ESSEX JUNIOR SQUASH found it’s six Junior Grand Prix champions for 2015/16 on Sunday after the seventh and final round of action at the Colchester Garrison, home of Off The Wall Squash.

Aimed at youngsters who have yet to wear county colours, the Grand Prix competition was staged over seven months at seven different venues with points from each event counting towards an overall total.

In a series that has gone from strength to strength with every round attracting an increased number of entries, GP7 provided thrills and spills as the juniors battled for the top two positions overall in each age group. With the ever present EJS Committee in situ the schedule ran like clockwork.

In the girls’ Year 10 and Under category, Mary Kate Lavery who already held an unassailable lead, was unable to attend GP7 due to school commitments and without having to hit a ball, retained her EJS GP Title she won in 2014/2015. Last season Pradnya Chaudhari claimed 3rd place in the Year 10 category, this season she improved by one place to take 2nd.

The girls’ Year 8 an Under category was again contested hotly by two regulars from last season and a handful of new players to the GP series. Daisy Newton and Henna Kaur Ranu were joined by Jessica Baxter from Felsted and their season long tussle was reflected in the final scores for the season with Henna finishing on 63 points, Daisy 62 points and Jessica 54. GP7 again saw these 3 girls go head-to-head for the Group win with Daisy finishing this round in 1st place, Jessica 2nd and Henna 3rd.

The girls’ Year 6 category and under was boosted by new entrants from Mersea Island and OTWS swelling the group to 8 for the final round. Emma Logan and Lara Newton have had a season long battle for top spot in this category and GP7 was no exception. Sunday’s group match between the two young girls proved to be the deciding match again for this round with Lara winning 2/0 this time to finish top of the pile, with Emma taking 2nd and Deeya Kaur Ranu 3rd.

In the overall standings Emma’s 2nd place was enough to give her the title for 2015/2016 finishing on 75 points with Lara second on 70 points and Deeya 3rd on 52 points.

In the Boys’ Year 6 and Under category 13 entries meant the group had to be split into two group with six of our top 7 engaged in a single group to decide the overall title for 2015/2016. In the Red Group, Armaan Sattar continued his great form which has seen him win 4 of the previous 5 rounds and at the Garrison, he made it 5 wins from 6. Sebastian Waugh who has fought tirelessly with Armaan all season ended the day in joint 2nd with Jamie Brown and Jenson Deville. New comers to the series, Jenson Deville, Jamie Brown and Jack Tooley proved they will be a force in next seasons hunt for overall victory. In the Blue group there was a debut outing for Henry Marshall whist the season regular that is Max Newton snatched victory in GP7 by a single point from Jack Tooley and George Sweeting.

In the overall standings Armaan’s consistency took him to the 2015/2016 title by 20 points with Sebastian Waugh in 2nd place with Jamie Brown finishing a creditable 3rd.

In the Boys’ Year 8 and under category the top two in the group, Akash Shah and Ronan Caruana continued their season long battle with Akash winning the deciding match 2/0. Overall Akash won 2 rounds and finished 2nd on three occasions. This was enough to earn him the 2015/2016 title, 16 points clear of Ronan who chased hard, despite missing the first two rounds of the series.

The Boy’s Year 10 and Under category was once again dominated by Abdullah Akbar. Abdullah has burst onto the scene in the last 4 months and taken the group by storm. He has become the player to beat in this age group with Nils Carter de Jong pushing him all the way at every round and this proved to be the case again at GP7. Abdullah took the win at the Garrison with Nils 2nd and Max Watts a creditable 3rd. Overall, Nils won the group by 17 points from Abdullah.

On hand to present the winners with their medals was Nicola Betts from The Physiotherapy Practise in Colchester who have signed up to be the first sponsor of Essex Junior Squash starting in 2016/2017. Nicola was supported by Karen and Nikki from the practise during the event and their expertise was put to good use on a couple of occasions.

All our winners and 2nd place overall players will now be invited to a two-hour group training session with world ranked number 51 player Ben Coleman from Chelmsford. This training will take place on Sunday 17th July at the Garrison. Invites to those players will be sent shortly.

The Grand Prix series is an Essex Junior Squash series that is only in its second season and has been designed to get youngsters who have yet to wear county colours playing different players from different clubs around the County. The number of juniors participating has increased by 20% since the 2014/2015 season highlighting that the format and structure of this series is moving along the right lines.

In light of this EJS plan to increase the 2016/2017 series from 7 rounds to 9 to increase competition, encapsulate more juniors and promote our game of Squash to the youngster in the County further.
Personally, as Chairman of EJS it has been a wonderful season for the committee to oversee and watch the talent in our County grow in confidence and ability in such a short space of time. The work of the club coach is highly valued and vitally important to this process and will ultimately allow the County scene to expand and grow.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those players who took part and to all those parents who chauffeured their siblings around the county for this series. I look forward to seeing you all at GP1 2016/2017 in September.

Girls Year 6 and Under Group
1st Lara Newton, 2nd Emma Logan, 3rd Deeya Kaur Ranu
Girls Year 8 and Under
1st Daisy Newton, 2nd Jessica Baxter, 3rd Henna Kaur Ranu
Boys Year 6 and Under – RED Group
1st Armaan Sattar, 2nd Sebastian Waugh/Jamie Brown/Jenson Deville
Boys Year 6 and Under – BLUE Group
1st Max Newton, 2nd Jack Tooley, 3rd George Sweeting
Boys Year 8 and Under
1st Akash Shah, 2nd Ronan Caruana
Boys Year 10 and Under
1st Abdullah Akbar, 2nd Nils Carter de Jong, 3rd Max Watts

Girls Year 6 and Under
1st Emma Logan, 2nd Lara Newton, Deeya Kaur Ranu
Girls Year 8 and Under
1st Henna Kaur Ranu, 2nd Daisy Newton, 3rd Jessica Baxter
Girls Year 10 and Under
1st Mary-Kate Lavery, 2nd Pradnya Chaudhari, 3rd Catherine Lilyanagama
Boys Year 6 and Under
1st Aarman Sattar, 2nd Sebastian Waugh, 3rd Jamie Brown
Boys Year 8 and Under
1st Akash Shah, 2nd Ronan Caruana, 3rd Jai Chaudhari
Boys Year 10 and Under
1st Nils Carter de Jong, 2nd Abdullah Akbar, 3rd Max Watts

David Harris
Chairman – Essex Junior Squash