The 2018/19 Junior squash season kicked off with the best players from Cambs, Herts, Beds, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk descending on Ipswich at the weekend. Once the dust had settled on a very busy weekend two of the three Luton youngsters had returned triumphant in their age groups.
Sophia John kicked off the Luton youngster’s efforts in the Under 15 category with a comfortable win over Suffolk’s Amalie Clarke. Lily Main started off her campaign in the same group with a somewhat controversial defeat going down 11-9 in the deciding 5th game. At 9-8 she appeared to have hit a winner which would have given her two match balls against Essex’s Mikayla Mann, but the referee deemed it a let and Mann won the subsequent three points.
John then faced Essex’s Hannah Morley in the semi-final. Historically these have always been tight affairs, however, John’s hard work over the summer showed as she eased to a 3-0 win. In the battle for positions 5-8, Lily Main eventually prevailed 3-1 over Essex’s diminutive Leah Brooke.
In her final match Main lost 3-0 to the effervescent, and much improved Lara Newton from Essex 3-0 meaning a 6th place finish, allowing the Luton contingent to focus on the final between Sophia John and Essex’s Olivia Brodick. In the end John was simply too strong and experienced and ran out 3-0 victor to lift her second Regional title, 4 years after her first.
In the Under 13 top seed Natalie Main faced Norfolk’s Jasmine Thirst in the first of 4 group matches. Main, now a regular attendee at England Potential squads, had too much for the Norfolk youngster as she ran out 3-0 winner. In her second match she faced the surprise package of the event ManuellaHorscroft from Essex, who had earlier conquered the number 3 seed, Suffolk’s Emma Logan. Main, having got a match under her belt was ruthless in despatching the Essex youngster to set up a final match of Saturday against aforementioned Logan. Whilst Logan battled hard, Main simply had too many weapons for Logan to deal with, so Main booked her place in the final.
The withdrawal due to sickness of Suffolk’s Zoe Tanner meant that Main only had to play the final on day two where she faced long-time rival Essex’s RenithaSrindran. For the first two and half games Main played scintillating squash to which Srindran had no answer, but Main lost focus allowing the Essex girl to fight back from 6-1 down to take it. The fourth was a tighter affair, but in the end Main prevailed to take her fourth Regional title in a row.