years, well, that’s because he has. This is his final year after first playing for them nearly five years ago aged just 8. Joel was the #2 string in the victorious team led last year by Ollie Green and I know that he really believed his brand new team could repeat that success this year, but it was not to be. Joel led from the front both on and off the court, showing 100% effort, absolute commitment and full-on play on court plus supporting and coaching his players and taking his responsibilities as team captain very seriously. He played and led with passion and fire but never let the adrenalin take over – a fine example for the younger lads. He’s had some great matches in this season’s competition, and played some of the best squash he has played all year – which is as it should be when you are playing for your team.
Yusuf has come in for a bit of criticism this season, unfairly I think! It is true to say that he has given us all some scares, and appeared to not play his best squash, but listen to this – he is the only member of the 2016/17 team not to lose a single match, and when you are #2, therefore playing the last and often deciding match, the pressure to perform is really high. We all know that Yusuf has silky skills and a huge amount of ability and, when that is all flowing, can beat most of his contemporaries comfortably, but it is a real asset to have someone on the team who can still grind out the win when the squash is NOT flowing, when things aren’t going so well and when it all looks hopeless! Yusuf did just that, over and over again. He also has the distinction of providing Essex with their only point against Sussex, meaning that they did not quite get the revenge they were after for us beating them 5 – 0 last season!
What a revelation Josh has been. His development as a player over the past year has been outstanding and not only are his fitness, technique and ability superb, he has one of the best squash brains I have seen in a junior at that age. Josh never lets the red mist obscure his focus, never loses sight of what he has got to do to beat his opponent and always thinks, thinks, thinks. As a result, most of the time he also wins, even after facing multiple match balls which happened to him more than once in this campaign. Josh is going to be a really valuable asset to Essex squash over the next few years and if he continues to apply his obvious intelligence to his game then I truly believe that the sky is the limit for him.
Ah, what to say about Stan? He is the rock at the heart of the team! Always reliable, always performs, never gives less than everything. He is a big strong lad with plenty of power but don’t be fooled, he is no hacker. Stan is a quiet lad and maybe even a bit shy, but what he provides in terms of reassurance, stability and reliability for the team is of incalculable value. He’s also a pretty handy player, and would be playing much higher than #4 in almost any other County team in the country. As a #4 Stan goes on to play after the first two matches are done. Knowing that he is going to be there to either consolidate the team’s start or get the match back on track means that the rest of the lads look to him with utmost confidence. Stan is definitely the man.
Daniel (his team Captain has told me firmly not to call him Dan…) is another new face in this season’s team. He’s an up and coming player with a lot of skill and great technique, but the thing about Daniel is that he simply refuses to lose. I think it is not unfair to say that there have been quite a few opposing players in this season’s event who have seen his name on the team sheet and assumed that they would have an easy ride – maybe they even still thought that after the first few rallies, or even the first game – but they soon learned otherwise! Daniel has many gifts as a squash player but none has been more valuable to his team than his absolute, cast iron, pig-headed refusal to accept that he is beaten. I lost count of how many match balls he faced in his matches, and then went on to win. Daniel was the player who inspired the Twitter hashtags the U13 boys used this weekend – #WeAreEssex #HearUsRoar! – because of the huge and vocal support he inspired, and the massive burst of cheering which broke out when he spontaneously leapt into the air on winning his first match. Also, Joel commented that Daniel is a dream to coach during a match because he takes everything you say on board and then DOES IT! High praise from his team Captain there.
Caleb occupied the incredibly important and very difficult position of reserve for the team. Whilst he wasn’t available to travel with us for the second round, his contribution to the team shouldn’t be underestimated. Caleb was with the team in the first round and played (and won) a match against hosts Suffolk and is sure to be part of the Essex team for the future. He was missed by his team mates in the second round but everyone knows how tough it is to travel as a reserve – Caleb’s contribution was greatly valued by the whole team.
Coach – Dave Webster
I know all the players want to give a huge thank you to Dave. He is a wonderful coach, a great encourager, someone who fills youngsters with belief and confidence that they can move mountains – as a result, mountains get moved. Thanks Dave, well played.
