It was the junior county championships on September 15th & 16th and for the first time, organiser Dave Barnett brought the junior show to Northern Squash club.
It proved to be a decision that inspired our own juniors to great efforts and at the vanguard of those achievements was Megan Evans, storming to two titles in the U17 and U19 Girls competitions.
In the U11 Boys event, Northern’s Dan Toole made the final, hoping to repeat his win at U9 level a couple of years ago but he found Ethan Brown from Tynemouth just a little too strong and lost 3 – 0.
The Girls U11 final was, not only an all Northern affair but also an all Naisbitt affair, with twins Ava and Kate, once again facing off in a major final. This time Kate managed to sneak the win and get house bragging rights but it was 11 – 9 in the fifth!
Northern had a finalist in each of the U13 events. Zoe Shipsey had a fantastic semi final win over the number 1 seed and Joe Elliott surpassed his seeding position of ¾ to make the final. They lost out to Mia Smith ( Newbiggin ) and Olly Forster ( Jesmond ) but put up a great show in the process.
We also had a finalist in each category at U15, with Kieran Mahoney making his first county final, only to be met by multiple county champion, Tom Walsh ( Tynemouth ) who proved to be just to strong. In the U15 girls event Katie Barker was able to send her big sister Josie away to University happy by winning the final , with a 3 – 0 win over Annabelle Satow ( Hexham )
The Boys U17 and U19 events proved to be carbon copies of last year`s events , with Northern’s Andrew Shipley doubling up but then meeting Max Fortster in both finals. Once again Max, who is also the county adult men’s champion, was too strong for Andrew and won both titles. It needs to be said that Andrew is one of the strongest juniors ever produced by our school outreach programme and he has been unlucky to have a player of Max’s quality in his age group every year.
Megan Evans also doubled up in the U17 and U19 Girls competitions. She dispatched our own Harriet Wight in the final of the U17 event and then beat both the higher seeded Rowell twins to also win the U19 competition. Megan played 6 matches over the two days but ended up with two county titles for her hard work.
All in all it was a massive achievement by Northern juniors, with 12 finalists and 4 titles!
In addition to that Holly Burdon, Shae Paterson, Abbie Ainsworth, Lucy Anderson, Abigail Bedford, Leo Degnen Potter, Sam Tufton, Finlay Wallace, Alfie Turpin, Matthew and John Thompson also made Plate finals.
It was a fantastic weekend of squash, all managed smoothly by Dave Barnett and his team of helpers. The future of Northumbria junior squash looks to be in good hands and we can look forward to a bright future.