For the very first time all age groups played on the weekend of 17th and 18th January at the same venue – Pontefract. The place was packed to capacity and with all 8 courts being used there was an electric atmosphere throughout the club.
Yorkshire were represented in 5 of the 8 age categories having 2 teams in the girls under 13’s and a team in each of the girls 15’s and 17’s and the boys 15’s and 17’s.
Saturday determined which counties would be in the finals the following day and with Yorkshire 1 and 2 in the same group in the girls under 13’s only one team could qualify. That team was Yorkshire 1, comprising of Lydia Robinson, Laura Longfield, Amber Copley and Ophelia Watson who were too strong for their first day opponents. Yorkshire 2 with Layla Johnson, Asia Harris, Lexie Ogram and Rebecca Wakefield put up a good fight but were unable to progress to the final. This very young team of mostly 10 year olds will definitely be a force to be reckoned with next season.
The girls under 15’s team had a strong line-up of Ellen Cooper, Poppy Jaram, Emma Gill, Aisha Forster and Eve Perrin and proved to be too good for their semi-final opponents Hertfordshire, winning 4-1.
It was a much tighter affair in the girls under 17’s who were taken all the way by a strong Surrey team. Gabriella Mawson and Eve Silson were beaten but Emma Campion and Charlotte Jagger won their matches putting the pressure on Charlotte Fish in the decider. This match went to 5 games with Charlotte taking the last 11-9 to put them in the final.
The boys 15’s and 17’s both came up against strong opposition in their respective finals.
Sam Todd, Harry Anderson, Ben Sockett, Tyler Simpson and Connor Watson lined up for the 15’s against a Devon Team who ran out 4-1 winners with Ben Sockett providing the only win for the team.
With 2 players missing from the under 17 team due to injuries it looked like a difficult task for Elliot Ridge, Danial Bray, Yusef Forster, Ben Merchant and Joe Twigge against a strong Sussex team but they managed a 3-2 win with Ridge, Merchant and Twigge providing the points.
So to Sunday and the finals: standing room only for spectators who were treated to top quality squash which had everything.
First up for Yorkshire were the girls under 13’s against a Kent team who were unbeaten on the Saturday. As it turned out the Yorkshire trio of Lydia Robinson, Laura Longfield and Amber Copley all had comfortable 3-0 wins against their opponents. First title in the bag for Yorkshire!
The girls 17’s battled hard against a Warwickshire team and at 2-1 up (Lucy Pritchard losing and wins from Campion and Jagger) hopes were high for a second win for Yorkshire. Unfortunately Warwickshire didn’t share those hopes and wins in the two remaining matches against Fish and Mawson took the trophy to Warwickshire.
Next the girls 15’s playing Essex. Strength in depth from the Yorkshire team proved to be the deciding factor in this tie with 3rd, 4th and 5th strings (Gill, Forster and Perrin) all posting wins to take the title.
On paper the boys 17’s had little chance of a win against a Hampshire team which included players ranked third, fourth and eighth in the country but never say never to a Yorkshire team. Bray was beaten in his third string match but Twigge and Merchant won their respective matches to put the team 2-1 up with the 1 and 2 strings to come. Surely it was too much to ask for two boys playing up a place in the order to somehow conjure up a win? Remember never say never as Ridge posted a 3-2 win with some impressive squash in the first string match to take the title for Yorkshire and Forster then won the final match to complete a memorable 4-1 win.
Once again Yorkshire ended the tournament as the most successful county with 3 titles and a runner-up position. A great result made better by the fact that the competition was held in Yorkshire!