Essex junior squash is driving a healthy schools programme spearheaded by coaches Chris Vine, Lauren Selby and Paul Allen.
Recently, 64 kids from 16 different schools battled it out in the Colchester Primary Schools Regional Mini Squash Schools League Finals at Lexden Squash Club with Chappel School emerging as victors.
Their team of Marcus Dunn, Guy Bishop, Ollie Brett, Lucy Morgan and Elizabeth Dolman came out on top after eight schools went head to head in the finals, sponsored by C&SV Consultants Ltd and the North Essex Squash Academy.
The finals were the culmination of three-months of competition. The final eight top teams, made up of two boys and two girls from each school, came from Dedham Lawford, Ardleigh St Marys Dragons and Lions teams (Manningtree), and Stanway, Mersea Island, Chappel and Tiptree Heath from the Tiptree and Stanway area.
Thirty two excited children turned up to play three play-off matches in a seeded group format. Essex Squash Development Coach, Chris Vine organised the event and gave the children a quick talk before play to explain that teams would play in ranked order and that every point would count, the team that had most points would win the competition.
The first round of matches saw tournament favourites Dedham narrowly defeat Tiptree Heath 36-33 while and on the court next door Chappel had a narrow win against Lawford 41-34. Ardleigh Dragons beat Mersea 44–24 and Stanway overcame Ardleigh Lions 44-36.
The next round saw Dedham overcome Stanway 41-28 while Chappel beat Ardleigh Dragons 44-28. Lawford lost to Tiptree Heath 31-41 and Mersea beat Ardleigh Lions 40-29.
The last round of matches saw a 7th/8th play-off between local rivals Lawford and Ardleigh Lions with Lawford emerging winners 37-32 The 5th/6th place was contested between Tiptree Heath and Mersea with Tiptree taking the honours 44-27.
The 3rd and 4th play-off was an exciting and even match between Ardleigh Dragons and Stanway with Ardleigh winning 36-31.
The final was a dramatic affair between the top two seeds, Chappel and Dedham. The Chappel team of Marcus Dunn, Guy Bishop, Ollie Brett, Lucy Morgan and Elizabeth Dolman proved to be just too strong for the Dedham team Rory Anderson, Wilf Mortimer, Ellie Hewes and Lexi Ross winning 38-30.
All the children were then duly presented with their deserved winning trophies and certificates by Chris Vine and Lexden Squash professional Paul Allen who was “very impressed with the number of schools involved and their commitment and determination.”