Essex fielded three young players in the one-day Bronze Mantis Fantasy Squash Festival at Nottingham Squash Club

Joel Braddock and Travis Tatum competed in the U13 boys  while Piper Tatum(pictured above) entered a very strong Under 15 event where she was tested from the start. Piper performed well against very strong opposition and the experience will have really bolstered her rapidly developing game.

SONY DSCThere were two groups in the Boys U13 and thankfully Joel (pictured right) and Travis were not in the same one! A late withdrawal in Travis’ group (Yorkshire’s Ben Beachill decided not to share his chicken pox with the rest of the youngsters) meant a minimum of 3 matches each, with the group winners facing up for a final.

Joel was seeded 4 for the event and after winning against Lancashire’s Laurence Cull and East Region colleague Alex van Blerk, he faced the current England U11 champion and 6th ranked U13 player Sam Osborne-Wild of Worcestershire. Joel and Sam know each other well, and Sam won relatively comfortably although Joel’s shot making skills gave Sam cause for concern of a few occasions. Sam is a great target for Joel, and we’re looking forward to watching the current gap between them shrink over the coming seasons.

Travis lost his first match against the highly ranked Alhassan Khalil but returned impressive wins against the number 2 seed Scott Wright and against Michael Frew. Travis was disappointed to be denied the opportunity to test himself against Ben Beachill, but he played with his usual confidence and conviction, and the hard work he has put in over the last year showed in his performance. The rate of improvement of both Travis and Piper promises good things for Essex in the coming season.

A fun start the new season and a handy 3/4 finish for Joel and Travis.