Our objective for this event was to get our junior community back playing squash, ensure they enjoy their experience and encourage them to tell all their mates how much fun squash is!
Initially, we had 24 entries, but unfortunately 6 players didn’t turn up due to Covid and other issues. Whilst it was less than we had hoped for, it was great to see so many children having fun on a squash court.
Our Tournament Programme Manager, Des Schalkwyk, had to complete some last minute rearrangement of the groups and concluded that mixed under 17/19s and mixed under 13/15s was the best format for the county closed events. The aim was to ensure everyone had the opportunity to play different players of a similar standard, learn new skills and have fun.
The under 17/19 and under 13/15 groups each played a ‘round robin’ tournament, the format depending on the number of players in each group, so that everyone had several matches. Both groups ended with a final between the top players, watched by their fellow players, parents and spectators.
In the under 17/19 event, Michael Spencer beat Danni Kalar in the final 3/0 (11/6, 11/7, 11/4). This resulted in Michael being crowned the boys under 19 and Danni the girls under 19 champions. In addition, Adam Mackinnon beat Jack Timberley 3/0 (11/4, 11/5, 11/1) in the 3rd/4th play off.
In the under 13/15s, England ranked Dylan Kalar beat Ben Graham 2/0 (11/1, 11/2) in the first semi-final match and Umut Kuzey Yaziti beat Isabel Harvie 2/0 (11/7, 11/4) in the other semi-final. However, in the final, Dylan was too strong for a tired Umut and won 2/0 (11/0, 11/0). These results saw Dylan crowned boys under 15 and Isabel the girls under 15 champions.
The development group were treated to a practice session led by one of Berkshire’s top lady squash players, Jasmin Kalar, which was followed by a fun competition. The winner was Arjun Parmar, who beat Alex Catton 15/13 in the final play-off. This was a great match and could have been won by either player. Hopefully we will see these stars of the future playing in the county closed championships next year.
This group were later joined by some of the under 13s, who had found the main competition a bit strong for them. Play continued for some considerable time after the event and thanks go to Rachel Catton, Alex’s mum, who ran this group superbly - thank you Rachel!
After the finals, Des presented the prizes and thanked all the volunteers. Thanks again to Andras for establishing the tournament, Linda Parsley, Sophie Beake and Jasmin Kalar for helping out and going on court with the juniors. Also, thanks must go to Steve Attfield, Dan Harvie, Rachel Catton and Jon Hope for marking and other support.
In addition, Berkshire Squash would like to provide a special mention to Wellington Health and Fitness Club for providing the courts free of charge to the committee and supporting Des on the day. Please click on the links below for the competition tables and also our Facebook page to see more photos.
We plan to invest in our junior programme and there is a lot of learning the committee will take away from this event to hopefully make it even better in future. However, after 18 months of inactivity, it was great to see our juniors back playing squash, having fun and getting some valuable exercise!