The Main sisters travelled to Nottingham at the weekend to take part in this year's British Junior Championships.
Natalie had drawn Hampshire's Olivia Keefe in the first round, a particularly tough draw given Keefe is only two places below Main in the rankings and Keefe triumphed comfortably last time out. This time, however, Main continued her recent great form and despatched the Hampshire player in three comfortable games playing some quality aggressive squash. Lily Main faced Welsh player Isobel Benyon-Cobb. It was a trip into the unknown as it had been many months since anyone had seen Benyon-Cobb play at a tournament. Main looked unusually nervous in the first and soon lost it, before looking to have rediscovered her poise to take the second in a tie break. Inexplicably she was then bagelled in the third, before levelling in another tie-break in the fourth. Main then gave Benyon-Cobb too much of a start in the fifth and a late fight back was not enough to prevent a Welsh victory.
Natalie then faced no1 seed, and ultimate event winner, Yorkshire's Asia Harris in round 2. Main did her best and battled hard, but failed to prevent a 3-0 win. Meanwhile Lily Main faced a completely unknown quantity in Warwickshire's Olivia Owens. Main seemed bereft of confidence in the first, but improved in the second losing out in a tie break. However, confidence seemed to return as she took the next two comfortably, taking it into a deciding 5th. Main looked to be in cruise control as she raced to an 8-2 lead, but Owens showed remarkable fighting spirit to level at 8-8, before Main settled down to triumph.
Day 2 saw Natalie Main face Scottish National Champion Rowen Niven. Main triumphed on their last meeting, but a mixture of Niven's improvement and Main's being slightly off her usual pace saw the Scot win 3-0. Nearby Lily faced Northumbria's Anabelle Satow. Satow showed huge improvement, but Main didn't help herself as she continued to appear to battle with internal demons and lacked consistency going down rather tamely 3-1. In the late night session Lily faced April Parry. Main looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory as she took the first two games conceding only 5 points, but a combination of lack of concentration and Parry's spirit saw the match levelled at 2 each before Main took the fifth comfortably. All that was left on the Saturday was the drama of Natalie's match against Yorkshire's Katherine Jarvis. Jarvis trains under the world class eye of Malcolm Wilstrop at Pontefract and her improvement in recent times showed through as she took the first 11-8, Main rediscovered her form of early Friday as she levelled 11-6. Jarvis took the third, but not before Main saved 4 game balls. In the next Jarvis held a total of 4 match balls before Natalie prevailed in a tie break to level up. The fifth saw Main save 7 match balls before succumbing 13-11 - a true battling performance.
Sunday's final matches didn't lack for drama either as Natalie faced Lily's 1st round conqueror Isobel Benyon-Cobb. Natalie looked to be in easy street after the first, but complained of a sore arm in the second losing it tamely 11-2. She then lost the third, but suddenly top junior and friend Hampshire's ALex Broadbridge appeared, fresh from winning the BU13 category. The words of encouragement seemed to have little impact as Natalie found herself 5 match balls down, however, showing remarkable spirit she fought back to take it to a deciding fifth, where she ran out a comfortable winner, finishing overall in 15th place. Her bigger sister Lily had far less drama against Surrey's Ailsa Bruce, winning the first two in straightforward fashion and racing to an 8-2 lead, where another loss of concentration allowed her opponent back in before she rallied to take the match in a tie-break to finish in 21st place.