The first round of the Roman Cup, an Inter-Schools squash tournament organised by the Off The Wall Squash Academy, got away to a glorious start at the Colchester Garrison on Thursday with 16 teams from six schools doing battle in some epic squash matches.

The event will be run over three stages with 64 players from the Ardleigh area of Colchester competing against each other in a pioneering competition designed to give school children a taste of the action on full-size courts in competition conditions. The Roman Cup is also a spin off from the hugely successful schools’ squash coaching programme, headed by OTWS coach Lauren Selby, which has been operating in Essex with remarkable success.

Thursday’s action saw teams made up of two boys and two girls compete in both Year 5 and Year 6 age groups. To say that the action was fast, furious and competitive would be a huge understatement while the noise levels as teams cheered one another on was a treat in itself.

Not all the matches were finished, such was the competitive nature of the event, but they will be completed at the start of the next round. Here’s how the tables stand after Round One…but there’s still a lot of squash to be played before the honours are decided.

Year Five Group 1

Ardleigh (1) 176 points; Dedham 162; Langham 132; Lawford (2) 101.

Year Five Group 2

Lawford (1) 144 points; Ardleigh (2) 131;  Gt Bromley 112; Bradfield 88. *(Gt Bromley and Bradfield still to play)

Year 6 Group 1

Ardleigh (1) 179 points; Dedham 144; Langham 103; Lawford (2) 97.

Year 6 Group 2

Lawford (1) 170 points;  Ardleigh (2) 124; Bradfield 92, Gt Bromley 90. (Gt Bromley and Bradfield still to play)

Click on photographs to enlarge