NORTHUMBRIA’s rising young stars held their own against the Best of British in Manchester – with Northern’s Michael Mattimore again leading the charge.
The hard-hitting dynamo justified his 5/8 seeding with an impressive fifth-placed finish in the Boys U15 section of the British Junior Championships.
In a tournament where a first round win takes you into a 16-player monrad, and four more matches guaranteed, Mattimore, Max Forster (Northumberland Club), Chris Wiggins (Alnwick), Jamie Todd and Laura Neill (both Tynemouth) all finished in the top half of the draw in their age group.
Lowri Waugh, Amy Rowell, Tegan and Cai Younger all failed to upset the odds against seeded players in their first round draws, while Georgia Webster also lost her first match but bounced back to win the Plate in the Girls U15s.
Mattimore beat Jordan Warne 3-1 in his opening match, then won a 50-minute five-setter against Yorkshire’s Nick Wall to ensure a top-8 finish.
Hampshire’s Adam Corcoran proved too strong in round 3, winning 3-0, but Michael finished strongly with 3-1 wins over James Wyatt (Bucks) and Cumbria’s Daniel Harrison.
Forster went to the Max at U13s, seeing off Nottinghamshire’s Sam Hay 3-0, before losing to Simon Herbert (Leicestershire) and also bouncing back with two successive wins.
Kent’s Jack Mitterer went down 3-1 and Warwickshire’s Lewis Anderson fell by the same scoreline to 9/16 seed Forster, who finished 12th overall.
Chris Wiggins and Jamie Todd finished 13 and 14th respectively after the former won a titanic 52-minute, 3-2 tussle in the last round.
Alnwick’s Wiggins, Beat Jonathan Camfield (Surrey), lost to Jack Martell (Sussex) and Paddy Harrison (Middlesex), then hit top gear with a 3-0 win over Hampshire’s Cameron Ward before the win over his Northumbria rival.
Todd, like Wiggins a 9/16 seed, beat Aiden O’Brien 3-0 then lost to No 2 seed Patrick Rooney (3-0 – with the first a 12-10 epic) and Lancashire’s Olly Harris (3-1) before a walkover win over Hampshire’s Robbie Keefe.
At Under 13 girls, Lowri Waugh (Northumberland Club) lost as expected to Alice Green of Essex in the first round, but found her form with an impressive win over Maia Pannel (Dorset) in the knockout plate, before going out to Derbyshire’s Gabriela Barton.
Laura Neill lived up to her 9/16 seeding at U15s with an impressive 11th-placed finish, claiming wins over Emily Westall (Northants), Ciara Richards (Wales) and Bonnie Tyler (Norfolk). The Tynemouth stylist lost out to Worcestershire’s Anna Young in Round 2 and Avon’s Karina Tyma in Round 4.
Also at U15s, 5/8 seed Georgia Webster lost to Amber Marshall (3-1) in the first round, but went to take out her frustration on everyone else in the bottom half of the draw, winning the plate for a 17th-placed finish.
The Northumberland club starlet saw off Kathryn Field (Wales), Sarah Scofield (Herefordshire) and Eve Driver (Cumbria) – all without dropping a game – before clinching the plate final 3-2 over Katie Cox.
Poor Emma Rowell of Primrose had to pull out on the morning of the event after falling ill – twin sister Amy put up a brave fight in her two opening day matches, losing to Bonnie Butler of Norfolk and Cumbria’s Eve Driver.
Tegan Younger (Girls U17s) lost to 5/8 seed Elin Jones of Goucestershire, then went down 11-9 in the fifth to Leicestershire’s Leanne Herbert. Any little sister can do, Cai Younger can do too. He was defeated by Welsh No 2 Owain Taylor in the first round then, like his sibling, missed two match balls before eventually going down 3-2, 12-10 in the fifth to Hayden Tetley of Northants in Round 2.
Meanwhile, many of the North East kids and parents took time out to watch some excellent squash at the nearby Manchester Central, hosting the World Championships over the same weekend, where some very famous faces were spotted . . .