Gloucestershire Win Hat-Trick Of Titles


Gloucestershire Inter-County 2009-2010 Season

Gloucestershire junior squash players recently dominated the national county finals by winning 3 out of 4 possible boys titles, as well as a 2nd and 3rd place with the girls.

Girls U19

The first weekend of competition was hosted by Surrey where Gloucestershire were represented by both boys and girls under 19s. A clean sweep looked on the cards but it was not to be after Gloucestershire lost 3-2 to SE Wales in the final. Julianne Courtice and Becca Quiney both won at the top but Sarah Barnes, Emily Penkett and Sammy Blundell were unable to seal victory. Hattie Crawford shared the number 5 spot with Blundell and had won her match the previous day.

Boys U19

The boys under 19s were very lucky to even be at the finals weekend have lost to SE Wales in the final qualification stage a month earlier. The team scraped into the finals as best runner up and only did so by 1 single point! The team was strengthened for the finals with England number 3 Nathan Lake, back from injury and proved far too string for Yorkshire and SE Wales as they won both matches 5-0 to retain the title they won last year. Nathan Lake was backed up by Irish international Theo Anderson, Recent national runner up Tom Ford, Mark Broekman and Scott Young.

The following weekend Gloucestershire had 3 teams in the national finals – girls and boys under 13 and boys under 17, which were held at the national sports centre in Lilleshall.

Girls U13

The under 13 girls (Ellin Jones, Florie Smith and Amber Peacey) narrowly lost 2-1 to SE Wales in their semi-finals but beat Warwickshire to finish 3rd.

Boys U13

The boys under 13s played Sussex in their semi final. Sussex had brought down a massive amount of extra support and took over much of the viewing area. Ryan Wilson, playing no.3, got Gloucestershire off to a good start with a 3-0 victory. Next up, Alex Schranz (no.5) lost 3-1 in a close match and Alex Lane (no.4) played next where the first two games could have gone either way, but eventually lost 3-0. Both Alex’ s were affected by the rowdy crowd. Being 2-1 down the pressure was on the top two players, Louis Penkett and Ewen Howard. Both used their experience to keep calm in the unsettling atmosphere and silenced the crowd by both winning 3-0.

This set up a final against Yorkshire (holders from last year) Ryan was up first winning 3-0 Alex Schranz had a tough game, but won 3-1 and Alex Lane won 3-0 and in the blink of an eye, the title was in Gloucestershire’s hands. Louis and Ewen still played their matches with the enthusiasm still flowing. Louis lost 3-0 in 3 very close game against the English top ranked junior, and Ewen rounded off a great victory by beating his opponent 3-2 in a great game of squash.

Boys U17

The boys under 17 team had to play Hertfordshire in their semi final. Will Hewer (No 5) and James Watkins (No 3) played first, and got the team off to a good start, both winning their matches 3 – 0 against good opponents. Tom Ford at No 1 won his first two games easily and was then put under pressure in the third to win 3 -0. The team were now in the final. Meanwhile at No 4 Wesley Howell, having gone 2 – 0 ahead let the match slip, losing 2 – 3. Last on court was Scott Young (No 2) who won his match comfortably 3-0.

The final was against Yorkshire and Gloucestershire knew that this was a big ask. Luck appeared to be with Gloucestershire as Yorkshire got off to a very unfortunate start with their No 5 pulling a muscle in the second point of the match; he retired hurt shortly thereafter. James Watkins, having lost the first game against his opponent then played a very measured match winning the fourth game 17-15 to win the match 3 -1. Wesley Howell played a much better match than his semi final, winning a close encounter 3 – 0; Gloucestershire were now champions. Tom Ford at No 1 won his match 3 -0 against a highly ranked opponent. Yet the closest match of the tie came last with Yorkshire winning the final match 3 – 2 against Gloucester’s Scott Young. Gloucestershire had won the final 4 -1 and were now National Champions.

This is by far the most successful season of county squash Gloucestershire has had to date.






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