The dominance of Yorkshire juniors in the Inter County Championship continued into the 2016-17 campaign with 7 out of the age groups once again qualifying for the finals weekend held at Pontefract Squash & Leisure Club.
Finals day on Sunday saw the girls under 13’s squad of Asia Harris, Amy Royle, Layla Johnson and Lexie Ogram play against a determined Essex team. After disposing of a very strong Hampshire team in the semi-finals, Yorkshire were favourites and lived up to the hype after they dropped just one game to win the title 3-0.
The girls under 15’s followed suit with wins for Mai Whattam and Laura Longfield toput Yorkshire 2-0 up against Buckinghamshire in the team game. But the opposition pulled one back with an impressive performance from the country’s number 1 ranked player Katie Malliff as she beat Yorkshires Lydia Robinson 3-0. Under pressure both Ophelia Watson and Amber Copley stepped up to the mark to record 3-0 wins and retain the title with a 4-1 team result.
After producing a fantastic performance in the semi-finals against Essex, Yorkshire knew they had to up their game once more against Kent in the final. Polly Clark, Aisha Forster and a 3-2 clincher from Emma Gill saw the title head north towards Yorkshire. Semi-final hero Grace Clark and captain Poppy Jarram were unable to beat tough opposition but the title was already won.
Hopes were high for a fourth Yorkshire title from the boys under 17’s after losses by Connor Watson and Sam Davey were rectified by wins from Sam Todd and Harry Anderson to make it 2-2. But in the deciding match the Hampshire number 1 was too strong for Ben Sockett and Yorkshire were unable to add to their winning tally.
Only the boys under 15 team missed out in stage 2 but Jordan Stewart, Jack Walmsley, Matthew Readshaw, Matthew MacGregor and George Bidder can be proud of the way they battled against strong opposition – they will be a force to contend with in the next campaign.
The girls under 19’s (Charlotte Jagger, Gabriella Mawson and Charlotte Fish); boys under 13’s (Ben Beachill, Ben Parlour, Joseph Royle and Alec and Sam Tomlinson) and the boys under 19’s (Stuart MacGregor, Elliot Ridge, Yusef Forster, Ben Merchant and Joseph Twigge) were all beaten by eventual tournament winners Sussex, Leinster and Surrey respectively on Saturday in the semi final.