ALNWICK’s rising star Chris Wiggins had to dig deep to clinch the showpiece Boys U19 final of the Northumbria County Championships in front of a packed crowd.
Wiggins fought superbly to triumph 3-2 after an epic encounter on Court 1 at Jesmond’s Northumberland Club, rounding off a superb weekend of squash.
He trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before clinching the last two games against force-of-nature Cai Younger. A real clash of styles, this one, with Wiggins’ smooth drives and clinical kills just overcoming the athleticism and shot variation of his Northern-based rival.
“It was a great tussle that went to and fro,” said County coach Dave Barnett, after over an hour of rich entertainment for the crowd. “It was a long, physically tough game and both juniors played a very mature match. This is Chris’ first junior county title – I know how hard he works for it and it is richly deserved.”
The weekend tournament – jointly sponsored by DB Glaziers and Dunlop – showed the great strength in depth of county junior squash at the moment – but really, there is nobody quite like Maria.
Bainbridge, that is, whose wristy flicks and fading drops from deep are joy to behold for everyone – apart from her opponent, that is.
The Northumberland Club player, who also helped run the event, yet again proved too strong for her rivals and cruised home 3-0 in the final of the Girls U19 category – ahead of clubmate Charlotte Cooper, whose hard-hitting style helped her to runners-up spot.
Tynemouth’s top male junior, Jamie Todd, so quick and very possible made of elastic, was again to the fore in the Boys U17 section, seeing off ‘The Broughtinator’ (Northern’s fast-improving Sam Broughton) 3-0 in the final to clinch another well-deserved trophy to add to his collection.
It was double glory in the girls U15/U17 where strong opponents one and all were caught like flies in Georgia’s Web(-ster). The steely-eyed Jesmond starlet really found her form to beat Charlotte Cooper 3-1 in the final of the U17 event (11-8,11-5, 8-11, 11-6) – a superb match with some long, hard-hitting rallies . . .
Then had a short nap (possibly) before clinching the U15 title, 3-0 against Tynemouth’s smooth shot-maker Laura Neill.
Northern’s flame-haired dynamo Michael Mattimore takes some stopping at any age level – let alone U15. As strong as an ox (but like a really fast, agile one . . . who can hold a squash racket), he again proved too much for the competition, clinching the county title 3-0 in the final ahead of the ever-improving Angus Forster, eldest of the unstoppable Forster squash clan.
Middle brother Max proved too much for the competition at U13s – emerging triumphant 3-0 ahead of Northern’s Andrew Shipley in a hotly-contested final – the sort of match which shows the future of county squash is in safe hands . . .
While baby bear Ollie Forster was not to be outdone, lifting the Mixed Under 9 title with some aplomb.
The younger girls age groups is thriving these days; Northern’s Erin Vitty showed a cool head and silky racket skills to clinch the U13 trophy, with a 3-1 win over Lowri Waugh, while Katie Merlane of Northern and Beth Dean (Northumberland Club) produced an enthralling battle in the final of the U11s, with Katie edging home 11-6, 11-9, 11-5.
And in the Boys U11 section, Tynemouth hotshot Tom Walsh proved top dog, seeing off strong competition from the fast-improving Dan Neill – 3-0 but a real nail-biter, this, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8.
RESULTS (top four):
BOYS U19: 1) Chris Wiggins; 2) Cai Younger; 3) Jamie Todd; 4: Dan Wareing
GIRLS U19: 1) Maria Bainbridge: 2) Charlotte Cooper: 3) Tegan Younger: 4) Caitlin Vitty
BOYS U17: 1) Jamie Todd; 2) Sam Broughton; 3) Dan North; 4) Tom Wight
GIRLS U17: 1) Georgia Webster; 2) Charlotte Cooper; 3) Tegan Younger; 4) Ellie Watling
BOYS U15: 1) Michael Mattimore; 2) Angus Forster; 3) Joe Wareing; 4) Mattew Carr
GIRLS U15: 1) Georgia Webster; 2) Laura Neill; 3) Josie Barker; 4) Emma Rowell
BOYS U13: 1) Max Forster; 2) Andrew Shipley; 3) Tom Cornell; 4) Lewis Follin
GIRLS U13: 1) Erin Vitty; 2) Lowri Waugh; 3) Aanya Hamilton; 4) Lucy Anderson
BOYS U11: 1) Tom Walsh; 2) Dan Neill; 3) Alistair Little; 4) Oliver Forster
GIRLS U11: 1) Katie Merlane; 2) Beth Dean; 3) Naomi Appleby; 4) Katie Barker