Michael Andrews leads the way as The Northumberland Club dominates Scottish Junior Open
Michael Andrews demonstrated all of his undoubted talent as he roared back from the abyss to defeat home favourite Patrick O’Sullivan in an enthralling Boys’ Under 19 final at the Scottish Junior Open in Edinburgh on Monday 9th January.
In a dramatic climax to a thrilling weekend of squash, Andrews was one of several players from The Northumberland Squash Club who found great success north of the border. The long journey home will have been a little bit sweeter for Andrews, having overcome O’Sullivan to lift his first trophy of the season. For a while, it looked like the victory was going to go to O’Sullivan, as the talented Scot took advantage of Andrews’ slow start to race into a 2-1 lead. At 9-4 up in the fourth game, O’Sullivan’s name looked destined to be etched onto the trophy. However, despite looking down and out, Andrews upped the ante and suddenly stole the momentum back from the despairing O’Sullivan and eventually sealed a dramatic 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5 win.
“I enjoyed it but it was definitely tough.” Andrews said after the match. “I always have a nice match with him and we’re quite close and good friends off the court.” He added: “At 9-4 down in the fourth game, I looked up to my girlfriend and said ‘it’s just not my day.’ And then, I am not really sure what happened!” As soon as he had levelled the match at 2-2, the result rarely looked in doubt. Andrews continued: “I just decided that I was going to run for everything and not make any mistakes and just make it as hard as possible for him. It’s my first time at the Scottish Junior Open and it was nice to see the hard work pay off.”
With the Inter-Counties up next, Andrews acknowledged that the Scottish Junior Open had provided the perfect platform with which to build on in what will be a busy 2017 for the talented teenager who has his sights set on the professional tour. Andrews’ success completed a great weekend for The Northumberland Club, with Laura Neill winning the Girls’ Under 17 trophy and Harry Little reaching the final of the Boys’ Under 15 event.
Neill, who competes for Ireland internationally, defeated Canada’s Cynthia Cao in a hard fought match as she came from a game down to win 11-13, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10. She said: “It was a really good weekend, a very well organised competition and I’ve really enjoyed all of my matches. I got some really good matches in, which has set me up for the year ahead.”
Harry Little put up a valiant effort but Egyptian opponent Salah Ahmed El Torgman was just too strong for him in the final of the Boy’s Under-15 event. Despite the 11/5, 11/1, 11/7 loss, the 14-year-old Gosforth Academy pupil believes the experience over three days competition in Edinburgh will stand him in good stead going forward. He said: “I played some good squash through the tournament but in the final my opponent just got the upper hand early on and I couldn’t claw it back. Of late I have been enjoying playing for the Newcastle University team too and that has exposed me to a higher level of competition and made me better as a result.”
Andy Weston (Weston Sports Marketing)