REPORT BY RICHARD PILCHER
EIGHT junior squash players from Felsted recently took part in the IAPS National Squash Championships held at The University of Nottingham. More than 70 children from around the country competed over three days of keenly-contested matches.
Felsted players, some of whom are members Essex Junior Squash squads, had their most successful event so far as the standard of play and commitment to the sport continue to grow. Felsted players won two trophies with others finishing as runners-up, third and fourth placed across three events.
In the U-11 event, Jonty Godfrey and Freddie Welsford Knightley (pictured left) were in outstanding form. They both qualified for the knock-out rounds with Freddie winning all of his matches to finish top of his group, whilst Jonty finished 3rd in his group in his first IAPS Championships. Freddie progressed through to the semi-finals and finished in 4th place overall. Jonty lost his first knock-out match and progressed to the Plate competition, which he won in some style, not dropping a game and showing excellent technique and tactical awareness. A fantastic effort by both boys.
In the U-13 event, Luke Sargood won all his group matches whilst Theo McIlvenna finished 3rd in his. They both progressed to the knock-out stage, where Theo progressed to the quarter-finals of the championships , losing to the eventual winner. Luke played well but was unable to progress beyond the Plate quarter-finals.
Rocco Jones, Austin Kershaw, Fraser Wallace and Arturo Wilson played some great and committed squash and improved on their previous performances but were unable to progress from their groups.
In the Doubles event the players put in a fantastic performance. 3 of the 4 pairs progressed to the main knock-out phase and played some brilliant squash working effectively as teams. They played so well that 3 of our teams reached the Plate Semi-Finals, where Luke & Austin saved 6 match-points to beat a team from Holmewood House. In the other semi-final Theo & Rocco played fellow Felstedians Freddie & Jonty in a tightly contested match, which the older boys won. This set up a final with Luke & Austin, who they overcame to be crowned champions. In the 3rd & 4th Play-Off Freddie & Jonty played outstanding squash and showed great tactical awareness to comfortably beat their older opponents. This meant that Felsted won all the medals on offer finishing 1st, 2nd & 3rd…..an outstanding  performance.
All throughout the event the team were supported by parents and grandparents, who cheered the boys on enthusiastically. Former Felsted pupil, Harry Pilcher, who attends the University, also came along each day to offer encouragement to the players. It was a very rewarding and enjoyable trip and we are already looking forward to next year.