Report by LEE HORTON
England Squash has crunched the numbers, double-checked the scores and announced that Essex has four teams in the next January’s England Inter-Counties Championship Finals in Nottingham. We also have three teams in the ICC Trophy finals with our Under-19 girls still awaiting confirmation of which event they will play in. They finished in second place in Brighton at the weekend and England Squash now has the slide rule out comparing the results to those in the northern half of the draw.
Essex fielded 13 teams in the ICC first-round in Brighton producing performances that were a credit to their coaches and county.
Our youngest girls’ team, the Under-13’s, set the standard when Renitha Srindran, Amelie Brooke and Manuela Horscroft downed Surrey, Suffolk B and Sussex to reach the finals with dropping a single game. Great job, coach Sally Meanley.
They were quickly followed into the showpiece finals by Essex’s U-13 boys who topped their group of three. Coach Dave Webster had nothing but praise for his team of Alex Banhadai, Palmer Deville, Armann Satar, Zain Mughal, Isaac Smith and Samuel Thickbroom.
The Essex Under-15 boys’ team, coached by Will Southworth and Neil White, brought their A-games against South East Wales and Buckinghamshire. Stanley Sykes, Jenson Deville, Daniel Caton, Charlie Broad and Jamie Brown booked their place in Finals with no Essex player dropping a match.
The Under-17’s boys produced a real nail-biter before Essex sealed their place in the finals. Travis Tatum, Harry Martin, Max Chilver and Archie Pritchard shared the points against our toughest rivals Middlesex with the tie going down to a deciding best of three match between Essex’s Michael Tallentire and Middlesex’s Elliot Heywood. Essex coach Conor Adams dug deep into his reserves of calm to help guide Michael to a thrilling victory that had everyone gripped until the final point.
Essex’s Under-13 girls B head for the Trophy Finals after finishing second in their group. The team-spirit of Felicity Halim, Imogen Finken and Ruby Hester was a delight while the level of their play thrilled coach Lee Horton.
It was a similar tale from our Under-15 girls led by coach Chris Chitty. Drawn in a tough group with Devon, Gloucester and Suffolk, the team of Lara Newton, Mikayla Mann,Leah Brooke, Alice Lindsay and Sophie Fossett pulled out all the stops to take a deserved second place. Take a bow girls.
Our Under-19 girls B team of Ellis Miller, Amy Aspinall and Elli Barrot were narrowly edged 2-1 by favourites Surrey A but they came storming back against Buckinghamshire B with a powerful display that merited their place in the trophy finals.
That left the Under-19 girls A team of Eleanor White, Piper Tatum and India Webb to await their fate. They came within a whisker of beating top side Sussex in their opening match narrowly losing 2-1. But they came storming back to beat Devon 3-0. Whether that is good enough for a place in the Finals or the Trophy, only England Squash know. Hopefully they were let us know soon.
Other Essex results:
Essex U-11 boys A: Finished third in group D. Team: Louis Brown, Hugh Brooke, Freddie Knightly.
Essex U-11 boys B: Finished fourth in Group C: Team: Sam Thomson-Teers, Ben Spurgeon, Luca Sayer.
Essex U-15 Boys B: Finished third in Group B. Team: Anthony Yip, Luke Scott-Stevens, Max Newton, James Sydenham, Luca Johns.
Essex Boys U-19: Finished fourth in Group B. Team: Harry Kitchens, Josh Stinson, Sujan Srindran.
Essex Girls U-17: Finished fifth in Group A. Team: Ellie Hewes, Olivia Broderick, Hannah Morley, Daisy Newton, Libby Connor.