The Under 11s were welcomed into the Inter County fold with a fantastic inaugural event at Manchester’s National Squash Centre on Saturday 22 June. Twelve boys’ and six girls’ county teams competed in an action packed day that saw Sussex claim the girl’s title and Gloucestershire underlined their status as one of the top junior counties in the country by winning the boys’ event.
Just three weeks since being crowned the English Under 11 Champion Torrie Malik lead the Sussex attack and backed up by Florrie Edwards & Laura Page quite simply swept the opposition away without dropping a game in all five rounds. However they had to wait until the very end of the day to celebrate as going into the final round Middlesex had matched them with 4 wins to their name. The final match between the pair became the decider and although Middlesex’s Tara Hayes, Sophie Wood and Abbie Wilkinson put up a great fight they couldn’t match the class of Sussex who became the first county to win an Under 11 title.
Buckinghamshire took third place after defeating Northumbria in another final round decider whileWorcestershire took fifth spot ahead of Bedfordshire who must be congratulating on entering a team and resurrecting their junior Inter Coun
The boys’ event was run in two groups with Gloucestershire and Middlesex taking top spots with five wins out of five apiece. The final was again well contested with Jack Jamieson giving Gloucestershirean early lead with victory over Ewan Luke. This was quickly backed up with a great performance from No1 string Jack Bloomfield who defeated Ben Harrison and a 3-0 victory for Gloucestershire was then completed by Jamie Carmichael who saw off Middlesex’s Matthew Wood.
Third place went to Lancashire who enjoyed playing in their own backyard as they ensured Buckinghamshire finished fourth. Sussex sneaked past Northumbria in the 5/6 play-off while the lower placing were completed by Hampshire, Durham & Cleveland, Warwickshire, Worcestershire,Merseyside & Derbyshire.
The weekend was the first opportunity for most players to compete for their county on a national stage and everyone involved approached the weekend full of enthusiasm, competitiveness and most importantly respect. The squash was played in a great spirit and everyone who took part was a credit to both their counties and the sport – and on this evidence the Inter County Championships and indeed squash has a bright future.
Hopefully the overwhelming success of this first event will see the Under 11s develop further with more counties competing in future years.
Girls’ U11 Inter County Festive
Runners Up: Buckinghamshire
3rd Place: Middlesex
4th Place: Northumbria
5th Place: Worcestersh
6th Place: Bedfordshir
Boys’ U11 Inter County Festival
Runners Up: Middlesex
3rd Place: Lancashire
4th Place: Buckinghams
5th Place: Sussex
6th Place: Northumbria
7th Place: Hampshire
8th Place: Durham & Cleveland
9th Place: Worcestersh
10th Place: Warwickshire
11th Place: Merseyside
12th Place: Derbyshire