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Lily shines in Pontefract

For the third National Silver event of the season the three young Luton starlets from Luton and Dunstable Squash Club headed up to Pontefract in Yorkshire to face the best youngsters from around the UK. In the end Lily Main and Sophia John exceeded their expected results whilst Natalie Main came up a bit short.


The event started on Friday evening with Natalie having the luxury of a bye it was down to the others to take centre stage. First up in her debut at Under 15 was Lily Main and she was simply blown away by the pocket rocket that is Hampshire’s Amalie Haworth. A little later Sophia John was involved in a titanic struggle against Lancashire’s Lauren Hall. Momentum swung to and fro and at 9 each in the deciding 5th game it was John who stayed more composed to take the match.


Saturday mornings ties kicked off with Natalie Main seeing off Durham and Cleveland’s Holly Shepherd without any undue problems, but her older sibling pulled off a shock, but deserved 3-1 win against Yorkshire’s Lexi Ogram. Having never taken a game off Ogram in any previous meeting Main showed the return from her recent hard work and increased confidence having been called up to be part of England Squash’s elite Aspire Programme.


Next up was Sophia John facing the number 2 seed, Suffolk’s Emma Bartley. John almost seemed inspired by Lily’s earlier exploits and played some of the best squash of her life. At times it appeared that she couldn’t quite grasp how close she was running Bartley and often led, but couldn’t close out any of the games going down 3-0.


The afternoon’s matches saw Lily face Oxfordshire’s Jasmine Tranter. Main never got to grips with Tranter’s unconventional style as she went down 3-0. Meanwhile John continued her good form against Yorkshire’s Amy Royle, but again couldn’t convert the opportunities presented, going down 3-0.


Natalie Main faced Yorkshire’s Fran Hall, a stronger player than her seeding. Having lost the two previous encounters quite tamely, Main played outstanding to take the first and had opportunities to take the second. Sadly she let emotions interfere with her game plan going down 3-1.


Lily Main played the final game of the day late on Saturday evening and whilst she was unlucky to lose the first in a tie break against Wales’s Emma Jameson, the exertions of the day took their toll as she surrendered the next two games quite weakly.


Sunday morning saw Natalie Main face Scotland’s Anna Halliday. Spectators expected a tight game given Main’s narrow victory at the first event of the season. Sadly it appeared she had forgotten to get out of bed as she slumped to a very disappointing 3-0 reverse.


Sophia John started her day much better beating the vastly improved Sophie Bolland from Hampshire without dropping a game.


In the final round of matches Lily Main faced John’s vanquished opponent from the first round Lauren Hall. Main resumed her good form but had no luck going down 3-0, losing two in tie-breaks. Having been seeded to come last though Lily was delighted to get 24th spot.


Sophia John also finished on a high beating Wales’s Georgina Lincoln in emphatic style to finish a very creditable 13th, above her seeded place.


Finally Natalie Main rediscovered some of her form in her final match against the shock player of the age group Lancashire’s Keiko Bedford. With Bedford having taken out the fourth seed earlier in the tournament a tough match was in prospect. In this kind of form Main can compete with the best and ran away a comfortable winner to finish a disappointing 7th overall.


Next up for the girls are the Regional Championships in Ipswich where there are high hopes for all three.

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