This team did not make the finals this season but the reality is that they will miss out because of geography, not ability. They were unlucky enough to come up in the second round against possibly the only team in the whole competition that had the beating of them. I want to let them and everyone else know that they are brilliant and that we are all incredibly proud of what they have done – and they should all be incredibly proud of themselves. Well played boys.
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|1-5||Jamie Carroll||1-5||Sunil Popat||0||3||6/11 4/11 12/14|
|1-3||Charlie Martin||1-3||Jasper Kettle||2||3||6/11 11/9 11/7 6/11 7/11|
|1-4||Timmy Bacon||1-4||Thomas Walter||3||2||14/12 6/11 11/8 7/11 11/9|
|1-1||Haydon Smith||1-1||Marcus Connor||0||3||8/11 2/11 8/11|
|1-2||Harry Kitchens||1-2||William Piper||2||3||8/11 9/11 13/11 11/8 6/11|
|View Full Details||Result:||7||19|
|1-6||Josh Stinson||1-5||Jon Hart||1||3||8/11 12/14 11/8 11/13|
|1-3||Charlie Martin||1-3||Dominic Major||3||2||8/11 11/1 11/8 10/12 11/4|
|1-1||Haydon Smith||1-1||Michael Mitterer||0||3||3/11 2/11 5/11|
|1-2||Harry Kitchens||1-2||Edward Miles||0||3||3/11 7/11 9/11|
|1-4||Timmy Bacon||1-4||Oscar Mansfield-Jones||2||3||11/8 9/11 6/11 11/8 5/11|
|View Full Details||Result:||6||19|
|1-2||Harry Kitchens||1-2||Perry Malik||1||3||11/6 10/12 2/11 7/11|
|1-3||Charlie Martin||1-3||Luke Credland||1||3||12/10 8/11 9/11 6/11|
|1-5||Jamie Carroll||1-5||Noah Meredith||0||3||0/11 4/11 4/11|
|1-4||Timmy Bacon||1-4||Louie Martin||0||3||3/11 9/11 8/11|
|1-1||Haydon Smith||1-1||Julian Standish||0||3||2/11 6/11 4/11|
|View Full Details||Result:||2||20|
|View Results Summary | View Results Detail||Host Venue: Clements Hall Leisure Centre|
|1-1||Alisdair Shapcott||1-2||Joe Blackmur||0||3||10/12 8/11 8/11|
|1-2||Ryan Burrel Grant||1-3||Conor Adams||3||1||5/11 11/6 11/6 23/21|
|1-3||Ben Goodayle||1-4||Clayton Hunt||3||0||11/9 11/9 12/10|
|1-5||Billy West||1-5||George Rapley||3||0||13/11 11/4 11/6|
|1-6||Jed Wilton||1-6||Charlie Bacon||3||1||11/5 8/11 11/7 11/6|
|View Full Details||Result:||17||5|
|(walkover)||1-2||Joe Blackmur||0||3||9/11 7/11 8/11|
|(walkover)||1-3||Conor Adams||0||3||11/8 11/3 11/9|
|(walkover)||1-4||Clayton Hunt||0||3||8/11 6/11 7/11|
|(walkover)||1-5||George Rapley||0||3||20/22 9/11 10/12 9/11|
|(walkover)||1-6||Charlie Bacon||0||3||0/11 0/11 0/11|
|View Full Details||Result:||0||20|
|1-2||Cameron Haddow||1-2||Joe Blackmur||1||3||11/9 8/11 6/11 9/11|
|1-3||Billy Beecroft||1-3||Conor Adams||3||1||11/9 4/11 11/9 11/8|
|1-4||Isac Andersson||1-4||Clayton Hunt||3||1||11/8 11/9 9/11 11/5|
|1-5||George Stammers||1-5||George Rapley||3||0||11/2 11/3 11/9|
|1-7||David Nairn||1-6||Charlie Bacon||3||0||11/5 11/8 11/8|
|View Full Details||Result:||18||5|