Arleigh Junior Open
The weekend of the 7th and 8th December brought squash players from far and wide to Ardleigh Hall near Colchester for the Ardleigh Junior Open.
Organised by Lauren Selby, the Ardleigh Junior Open is the first England Squash & Racketball junior Bronze tournament to be run at the club since she became involved in the coaching programme.
The event had an international flavour with 12 Norwegians and 4 Channel Islanders (Guernsey) which created a buzz amongst the English players, some of whom were playing international opposition for the first time.
The Boys U11s was won by Nicolai Brandstadmoen Bo from Norway. Nicolai is the current Nordic Junior Open winner and took his good form into the tournament. He defeated Suffolk’s Tate Harms 3-0 in a closely contested Final. The Girls U11s was won by Suffolk’s Emma Bartley, the U11 East Region Champion. Emma stormed to victory without dropping a game. Lucy Cox finished 2nd.
The Boys U13s event had an extremely strong field. In the Semi Finals Owen and Jay Ledger played against Tim Bacon and Charlie Martin respectively. Owen dropped the first game against the No.1 seed, but fought back to win 3-1. Charlie played confidently to win 3-0 and secure a place in the Final. The quality of squash in the Final was fantastic and after many sways in momentum Charlie, who plays at Lexden, won 3-2.
In the Girls U13s category 5 out of 6 players were from Essex, the other being from Norway. Ellie Hewes ran away with the title without dropping more than 5 points in any game. Her touch and court awareness proved too much of a challenge for her opponents. Madeleine Hylland used her reach and strength to clinch the runners up spot.
In the Girls U15s event Norfolk’s Bonnie Butler strolled to victory, winning the Final 3-0 against Amber Sparrow.
In the Boys U15s, Essex’s Joe Blackmur upset the seedings by taking the title. Joe defeated the U13 East Region Champion, Josh Perkins 12-10 in the fifth in the first round, before knocking out Cameron Haddow in the Semis. In the Final he defeated Ben Richardson in another five game thriller.
In the Girls U17s Chloe Kalvo from Norway took the title, winning comfortably against local player Jess Cuthbert.
Lastly, the Boys U17s category produced some competitive and exciting matches. In the Quarter Finals the No.1 seed, Milo Butler, and the No.2 seed, George Stammers, were knocked out by Bjorn Rune and Sam McCoy respectively. Arleigh’s Will Southworth took advantage of the open draw to take the title. He overcame McCoy and Aaron Allpress before defeating the Norwegian, Rune, in the Final.
Lauren Selby, the tournament organiser, said: “This was a fantastic event and a big thank you to Principle Heating Solutions and my colleagues for their support and help throughout. Bev Collins also ran a raffle over the two days with many sought after prizes (a signed white ball by Ramy Ashour) and over £300 was raised for teenage cancer”.