The Best of Britain’s junior squash players descended on Nottingham at the weekend to contest the 2018 British Junior Championships and they were joined by Luton’s three young female players Sophia John and sisters Lily and Natalie Main. Sadly for the three it wasn’t to be this time as the three failed to match expectations.
The first to fall was John in the Girls Under 15 category. John picked up a minor injury in a recent match and it clearly hampered her in her first match as she lost 3-0 to Hampshire’s Florence Kersley, a match she would ordinarily expect to win. John withdrew from the event and now faces a battle to be fit for the premier event of the season the British Open in January.
Also in the GU15 category was the eldest Main sister, Lily, who drew Suffolk’s Emma Bartley in the first round, one of the top seeds in the event. Whilst Main battled hard and won some rallies well she was ultimately outclassed by the player who would eventually make the final. Main faced Scot Jemma Young in the second round. Young ran out a 3-1 winner in the end and Main was left to reflect on missed opportunities in the first two games.
Next up for Lily was Amy Faergemann from Surrey. Main lost the first narrowly before taking the second on a tie-break. Main looked to be easing through as she took the third comfortably, but Faergemann was having none of it as she squared it at 2-2, before Main regrouped to take the match. Facing Gloucestershire’s hard hitting Bhuvana Kumar in the next round. Main used height well to negate Kumar’s power but ultimately went down 3-0. In her final match Main faced another Scot in the shape of Jessica Shaw. In a fiercely contested match Main triumphed 3-1 taking the fourth 16-14 in the 5th, giving her a final finishing position of 27th.
There were high hopes in the GU13 category for Natalie Main seeded 4th overall. A bye in the first round meant a long wait to find out her first opponent and it transpired to be Essex’s RenithaSrindran, whom she comfortably beat in the recent Regional Championships. However, Main seemed to lack focus and ultimately was lucky to prevail 3-2.
In the quarter final she faced Lancashire’s diminutive Charlie McCrone. It had been two years since Main had lost to McCrone, ironically at the same stage in GU11 category. Main was clearly out of sorts as she fell 2-0 behind. However, she showed tremendous resolve to level it at 2 each. Despite a bad start in the deciding 5th it looked as though the momentum was beginning to swing the Luton girl’s way before she tinned a regulation forehand drive and it was all over.
Clearly disheartened by the defeat she faced Cheshire’s Isobel Sargent and suffered arguably her worst defeat in tournament squash going down 3-2. Like her older sister she faced a Scot in her final match. Having put the previous day’s disappointments behind her she ran out a comfortable winner against Robyn McAlpine to finish 7th overall.
Next up for the Main girls is a trip to Wroclaw for the Polish Open.