Mad Max II – Just as good as the original
Tenacious teenager Max Forster earned top billing at the 2016 Northumbria Junior County Squash Championships – with a spectacular double trophy haul.
There were some superb performances in an action-packed tournament, backed by long-term sponsors DB Glaziers, as players and fans turned the Northumberland Club into the Thunderdome.
And Mad Max was at the heart of it all, taking the Boys Under 15 and Under 17 titles without losing a game. Quite an achievement, considering the homegrown starlet does not turn 15 until November.
Forster beat a very strong opponent in the Under 15 final – Northern’s Andrew Shipley, himself ranked No 10 in the country at Under 15 level – for the loss of just 13 points (11-4, 11-4, 11-5).
And he followed that up with wins over Thomas Moore, Tom Cornell and finally Tynemouth’s Matthew Carr (11-4, 11-7, 11-3) in another dominant display in the Boys U17 showpiece match. Forster’s accuracy, shot variation and amazing engine put him ahead of the field throughout the weekend.
At Under 19 level, there were more trophies for the every-growing collection of Northern duo Josie Barker and Michael Mattimore.
Barker’s fast-paced volleying game proved too much for her opponent in a straight final, as she took the title after a convincing 3-0 win over the fast-improving Amy Rowell of Tynemouth.
Meanwhile Mattimore lived up to his top billing in the boys event. He also took his final in straight games, and always looked in control despite an impressive showing from Jesmond’s Ben Waugh.
The Girls Under 17 section provided some real shocks – run as a two-group format, the top seeds of Amy and Emma Rowell won the groups after two victories apiece. But, facing the runners-up from the opposite group in the semis, the Tynemouth twins both came a cropper.
Northumberland Club’s Lowri Waugh took a five-set thriller against Amy Rowell – winning the last two 11-2, 11-7. While Erin Vitty of Northern hit top form in her last-four match, beating Emma Rowell 3-1.
And it was Waugh who won the battle of the underdogs in the final – her athletic squash proving too much for Vitty to handle on the day, as the home player took the title.
It was an all-Northern affair at Girls Under 15s, where Harriet Wight took on, and beat, No 1 seed Megan Evans. Wight kept the pace high throughout and was a touch more consistent than her opponent as she clocked up an impressive 3-1 win against one of the best girls on the North East junior circuit.
Tynemouth’s Tom Walsh justified his top seeding in the Boys Under 13s – but only after surviving a big scare at the semi-final stage. Walsh was 2-0 down to Sam Sweeney of Primrose but showed his fighting qualities to take the next two games by just two points, then clinching the decisive fifth 11-5.
In the final it was more straightforward for Walsh as he hit top form to take it 3-0 against Sion Gittins of Northern and Northumberland Club.
Northern’s irrepressible Katie Barker matched her big sister Josie by taking the Girls Under 13 title. Barker, who had beaten Emily King in the semi-finals, faced Rebecca Grogan in the final and came through 3-1 – holding her nerve to take the last game 11-9.
Ollie Forster was another player hoping to emulate an older sibling. Max’s younger brother showed that squash talent runs in the family by taking the Boys Under 11 trophy, with a convincing 3-0 win over Tom Jepson, for the loss of only 10 points (11-3, 11-3, 11-4). Hexham’s Jepson had beaten Forster the last time they met, but he found the Jesmond player in peak form on county finals weekend, as he took the title without dropping a game.
Zoe Shipsey of Northern and Northumberland Club, was the dominant force at Girls Under 11s – dropping just 22 points in the whole tournament!
Shipsey was comfortable against Lettice Lamb and Evie Paterson, then found her serve working wonders in the final against the unseeded Mia Smith.
Newbiggin’s Smith had impressed to take out No 2 seed Grace Moore and 3/4 seed Annabelle Satow on her way to the final, but could do little to stop Shipsey in the final, going down 3-0.
Three players contested the Mixed Under 9 event, where Northern’s Daniel Tootle won all his games in the round-robin format to get his hands on some very early and very welcome silverware.
1. Michael Mattimore (Northern)
2. Ben Waugh (Northumberland Club)
3. Sam Evans (Tynemouth)
4. Angus Forster (Northumberland Club)
1. Max Forster (Northumberland Club)
2. Matthew Carr (Tynemouth)
3. Tom Cornell (Northern)
4. Matthew Walsh (Tynemouth)
1. Max Forster (Northumberland Club)
2. Andrew Shipley (Northern)
3. Nathan Dobson (Tynemouth)
4. Harry Little (Northumberland Club)
1. Tom Walsh (Tynemouth)
2. Sion Gittins (Northern+Northumberland Club)
3. Sam Sweeney (Primrose)
4. Milan Stach (Northern)
1. Ollie Forster (Northumberland Club)
2. Tom Jepson (Hexham)
3. Ben Tudor (Northern)
4. Callum Wilkie (Alnwick)
1. Daniel Toole (Northern)
2. Wil Ponente (Northern)
3. Aiden Mahoney (Northern)
BOYS U17 PLATE: 1) Tom Porter (Northern); 2) Nick Robertson (Alnwick)
BOYS U15 Plate: 1) Ewan Strathdee (Northern); 2) Felix Fletcher (Northern)
BOYS U13 PLATE: 1) Bertie Lamb (Northern); 2) Finn Little (Northumberland Club)
BOYS U11 PLATE: 1) Charlie Took (Tynemouth); 2) Ben King (Tynemouth)
1. Josie Barker (Northern)
2. Amy Rowell (Tynemouth)
1. Lowri Waugh (Northumberland Club)
2. Erin Vitty (Northern)
3. Amy Rowell (Tynemouth)
4. Emma Rowell (Tynemouth)
1. Harriet Wight (Northern)
2. Megan Evans (Northern)
3. Aanya Hamilton (Northern)
4. Beth Tudor (Northern)
1. Katie Barker (Northern)
2. Rebecca Grogan (Northern)
3. Emily King (Tynemouth)
4. Annabelle Satow (Hexham)
1. Zoe Shipsey (Northern)
2. Mia Smith (Newbiggin)
3. Evie Paterson (Northern)
4. Holly Burdon (Northern)
GIRLS U15 PLATE: 1) Katie Barker (Northern); 2) Josie Burdon (Hexham)
GIRLS U13 PLATE: 1) Talia Tiryaki (Northern); 2) Abbie Ainsworth (Northern)
GIRLS U11 PLATE: 1) Grace Moore (Northern); 2) Sian Tuck (Northumberland Club)
Just Champion: Our 2016 Main Event and Plate winners – back row, left to right, Tom Walsh, Michael Mattimore, Max Forster, Josie Barker, Lowri Waugh, Harriet Wight and Katie Barker. Front row: Ollie Forster, Zoe Shipsey and Daniel Toole