Essex juniors returned from the England Squash Inter-Counties Championships in Nottingham laden with medals and memories after a fabulous weekend of squash.

Our Under-11 Boys’ team of Tristan Sutton, Kylen Calder and Jamie Banhidai (pictured above)  were crowned champions after a nail-biting final against a strong Yorkshire and their brilliant performance was mirrored by other Essex teams who carried the county colours with pride.

The Essex boys’ Under-17’s went incredibly close to bringing home a second title but after a tough battle, had to settle for second place. Terrific stuff, Jamie Brown, Alex Banhidai, Daniel Caton, Sam Bennett and Arman Bassi.

Essex also bagged two third place finishes. Lara Newton, Renitha Srindran and Amelie Brooke carried our Under-17 challenge while the Essex Under-11 girls were represented by Grace WEoodhead, Sophie Harding and Jess Billings.

Our Under-13 boys finished 7th as did the Under-19 girls highlighting the county’s strength in depth.

There was more silverware in the U-15 Trophy Finals. Zain Mughal, Dylan Smithson, Louis Brown, George Woodhead and Ellis Sooprayen came through a tough weekend of action to win the Plate trophy.

It was a fantastic return to Inter-Counties action after Covid lockdown over the past two years. And what a return it was, epitomised by the spirit and battling qualities of our triumphant Under-11 boys.

In a thrilling showdown for the title, Jamie Banhidai put Essex one up in the third string match. He was followed on court by our number one player Tristan Sutton, who faced a strong Yorkshire opponent. Ranked two in England, Tristan started favourite but a twisted ankle early in the match forced the Essex player to retire hurt.

That left the match and title in the hands of 10-year-old Kylen Calder who plays his squash at the David Lloyd Club in Gidea Park as well as coaching at Woodford Wells. In a thrilling encounter, the players were matched point for point for four-gripping games. Tied at 2-2, Kylen eventually pulled clear with some gutsy squash clinching the tie, and the title, 3-2.

It was a worthy win and one that thrilled Essex head coach, Lauren Selby. She said: “We couldn’t have asked more of all of our players. Everyone gave us their all and to see our youngest group of players win an ICC title was the icing on the cake.”