JESMOND’S Dan Wareing scooped the coveted John Dale Trophy at the Northumberland County Junior Squash Championships.
The ever-consistent 17-year-old – a true gentleman on and off the court – was a hugely popular choice to follow in the footsteps of the most celebrated junior players in the North East.
And what a night it was for Wareing – who had moments earlier clinched the Boys U19 County title with a hard-fought win over Tynemouth livewire Andrew Walsh.
In only its fifth year, the John Dale Trophy has become a cherished tradition at this annual junior showpiece tournament, named after, and in honour of, the late John Dale, professional squash player from Tynemouth.
Selected by the top junior coaches in the region, the award is made in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the sport, both in terms of playing ability, and to reflect how players conduct themselves on and off the court.
Wareing – who helped Northumberland Club to the Summer League Championships last month, before picking up two trophies at the counties – is renowned for his calm and focussed demeanour on court, and he is a player already making a big impact at senior level in the region.
The award is named after a Newcastle squash legend – John Dale, who became a top-100 professional after picking up a racket as a young lad at Tynemouth. Dale died of cancer aged just 33 in 2010, but his legacy lives on in the tradition of a trophy which celebrates the very best of squash.
County chairman Dave Barnett, who presented the trophy, confirmed why Wareing had been the stand-out choice this year.
“Dan is the perfect example to those juniors who will follow him,” said Barnett. “When he plays he is a pleasure to watch, smooth swing and movement, which for me is the way squash is supposed to be.
“Alongside his playing skills he carries himself superbly, never argues, never shows anger or misbehaves even when things are not going his way.
“He just has a quiet but passionate determination that has pushed him. He has represented the county at all junior ages and this being his last year as a junior it was fitting he won the Under 19 title and of course the well deserved John Dale award – well done Dan.”