Bumper crop of wins for Northern juniors at home tournament Juniors from around the region came to Northern recently to contest 10 different age groups in the Dunlop Newcastle Northern Junior Open sponsored by QS Lawson & Thompson. The tournament had over 80 entries, a third of whom were girls. Most of the entries were from the Newcastle area but we did have entries from Durham, Cleveland and even South Wales!
The standard of the U11 and U13 competitions shows that the future of junior squash at Northern is healthy. All 17 entries in the boys U11 competition were from Northern and in the final Aidan Mahoney beat Duncan Rutherford 3 – 0. Six of the seven entries in the girls U11 event were from Northern but it was the seventh entry, Sophie Johnstone from Jesmond that won the final, beating Northern's Ebony Holmes. Northern's Sam Tufton has just moved into the Boys U13 category, so his performance in making the final was exemplary but he met an outstanding player in Malachi Tindale from Darlington in the final and lost 3 – 0. The girls U13 final wasn't just an all Northern affair, it was an all Naisbitt affair with twins Ava and Kate contesting the final.. it was Ava's turn to take a title with a 3 – 1 win.
In two weeks time, Gosforth Academy take five teams to the national schools squash finals and the number 1 and 2 from their keystage 3 team, made the final of the girls U15 event. Shae Paterson upset the seedings with a 3 – 0 win against Zoe Shipsey. They'll be supporting each other in a couple of weeks, hoping for another national schools title for Gosforth. The Boys U15 event provided the only final that didn't contain a Northern player. Isaac Tindale was trying to emulate his younger brother Malachi against Jamie Silvester from North Wales. It was a titanic struggle and Isaac's strength just carried him to a 3 – 2 win.
Katie Barker is a perennial winner in this event, taking over the mantle of her older sister Josie, who is now at University. Katie took on Beth Dean of Jesmond in the final of the U17 Girls and was a comfortable 3 – 0 winner. In the boys event, Northern's Kieran Mahoney is back to his best after recent injury and he had too much for William Silvester of North Wales, with a 3 – 1 win in the final of the U17 boys tournament. A good day at the office for the Mahoney family.
In the U19 events, all the finalists were Northern players. Harriet Wight beat Beth Tudor 3 – 0 in the girls event .. probably the last time we`ll see these girls in the event as they are off to University in September. For once Northern's Andrew Shipley didn't meet national champion Max Forster from Jesmond in the boys event and he was able to see off Matthew Thompson 3 - 0 in a competitive final.
So that meant that Northern had seven winners and seven runners up in the ten events, an unprecedented haul and proof that our junior section is in good health. Northern's junior open is recognised as one of the best organised events on the junior calendar, largely because it attracts the best sponsors, thank you QS Lawson & Thompson, Sport Newcastle and Dunlop. Also we have an army of volunteers that work really hard to make it an enjoyable weekend for every entrant.