Day 3 of the National Schools finals has been and gone. The atmosphere was electric at the National Centre and we saw some exceptional squash and teamwork.
First up was the girls 5/6th place playoff between Benenden A and Benenden B. It is always difficult to play against your own team but both played extremely well and displayed some fantastic sportsmanship. The team order stood strong as Benenden A took the fifth place position.
The boys 5/6 playoff today showed RGS High Wycombe take on John Hampden Grammar. The number 3 strings kicked of the tie with a thrilling 3-2 win to John Hampden. The theme continued and John Hampden took the 5th place medal.
In the girls 3/4 playoff between Wycombe High and Cleeve School the score was equal at 2 matches all, with one match left to be played. It all rested on the 4th strings. Both schools played superbly but Wycombe High just managed to steal the third place position. The boys 3/4 playoff between Lancing College and Gosforth Academy was an epic battle. First up was the number 3 strings, both schools looked determined not to give up, but Gosforth were just too strong and the first game went their way. The match was tied at 2 all when the number 4 strings stepped up. Once again both schools looked unwavering but in the end Gosforth took the tie 3 games to 2.
The Girls final was the match of the day. It had drama, excitement and intrigue.
The 3rd strings kicked them off and Dame Allans took it without too much bother 3-0. Gosforth did not back down however and took the 5th string match 3-0 to even up the score. Next up were the number 1’s.
The standard of play was so high it was hard to put anything in between them but Gosforth clinched it 3-1.
The 4th pairing levelled it all up again to bring it down to the number 2’s. Gosforth went 2-0 up and it looked like a done deal, but Dame Allans dug deep and played some tremendous squash to bring it back and take the win. 3-2 to Dame Allans.
Dame Allans bt Gosforth Academy 3-2
Laura Neill lost to Josie Barker 1-3 9-11, 11-9, 10-12, 6-11
Martha Spalding bt Erin Vitty 3-2 9-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9
Lowri Waugh bt Aanya Hamilton 3-0 11-6, 11-6, 11-4
Isabel Brealy bt Lucy Hutchinson 3-1 8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9
Hannah Ravenhall lost to Catriona Watling 0-3 9-11, 5-11, 7-11
The Boys final saw the two most prestigious schools in squash, Wycliffe College and Millfield School, battle it out for the chance to secure the trophy. These two great rivals did not disappoint and had the crowd biting their nails with nerves.
First up were the 3rd strings. Wycliffe came out fighting and took the game 3-1. Millfield did not lie down and take this, and their 4 and 5 string players put them back on top with 3-1 and 3-0 wins. The number 1 strings were next up on the showcourt, and gave the crowd something to shout about.
The score line does not represent how good the standard was, but Wycliffe came away with a 3-0 win and equalled the total. The number 2 strings had it all to play for. Both sides showed great strength, but Millfield tired in the 3rd game to allow Wycliffe to take the match and the Championship 3 matches to 2.
Wycliffe College bt Millfield School 3-2
Mohd Alsarraj bt Josh Owen 3-0 11-2, 11-7, 11-9
Jack Newey bt George Sawrey 3-0 11-8, 11-8, 11-1
Nathan Mead bt Ben Angilley 3-1 11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8
Cameron Stratton lost to Tom Seabrook 1-3 3-11, 7-11, 11-8, 6-11
George Hartson lost to Josh Straton 0-3 10-12, 6-11, 7-11
National Schools Finals head for Manchester
The National Squash Centre will once again hold the annual National Schools Championships finals next week. The event which includes Boys & Girls under 15 & 19 categories will see a new 6 school finals format, which has opened the competition up and may well end with new National Champions.
Proceedings begin on Monday and Tuesday with the National Schools Trophy Finals. The Trophy competitions are now firmly established as part of the event providing all schools and colleges with a second chance at reaching a National Finals and playing at the home of England Squash & Racketball.
Last year’s championships saw Millfield School and Wycliffe College taking the under 15 titles, whilst Downe House, for the second year running, and Heathside School took the under 19 trophies back with them. Will Downe House be able to retain their titles again this year? And with neither under 15’s defending champions competing in the finals this year, there will be two new champions.
Wednesday and Thursday sees the main championship finals take centre stage. The championship has been in existence since 1972 and many schools have their names etched on the prestigious National School Cups. However over recent years it has dominated by the likes of Millfield College and Wycliffe School who benefit from their long established onsite squash academies.
Millfield will have another chance to retain both the Bu19 and Gu19 titles this year, but not without tough competition in the group rounds from the likes of Dame Allans and Wycombe High in the girls competition and Harrow and Gosforth Academy in the boys. We may see the final we’ve all been waiting for in the Bu19 competition, as this year Wycliffe and Millfield have been drawn in separate groups and both stand a chance of making the final.
Last years Gu15 winners, Gosforth Academy, are becoming a major force in the competition with teams in five of the eight disciplines. Last years Bu15 winners Tewkesbury School did not quite make the finals this year, and so we will definitely see a new champion for 2014.
Monday: Boys & Girls Under 15 Trophy Finals
Tuesday: Boys & Girls Under 19 Trophy Finals
Wednesday: Boys & Girls Under 15 Championship Finals
Thursday: Boys & Girls Under 19 Championship Finals
Play begins with Semi-Finals at 10.00am each day and Finals scheduled for a 1.30pm start – all spectators are welcome free of charge.