REPORT BY DAVID HARRIS
Round Six of the 2016/2017 Essex Junior Squash Grand Prix season returned to one of its favourite venues last weekend when the event headed off to Epping Squash Club.
The Essex Junior Squash Grand Prix series is designed to provide competition for the next generation of young players. Aimed at youngsters who have yet to wear county colours, the 2016/2017 Grand Prix competition is being staged over ten months at seven different venues with points from each event counting towards an overall total. Winners and runners-up in each category will be invited to attend training with Current World top 50 player, Ben Coleman.
An influx of entries from Epping and Walthamstow in the Girls Year 6 & Under meant we had to split the group in two. With the current top 3 in our Green Group, the battle for top honours resumed with Amelie Brooke, Felicity Halim and Ruby Hester going head to head. Joining this group was GP5 winner Eleonore Dewey who made an impressive debut at the Garrison.
Round 6 went comprehensively to Amelie (pictured left). She did not drop a single game on her way to 1st place whilst the 3 remaining girls were separated by 2 points following games that went to 4 and 5 sets. In the end Amelie won by 4 points with Ruby 2nd, Felicity 3rd and Eleonore 4th.
The Girls Year 6 purple group was made up of debutants from Walthamstow and Epping and Leonie Powling in only her second Grand Prix. Vicky Te Velde from Walthamstow and Kate Hancock from Epping were on hand to see their protégés play some impressive squash throughout the day. In the end Abi Larg from Epping took top spot, with Hannah Laryea from Walthamstow finishing 2nd and Eliza Hancock from Epping 3rd.
A down on numbers Girls Year 8/10 & under saw Lara Newton take top spot in the group and the overall lead in this category with 2 rounds to go. In year 10 Daisy Newton continued her march to the overall title with a commanding win over debutant Emily Thomas from Epping.
In the Boys Year 6 & Under a flood of entries meant the category had to be split into 3 groups. 4 of the current top 5 were grouped together in the RED group along with another top 10 player, Finlay Terrell. The Yellow Group consisted of 3 players just outside the top 10 plus debutants from Aldon Anderson (Walthamstow) and Hugh Brooke (OTWS) whilst the Tan Group featured 2 players in only their 2nd ever GP (Aidan Clifford and Harry Fuller) alongside debutants Harvey Baker (West Mersea), Ben Juniper (Epping) and Austin Kershaw (Felsted).
All 3 groups provided some entertaining and highly energetic squash throughout the day. In the Red group Jack Tooley played some exceptional squash all day to win only his second only GP following 3 previous 2nd place finishes. 2nd came Ben Bushell, his only loss of the day being to eventual winner JackT. In the Yellow Group, Luca Batley followed up his 2nd place at GP5 with a convincing win which saw him drop only one game to second place George Woodhead with Sidney Jones 3rd. In the Tan Group, Austin Kershaw from Felsted, in his first GP won all matches without dropping a game. 2nd was Aidan Clifford with Ben Juniper 3rd.
In the Boys 8 & under Blue group Max Newton took on series regular Thomas Hart along with debutants Khanh Nguyen and Rex Luther whilst in the Brown Group Sebastian Waugh was pitched against Oliver Hart and newbie’s Ryan quill and Sam Frearson. Max Newton and Sebastian Waugh were the class acts of the groups, both players winning all their matches. In 2nd place behind Max was debutant Khanh Nguyen, the smile on his face lit up the place throughout the day. Second behind Sebastian was Ben Long, his only defeat of the day was to the group winner.
The Boys Year 10 & Under group saw Lewis Dumas continue to chase down the series leaders who had a 3 GP head start on him for the overall title and Lewis was in no mood to mess around. He completed the day undefeated with no games dropped, his win taking him to within 3 points of the overall lead of this group. In 2nd place and fighting hard was Ben Long defeating all but Lewis on the day.
I would like to thank Kate Hancock, Tony Rowland and Ian Hardy at Epping Squash Club for their help in setting up this event. To all the parents and coaches who helped mark throughout the day and to Tim & Elli Barrott for coming along to provide their support, all contributed to another successful Grand Prix.
Girls Year 6 (Green Group) – 1st Amelie Brooke (OTWS), 2nd Ruby Hester (Mersea), 3rd Felicity Halim (Lexden)
Girls Year 6 (Purple Group) – 1st Abi Larg (Epping), 2nd Hannah Laryea (Walthamstow), 3rd Eliza Hancock (Epping) Girls Year 8 – 1st Lara Newton (Lexden/OTWS)
Girls Year 10 – 1st Daisy Newton (Lexden/OTWS), 2nd Emily Thomas (Epping)
Boys Year 6 (Yellow Group) – 1st Luca Batley (Maldon), 2nd George Woodhead (Mersea), 3rd Sidney Jones (Mersea)
Boys Year 6 (Red Group) – 1st Jack Tooley (Lexden), 2nd Ben Bushell (Felsted), 3rd Finlay Terrell
Boys Year 6 (Tan Group) – 1st Austin Kershaw (Felsted), 2nd Aidan Clifford (OTWS), 3rd Ben Juniper (Epping)
Boys Year 8 (Blue Group) – 1st Max Newton (Lexden/OTWS), 2nd Khanh Nguyen (Walthamstow), 3rd Thomas Hart (Felsted)
Boys Year 8 (Brown Group) – 1st Sebastian Waugh (Woodford Wells), 2nd Oliver Hart (Felsted), 3rd Ryan Quill (Epping)
Boys Year 10 – 1st Lewis Dumas (Kingswood), 2nd Ben Long (Brentwood School), 3rd Sebastian Dove (Felsted)
LATEST TABLES AND STANDINGS
Grand Prix 7 has regrettably been moved from Maldon due to the loss of a court at the club which makes running the GP series impossible. Stepping in to fill the void is another round at the Garrison in Colchester on Sunday 30th April 2017.
We look forward to seeing you all then.
David Harris – EJS Chairman