The Active Essex School Games re-introduced squash into their programme this year and after last week’s hugely successful finals at The Colchester Garrison, it is safe to say the decision was bang on, .
On Friday 13th February nine primary school teams trooped over to the Corporal Budd VC squash courts at the Garrison to do battle. Most of the schools were from the North of Essex, mainly due to the vast amount of school squash programmes in the area. Trinity St Mary’s travelled the longest distance, making the trip from South Woodham Ferrers. The competition would help us find out who are the best primary school squash teams in Essex.
Year 5 winners Ardeligh St Mary’s with Brian Shaw from Active Essex
The Year 5 category had three eager teams competing for the title. Ardleigh St Mary’s, Tiptree Heath and Trinity St Mary’s entered their teams, two boys and two girls per team. The matches were competitive andit was clear some of the players were experienced squash players.
Trinity St Marys came in 3rd place having only recently been introduced to squash. They gave full effort throughout and certainly didn’t look out of place showing huge potential for the future. The top two places were between Ardleigh St Marys and Tiptree Heath. The technical and tactical awareness of Ardleigh’s team proved too strong, benefiting hugely from the school coaching programme headed up by top Essex coach Lauren Selby. Ardleigh St Mary’s team of Troy Callen, Alfie Austin, Rosie Snook and Martha Hoggarth won 36 points to 26 giving them the Year 5 Essex title.
In the older age group six teams were going face to face for the Essex crown. Ardleigh St Mary’s, Copford, Holy Trinity (Eight Ash Green), Lawford, Mersea Island and Tiptree Heath all played each other once. The quality of squash was exceedingly high and some of the rallies were physically very demanding for the players. There were some high calibre players taking part, Joel Braddock, who is one of England’s best players for his age and also Hannah Morley, an up and coming prospect ranked 30 in England.
Tiptree Heath pipped 4th place over Mersea and Copford who came 5th and 6th respectively. There wasn’t much between the top three teams. Despite having Joel as their number one playe,r Holy Trinity finished third place with 130 points. Lawford performed well throughout demonstrating good focus and athletic ability. Lawford secured the top spot with a 146 point total over Ardleigh St Mary’s 132 points. The Lawford team (pictured above) of Kian Mistry Shah, Stanley Sykes, Elsa Cookson-Garcia and Emma Lay-Flurrie were delighted with their achievement, as was their coach Lauren Selby.
The Active Essex event, which was run by Off The Wall Squash, was a resounding success. Brian Shaw from Active Essex came to present the prizes to all the players. The young talent on show was pleasing to see and the future of squash in Essex is looking positive. Next year Active Essex are hoping to grow the event, with more teams from wider areas of the county. A successful day for squash and primary school sport.