REPORT BY DAVID HARRIS
Last weekend development teams from our Under 11 and under 13 teams headed off to Rodmersham Squash Club in Kent for the first in a series of Grand Prix style friendlies against Middlesex, Surrey and Kent.
Teams of three boys and two girls in each category take on similar teams from the surrounding counties in a “Team event”
Essex fielded an U11 side consisting of Ruby Hester, Felicity Halim, Palmer Deville, Sam Bennett and Armaan Sattar, all of whom were making their debuts at inter county level.
The U13 side contained one or two “seasoned pros” in Alice Lyndsay, Luke Scott-Stevens and Charlie Broad but the side also featured debutant Jenson Deville and Lucie Bloomberg.
Essex U11’s began their campaign against Surrey and started with a solid 3/2 win, Palmer, Ruby and Felicity all winning 2/0 to seal the match.
On the adjacent courts the U13 side started strongly against Kent B winning 4/1 with wins for Jenson, Luke, Alice and Charlie. Maximum points were almost achieved but Lucie went down 1 / 2 in her match.
Round 2 saw Essex U11’s take on Middlesex and this time they went one better winning 4/1. Palmer, Ruby, Sam and Armaan sealing the win.
The U13’s (pictured above )came up against the team most likely to challenge them early in round 2 and a win against a strong Kent A side was so so close. With wins for Jenson and Alice, the match was poised at 2/2. At 1/1 Lucie had match point at 10/9 when the Kent girl hit a ball straight back at herself but agonisingly the marker gave a let instead of the stroke it deserved! The Kent girl then went on to take the game 11/13 and with that a 3/2 for Kent.
Round 3 for the U11’s saw them face up to their old rivals in Kent again. Palmer got the team off to a great start winning 2/0. Back came Kent with a 2/0 win against Ruby. Sam put Essex back in front winning 2/0 only for Kent to level it at 2/2 again. Armaan went on court knowing victory would secure the U11 title for the day and he didn’t disappoint as he overwhelmed his opponent 11/3 11/4 to take the win 3/2 and for Essex to win the U11 category. A great effort by a team featuring a number of players from our development squads.
Round 3 for U13’s saw them take a break but next up in Round 4 was Middlesex and a win was needed to keep the pressure on Kent A. The team did not disappoint with a close fought 3/2 win. Jenson, Luke and Alice delivering the important wins.
Round 5 saw another closely fought match this time against Surrey. Wins for Jenson again, Luke and Alice saw Essex home with another 3/2 which secured second place in the U13 category. Their 3/2 defeat to Kent A being the crucial match on the day.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the parents for bringing their juniors along to this event and to Alison and all her staff at Rodmersham squash club for making us so welcome.
The next event will take place at Connaught squash club in Chingford on Sunday 19th March.
I look forward to seeing you all then.
Essex junior squash chairman