The 2016/2017 Essex Junior Squash Grand Prix season got off to a great start today with Round 1 at the Lexden Rackets and Fitness Club today.

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.

With a number of players moving up the Essex Junior Squash development structure, there were a few new faces entering their very first Grand Prix event today. The level of squash from the “newbies” was very exciting and showed the strength of talent we have within the County. In particular Ben Munson playing his first event Squash event, went on to win the Year 8 & under without dropping a single game.

Game of the day for all concerned had to be the Year 6 & under match between Ben Spurgeon and Owen Coleman. There were occasions when both players seemed weighted down by the size of their rackets but the boys put on a fabulous show of squash, grinning from ear to ear as they played each and every point. The watching crowd gave a rapturous applause at the end of this match, the loudest of the day.

In the Girls Year 6 & Under, Emma Logan continue where she left off last season by sweeping all before her to take GP1 with Amelia Brooke second and Felicity Halim, third.

In the Girls Year 8 & Under, three girls from last season’s Year 6 competition who had moved up in years battled it out for the top spot. Lara Newton having finished runner-up Yr6 last season got her Year 8 campaign off to a great start, winning all her matches without dropping a game. In second place came Martha Hoggarth with Anna Daniel completing the top three.

In the Girls’ Year 10 & Under last year’s Yr8 runner-up Daisy Newton, started swiftly and with purpose. In what turned out to be the Year 10 decider, Daisy defeated her closest rival Libby Connor 2/1 in what was probably the closest encounter of the day 12/10 10/12 11/9. The match ended with rapturous applause from the watching crowd.

In the Boys Year 6 & Under debuts for Samuel Thickbroom, Owen Toleman, Ben Spurgeon and George Woodhead livened up what is always a lively group of players. Match of the day for the awwww factor was without doubt Ben Spurgeon v Owen Toleman. As for the squash, Samuel Thickbroom on his first ever outing swept all before him to take the Yr6 accolades which saw him win all his matches 2/0. A player to watch out for in the future! Second in the group was James Sydenham; his only loss throughout the day was to Samuel.

In the Boys 8, debutant Ben Munson blitzed the group in his first ever tournament, not just grand prix. He swept all before him without dropping a single game, taking the group by 3 points in the end. Second was George Sweeting with Sebastian Waugh finishing 3rd.
The Boys Year 10 & Under group saw a couple of players from last season’s Year 8 group joining some of the 2015/2016 regulars. After his successful introduction to last season’s Year 8 group Ronan Caruana, having moved up to Year 10 stamped his mark on the season opener taking 4 wins out of 4. His only game dropped was to last season Under 10 winner, Nils de Jong, even so, Ronan completed a 2/1 win, 10/12 11/9 11/0. Second was Flynn McKennon and third went to Nils.

I would like to thank Paul Allen and all the staff at Lexden Rackets and Leisure Centre for allowing us to take over their squash club for the day and to all the volunteers of Essex Junior Squash who gave up their Sunday to run another successful Grand Prix.

A special thanks to Essex Junior Squash players Eli Barrott and Josh Stinson for coming along to spend their Sunday refereeing all day! Also, thank you to all those parents who we coerced into marking during the course of the day.
A big thank you to the parents for bringing their Juniors along , I hope you enjoyed the day and that we were able to shed some light on how to get on in the game of squash.

Final Results:
Girls Year 6 – 1st Emma Logan, 2nd Amelia Brooke, 3rd Felicity Halim
Girls Year 8 – 1st Lara Newton, 2nd Martha Hoggarth, 3rd Anna Daniel
Girls Year 10 – 1st Daisy Newton, 2nd Libby Connor
Boys Year 6 – 1st Samuel Thickbroom, 2nd James Sydenham, 3rd Matthew Salmon
Boys Year 8 – 1st Ben Munson, 2nd George Sweeting, 3rd Sebastian Waugh
Boys Year 10 – 1st Ronan Caruana, 2nd Flynn McKennon, 3rd Nils Carter de Jong

Grand Prix 2 takes us to Woodford Wells Tennis and Squash Club on Sunday 9th October.

We look forward to seeing you all then.

David Harris – EJS Chairman

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