The Lilleshall Squash & Racketball club put our budding squash stars forward for any tournament that comes along. Following an excellent participation at the Birmingham New Street exhibition, it was a no-brainer for us to go to the 2022 Shropshire Juniors Open Squash Tournament. Our squash stars were on tenterhooks as the tournament approached with spirits very high all around including the coaches and parents.
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning that greeted us at 9.30 a.m. for the start of the tournament, not that squash needs the weather. It does however set the mood for a friendly family day out and a tough squash test for our group. We arrived with a group of eight children (five boys and three girls) with one down, as Edward Moore was unwell. However, to set the tone for the day, his younger brother Billy stepped up into his brother’s age group to help the organisers.
The early game between Will Bubb and Billy (Boys under 13s) was very competitive and Billy put up an amazing fight, but Will emerged as victor as we had expected, given that Billy had stepped into the slot on behalf of his older brother. At the same time a young star George McGurk was competing on the next court and certainly caught our eye. Then it was time for the under 15 girls with Lee-May Carey and Emma Furnival playing. Lee-May prevailed but the girls had a great time on court. These early games got our kids familiar with tournament protocols such as warms ups, spinning the racket for serve and generally getting used to having a referee/scorer as well as a crowd watching. It was good that the organisers asked so many of the children to mark/referee the games which was a challenge for all but they all enjoyed being in the chair and it re-enforced the need for players to become comfortable with scoring accurately.
Next up was Archie Bubb verses Ben Furnival in the boys under 17s category. This was a tight match as the coaches were expecting it to be, with Archie coming out on top. Joshua Naylor and Aimee Naylor playing in the Boys U13 and Girls U15 respectively were next up playing at the top of their game, but against much tougher opponents. During many of the matches it was clear that many of the Shrewsbury children were stronger overall as they spend up to five hours a week on court either training or just playing. Our children only receive 45 minutes of coaching a week and other activities at school keep them busy all week. However, despite this our children competed with determination and a great big smile. None was better than Aimee who during the last game of the tournament against the soon to be under 15 girls champion Nia Lincoln, had everyone laughing as she chased the black dot around the court and chuckling at every point she lost – playing in the right spirit. It was a similar tough assignment when both Archie and then Ben had to play Jayden Ingram, who was operating at a national squash level for his age category and is a name to watch out for.
When the tournament finished, despite some very tough opponents we had achieved far more than we had expected. Our own Billy was the first to be awarded a trophy for Shropshire Open Champion in the under 9s boys – there was resounding applause for Billy as he even won a match in the under 13 boys category! Next was Will Bubb, as runner up under 13s boys (George McGurk the winner) and then Lee-May Carey as runner up in the girls under 15s category (Nia Lincoln the winner). Last but not least was Archie Bubb, winning runner up in the boys under 17s category with Jayden Ingram, the obvious and deserving winner.
The day was very well organised by Ian Tanner and his team which included Ben Schur. An all-day BBQ outside kept us all fed and hydrated and was so popular with our own Claire Furnival helping out. All of our parents stopped until the end and supported their children throughout. Our children’s squash is obviously still a ‘work in progress’ but certainly no work is needed on their
attitude. Well done to all.