WALES international squash player Owain Taylor led the parade of winners at the Essex Junior Closed on Sunday after a fabulous weekend of action at the Colchester Garrison.
Owain, from the Lexden club in Colchester, playing in his final Essex tournament as a junior, bowed out in magnificent fashion winning the Under-19’s trophy following a gripping and punishing 52-minute final against club-mate Alex Shuter. The match was the perfect finale to two-days of action which brilliantly showcased the talent throughout the county.
With eight titles up for grabs, the silverware was shared out across Essex with titles going to five separate squash clubs.
Brother and sister pair Alice and Ollie Green from Billericay made it a terrific family double for Club Kingswood. Alice overcame the spirited challenge of Ellie Hewes of Off The Walls Squash Academy to carry off the girls’ Under-15 title while Ollie came face to face with old foe Joel Braddock in the final of the boys’ Under-13 final.
Both boys already have their names on the Under-11 trophy and it was Ollie who added his to the U-13 silverware after their Sunday shoot-out on court two. The pair were nervy in the opening game but they settled and produced some impressive and competitive squash in games two and three. Ollie secured a 3-0 win although the scoreline belies the closeness of much of the match.
Yusef and Aliza Sheikh were another brother and sister pairing to finish with silverware. Under the watchful eye of Connaught coach Dave Webster, Yusef was all smiles as he landed the boys’ Under-11 trophy following a gripping five-game final against Lexden’s Max Hyde. Yusef twice led in the final but could not shake off the redoubtable Max who forced the match into a decider which eventually finished 11-7 in Yusef’s favour. Both players were cheered from the court after a match voted match of the tournament.
Aliza had her own five-game final battle against Mikayla Mann from Harwich. In another spell-binding encounter, Mikayla went two games up only for Aliza to draw level and push the Under-11 girls’ final into a decider. The comeback took an awful lot out of the Connaught player and Milayla kept her nerve and composure to secure the Essex title.
Marconi player Eleanor White (pictured left) claimed her first county title and was a picture of joy as she collected her girls’ Under-13’s trophy, fittingly from her dad Matthew White whose company EC3 Legal were co-sponsors of the tournament. Eleanor overcame Lexden’s Amy Aspinall 3-0 in the final following a highly competitive round-robin shoot-out which also included Hattie Callen. Ruby Hudson, Libby Connor and Poppy Smee-Hotene.
The boys’ Under-17 final was an intriguing match-up between Lexden’s Aaron Allpress and Joe Blackmur of Kingswood. Aaron has an unblemished record against his county team mate but was pushed hard before lifting the trophy with a 3-1 victory.
The final piece of silverware was claimed by Tim ‘Streaky’ Bacon who overcame his Lexden club-mate Hayden Smith in a nail-biting boys’ Under-15 match up. Tim took the opening game 12-10 before Hayden came storming back in the second 11-5. Tim reversed that score in the third and edged an incredibly close fourth 11-9 to secure the Essex crown.
It was left to Owain to bring the curtain down on a hugely successful weekend when he told the packed Garrison audience:” This has been a fabulous event superbly run and brilliantly contested. On behalf of the players I’d like to thank the sponsors, EC3 Legal and Active Essex, and all the committee for putting on a great event.”
Girls U11 Mikayla Mann bt Aliza Sheikh 3-2: 11/6 11/9 10/12 8/11 11/5
Girls U13 Eleanor White bt Amy Aspinall 3-0: 11/7 11/5 11/6
Girls U 15 Alice Green bt Ellie Hewes 3-0: 11/5 11/1 11/2
Boys U19 Owain Taylor bt Alex Shuter 3-0: 11/3 11/6 11/4
Boys U17 Aaron Allpress bt Joe Blackmur 3-1: 11/2 11/4 7/11 11/5
Plate winner: George Rapley, R/U Will Salmons
Boys U15 Tim Bacon bt Haydon Smith 3-1: 12/10 5/11 11/5 11/9
Boys U13 Oliver Green by Joel Braddock 3-0: 116 11/3 11/9
Plate Winner: Zaid Mushtaq; R/U Zachary Cheadle
Boys U11 Yusuf Sheikh bt Max Hyde 3-2: 11/9 11/13 11/8 10/12 11/7
Plate winner Stanley Sykes; R/U Edward Mason; 3rd Aidan Cahill; 4th Jacob Drew.
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