Paul Allen’s boys battle through six matches before tough final
LEXDEN quartet Joel Braddock, Harry Martin, Mikey Tallentire and Max Hyde came within a whisker of being crowned Under-11 Inter-County Champions at the National Squash Centre in Manchester on Saturday.
The four club-mates represented Essex at the second Inter-County Festival under the watchful eye of coach Paul Allen, also from Lexden, and came through six punishing group matches to book their place in the final against hot-favourites Surrey.
The iconic venue played host to 13 boys teams and nine girls from all corners of England. Each match comprised three rubbers, and like Essex, many teams took a squad of four players to be able to rotate the line-up throughout the day. Matches were best of three with a point was awarded for each rubber won, plus 4 points for winning the match.
Essex competed in the group of seven, avoiding Surrey but with the looming threat of a very handy looking Yorkshire side to tackle. The first match was against Gloucestershire and Harry, Mikey and Joel got us off to a great start with a 3-0 win, dropping only one game in the second string match.
The day went along at a fast pace, and as soon as that match was over it was time to get on court against the next opponents. With one change at 3rd string, Joel, Mikey and Max overcame Durham and Cleveland 2-1. After a short break Cumbria were up next and Joel, Harry and Max won that one 3-0.
Essex were now in an excellent position but Yorkshire had also won all their matches without conceding a rubber. Harry faced a strong Yorkshire opponent at string two and narrowly lost in two close games. Joel at string one was up next, facing a lad with a name to respect – Ben Beachill, son of the former World No.1 Lee Beachill.
Joel knew that he would have to play well to avoid an upset here and he delivered the goods beating a talented opponent 2-0. Mikey sealed the match for Essex with a 2-1 win at 3rd string, and Essex began to look like favourites for the group. Joel, Mikey and Max duly despatched Buckinghamshire 3-0, and Joel, Harry and Max saw off Warwickshire to the same scoreline, sealing Essex a place in the Final play off against – Surrey.
Surrey had overcome Lancashire and Warwickshire in their group led by the impressive Tim Lloyd, a current top five payer, at one. They also had immense strength in depth throughout their team, with a couple of un-ranked but clearly very experienced and strong players at two and three. Joel noted that their third string, Ethan Chak, had competed well in last weekend’s Under 13 event at the Essex Junior Open, so we knew what the boys were facing.
Mikey had the task of playing Ethan, and put in a great effort as he always does, chasing everything and retrieving most of it too. But Ethan’s accuracy and length was too much and valiant as ever, Mikey lost in two.
Joel was up next to play Tim, again knowing that he would have to be at the top of his game to make a dent in the Surrey lad’s considerable armour. Joel started well, taking the first game and clearly giving Tim more problems than he had expected. In the second, nerves seemed to take hold and Joel, having dropped a couple of poinst behind was unable to get a foothold in the game, and the story was the same in the third with a very frustrated Joel losing 2-1 but determined to “have him next time”!
In the dead rubber, Harry played an un-ranked lad who was unknown quantity. But as we had feared, this was not a good thing! Harry put in a sterling effort against a very physically strong and hard-hitting player and lost in two close games.
Essex, however, had finished Runners Up in England at Under 11. We’re very proud of our boys, and would like to thank super coach Paul Allen for keeping them going all day, Essex Junior Squash for giving them the opportunity to compete, and the organisers, staff and referees at the event – the whole thing was organised like clockwork, and ran perfectly. We all had a brilliant day.
The girls’ group positions after the round-robins were:
A – 1, Yorkshire, 2, Lancashire, 3, Buckinghamshire, 4, Worcestershire
B – 1, Warwickshire, 2, Northumbria, 3, Gloucestershire, 4, Bedfordshire, 5, Merseyside
The boys’ group positions after the round-robins were:
X-1, Surrey, 2, Northumbria, 3, Worcestershire, 5, Lancashire, 6, Merseyside, 7, Chiltern
Z -1, Essex, 2, Yorkshire, Durham & Cleveland, 4, Buckinghamshire, 5, Gloucestershire, 6, Cumbria, 7 Warwickshire.
WORCS V BEDS
1 Daisy Hill v Sophia John 2-0 11/6 11/8
2 Mollie Flynn v Natalie Main 2-0 4/11 7/11
3 No Player v W/O 0-2
Result: WORCS bt BEDS 2-1
BUCKS V GLOS
1 Charlotte Murzynowksa v Bhisvana Seuthiel 0-2 4/11 5/11
2 Kaisa Goosen v Poppy Lane 0-2 6/11 7/11
3 Charlotte Court v Erin Hunt 0-2 4/11 9/1
Result: GLOS bt BUCKS 3-0
LANCS V NORTHUMBRIA
1 Lucy Gibson v Jess Arnott 2-0 11/6 11/8
2 Saran Neigham v Chloe Rimmer 2-0 11/3 11/2
3 Beth Burt v Beth Dean 0-2 3/11 9/11
Result: LANCS bt NORTHUMBRIA 2-1
YORKS V WARKS
1 Ophelia Watson v Harriet Bradley 2-0 11/3 11/5
2 Layla Johnson v Amelia Bradley 2-0 11/6 12/10
3 Millie O’Toole v Grace Elson 2-0 11/4 11/1
Result: YORKSHIRE bt WARWICKSHIRE *3-0
CUMBRIA V CHILTERN
1 Chris Butler v
2 George Johnston v
3 Zac Leathers v
Result: CUMBRIA bt CHILTERN 3-0 W/O
MERSEYSIDE V &GLOS*
1 Cory Harding v Billy Bradwell 0-2 8/11 5/11
2 Jack Whitfield v Angus Hall 0 -2 5/11 6/11
3 Harry Bloomfield v Finn Poselthwaite 1-2 11/8 9/11 6/11
Result: *GLOS bt MERSEYSIDE 3-0
LANCS V BUCKS
1 Finnlay Withington v Archie Landymore 2-0 11/1 11/2
2 Matthew Major v Konrad Pompe 2-0 11/7 11/9
3 James Corrigan v Alex Mullis 0-2 6/11 5/11
Result: LANCS bt BUCKS 2-1
WORCS V D & C
1 Sam Osbourne Wylde v Abdulla Eissa 2-0 11/2 11/2
2 Dom Bailey v Max McDonald 2-1 6/11 13/11 11/7
3 Leon Smith v William Milburn 0-2 2/11 5/11
Result: WORCS bt D & C 2-1
NORTHUMBRIA V YORKSHIRE
1 Dan Neill v Ben Beachill 1-2 7/11 14/12 10/12
2 Harry Morris v Ben Parlour 0-2 9/11 11/7 9/11
3 Alistair Little v Usman Ali 1-2 8/11 7/11
Result: YORKS bt NORTHUMBRIA 3-0
SURREY V ESSEX
1 Timothy Lloyd v Joel Braddock 2-1 8/11 11/3 11/1
2 Anoop Nithiyandam v Harry Martin 2-0 11/9 11/4
3 Ethan Chack v Michael Tallentire 2-0 11/6 11/8
Result: SURREY bt ESSEX 3-0