At the weekend, the Essex Girls' Under 17 team hit the car to Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. The team included: 14-year-old, Alice Green, 12-year-old Ellie Hewes, 15-year-old Paige McCoy, 14-year-old Eleanor White and 14-year-old Georgia Smith.

They were accompanied by Harwich coach, Chris Chitty, who led the squad of five to victory. Led by captain Alice, with smiles and laughter, their opening opponents were home team Northampton, with Paige and Eleanor in action first.
First in was fourth string Eleanor against Faye Harpier, who looked like she had a great forehand to her game. Eleanor showed power and placement of the ball into the corners and won the first game 11-1. After a good drink, she then won the next two games 11-4, 11-3 to put Essex in front 1-0.

Next door, we saw our number three string Paige take on Olivier Willis. Paige played well over the weekend with accurate drives putting Olivier into the back at all times. Paige won the first game 11-7 and continued the fine  form in the second taking it 11-8.

After some great rallies, Paige was too strong and won the third game 11-6,putting Essex 2-0 up.

Next on court was Ellie(that's me) who had to play Olivier's older sister Dione Willis. Dione won the first game 11-7 after her power and great placement of the ball. Determined to win the next game, Ellie thought about her serve and levelled the match winning 11-7.

Ellie then had the challenge of keeping this good standard up and she won thenext game 11-8 and had confidence to win the last 11-7; winning 3-1 putting Essex 3-0 up in matches.

Next door, our captain Alice had to play a girl called Emily at first string.Alice won the first game, extending the rallies and waiting for the other girl to make the mistake first; taking the first two games 11-3, 11-4.

She then kept putting this pressure on her opponent and won the third 11-3, winning 3-0. Essex were now 4-0 up in matches. As Northampton didn't have a fifth string, Georgia had a friendly game with their fourth string, Faye Harpier who she beat 3-0. The win was a great boost of confidence and experience for Georgia; winning 11-6, 11-8, 11-5.

She played well with some great retrieving from the back corners and some excellent vollies and rallies. Essex were now 5-0 up in matches, setting themselves up for their second match against Buckinghamshire.
Up first again was Eleanor who had to play Katie Schaul. It was a very tight game with points going either way. The first game went to Eleanor, showing great power and vollies at the front, making the girl run in every corner untilshe gave up.

This tactic continued to work for Eleanor as she won 3-0, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5. 

Next door was Paige, who had a strong string-three opponent in Sydney Wallace. Paige tried to move Sydney around and place the ball accurately but Sydney was just too strong and Paige lost 3-0 in a close rallied match; 11-6, 11-5, 11-7. 

Next on was Ellie who faced Cassie Green. The rallies were close but before Ellie knew where she was, she was 1-0 down, 11-8. Determined to do better in the next game it was point for point with both girls looking redder and redderin the face. Ellie led 9-8 but just couldn't clinch it and lost the second game 2-0.

More determined, Ellie came out and pleased the crowd by winning the third game 11-8. Gaining confidence from the Essex support, she also won the fourth game, again 11-8.

As if it wasn't tense enough, Ellie fell over at 7-5 down and banged into the wall. She declined an injury break but quickly found herself 10-7 down and on the brink of defeat. But Ellie battled her way back to 10-10 only to face another match ball at 11-10. But she dug in and finally took the fifth 14-12. What an exhausting game.

Essex were now 2-1 up in matches and next door Alice worked her magic, winning against a girl called Bethan 3-0, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3. Alice moved her opponent around the court gracefully, picking up balls that nobody else could get back.

Now Essex were up 3-1 as Bucks didn't have a fifth string, so Georgia got a walkover and Essex found themselves winning 4-1! A nice rest for Georgia, supporting the others really well. She should win the prize of being the best supporter! Next up was Warwickshire.
After a massive lunch of Cottage Pie and Lasagne in the pub next door, Eleanor played a girl called Sarah. She won the first game after great powerful shots, 11-8. The girl wanted to win this and so came back 11-8 but Eleanor wasn't going to let this happen though in the next game. She came back to win the next game 11-7 but before the fourth, the girl said that she felt unwell so sat out for a while before losing the fourth game 11-5 because Eleanor's drives and volley drops were far too good, making the final score 3-1.

Essex were 1-0 up now in matches. On the next court was Paige McCoy at number three string, who had to play Amy Rogers. She won the first game after placing with accuracy drop shots with a great wide serve, putting her in front to win the first game 11-8.

Then with some tactics from Chris Chitty, Paige found herself 2-0 up, 11-3 inthe second which was a great confidence boost for Paige who was drawing in the third game at 4-4 and then a clip from Paige's racket, saw Amy have injury time but carrying on, making Paige win 11-8. Essex were now 2-0 up in matches
Next on was the very tired Ellie who had to play Lucy Green at number 2 string. Lucy's serve was amazing which looped every time into the back corners. Ellie found herself 2-0 down, 11-4, 11-1. Determined to win, Ellie then went on court, hoping to win. She just couldn't get into the rally and lost the third game, 11-3. 

Essex were still 2-1 up in games. The captain was working her magic again though, winning against Rosie Kirsch at number one string, 11-4, 11-3 in the first two. She then got to balls that you wouldn't expect her to at all get to and won the third game, 11-6 but she was a great supportive captain to the team all day.

Warwickshire didn't have a fifth string, so Georgia got a walkover but was a great supporter all day and it was great experience for her and she looks toward to the next round which is great, where she will definitely get to play more than one match! This then made Essex win 4-1 in matches and so...
Well done to all of the girls that were involved who had great attitudes and bags of smiles and were all supportive with a great team atmosphere but it wouldn't have been the same without Chris Chitty (the coach) who helped all the girls in between their matches, helping them all and in between their games as well. 

Also thanks to the parents for taking and supporting the girls. Without them, the team wouldn't have been there because they couldn't of hit the road by themselves. They do well driving around to all of these squash tournaments. Some parents even drove the other children here as well! It was a great day and hopefully we can carry on like this in the next, tougher round! 

Thanks everyone for playing and to the organisers of Diana Squash Club and the Local Motives pub for letting us eat there! It was a fantastic day!
Essex vs Northampton:
1. Alice Green bt Emily 3-0, 11-3,11-4,11-3.
2. Ellie Hewes bt Dione Willis 3-1, 7-11,11-7,11,11-8,11-7.
3. Paige McCoy bt Olivier Willis 3-0, 11-7,11-8,11-6.
4. Eleanor White bt Faye Harpier 3-0, 11-1,11-4,11-3.
5. Georgia Smith bt Faye Harpier 3-0, 11-6,11-8,11-5.
Essex bt Northampton 5-0.
Essex vs Bucks:
1. Alice Green bt Bethan 3-0, 11-5,11-4,11-3.
2. Ellie Hewes bt Cassie Green 3-2, 8-11,9-11,11-8,11-8, 14-12.
3. Paige McCoy lost Sydney Wallace 0-3, 6-11,5-11,7-11
4. Eleanor White bt Katie Schaul 3-0, 11-8,11-7,11-5.
5. Georgia Smith bt Walkover (w/o).
Essex bt Bucks 4-1.
Essex vs Warwickshire:
1. Alice Green bt Rosie Kirsch 3-0, 11-4, 11-3, 11-6.
2. Ellie Hewes lost Lucy Green 0-3, 4-11,1-11,3-11.
3. Paige McCoy bt Amy Rogers 3-0, 11-8,11-3,11-8.
4. Eleanor White bt Sarah 3-1, 11-8,8-11,11-7,11-5.
5. Georgia Smith bt Walkover (w/o).
Essex bt Warwickshire 4-1.