JICC 18/19 Stage 2 Finals – Nottingham – 23/24th March
With a new format and structure Stage 2 of the Junior Inter County Championships this season were held across four clubs in Nottingham. All ten Northumbrian teams were still involved in the latter stage of the competition with GU11, GU13, GU17, BU17 and BU19 through to the main finals and GU15, GU19, BU11, BU13 and BU15 contesting the plate finals. Having all teams contesting the finals must have set a record before even starting, can any County veterans clarify?
A hectic but fantastic weekend saw our younger girls lead the way with two silver medals in the main finals (GU11 and GU13), one gold medal in the plate finals (GU15) along with bronze medals for GU19, BU11, BU13 and BU15.
Rising stars Kate and Ava Naisbitt were joined by Sophie Johnson again in the girls under 11 team, beating Surrey and Middlesex on the way to a final against Sussex. The girls got an experience to remember playing out the final on the all glass court at the University of Nottingham unfortunately losing out 2-1.
Not to be out done the girls under 13 team involving county regulars Zoe Shipsey and Shae Paterson along with Northern’s Grace Moore followed suit by beating Hampshire and Surrey on the way to the final. Despite inspiring performances the girls were heavily outgunned by a super strong Lancashire team including England no2 Charlie McCrone.
An unexpected inclusion in the girls under 15 plate finals was thoroughly taken advantage of by Emily King, Annabelle Satow, Mia Smith, Millie Evans, Libby Foster and Evie Paterson who raced to victory against Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire finishing up with a gold medal!
Familiar foes Yorkshire and a strong Kent team lined up against our girls under 17 team made up of Harriet Wight, Lucy Anderson, Katie Barker, Beth Tudor and Beth Dean. Gritty performances from Beth Dean and Beth Tudor, both tough 3-2 wins set up a potential win against Kent but unfortunately Katie, Harriet and Lucy were beaten by stronger opponents on the day. Eventual winners Yorkshire put the girls to the sword in the final group game but plenty to be proud of for the girls.
The girls under 19 team saw a return for previous regional champion Erin Vitty alongside Aanya Hamilton, Sophie Bedford and Emma Delgaty. A group of three came down to a points count back after our girls beat Buckinghamshire, who beat Kent, who beat our girls… To our girl’s discontent they came out in 3rd place, coming so close to 1st. Some great performances and nice to see Sophie and Erin back in the team and playing well.
The boys under 11 team saw the substitution of Sam Tufton (away on holiday) for pocket rocket Will Ponente, who joined Ethan Brown, Leo Blackett and Aidan Mahoney. The toughest obstacle is being able to see over the balcony at this age but once on court the lads performed exceptionally keeping their cool when needed and chopping in drop shots at will. Sadly Hampshire were too strong but Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire were dispatched meaning a cool 3rd place for the boys.
The boys under 13 team travelled with a talented squad of seven including Tom Jepson, Sam Ponente, Ben King, Ben Tudor, Matthew Mahoney, Angus Dean and Tom Watts. An easy win on the Saturday morning was followed with a seesaw semi-final against Warwickshire B team culminating in a deciding match with Ben Tudor. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ll get with Ben but he lit the court up on Saturday night delighting the huge Northumbrian crowd gathered to see the outcome. Sadly the result went the wrong way but you couldn’t knock Ben who literally couldn’t get off the floor he’d pushed so hard following the match. Some fine performances on Sunday saw the boys take home the bronze medal in the plate, well done lads!
A no show from Avon left the boys under 15 team fuming after a needless night in a hotel on Friday night and the weekend continued to frustrate with two injuries forcing Tom Walsh and James Taylor to concede their strings. Luke Radley went down fighting 3-2 which meant wins from Sam Sweeney and Lewis Cruz weren’t enough. Finally wins on Sunday for Lewis, James and Luke Radley against South Wales gave the boys a much needed lift and bronze medals in the plate. A weekend of what could have been!
A strong team of Matthew Thompson, John Thompson, Sam Aiston, George Frewing and Kieran Mahoney represented Northumbria’s boys under 17 team taking on the country’s best in the main finals. Only George was to prevail in the quarter-finals against eventual bronze medallists Kent but a surprise win against Yorkshire was the highlight of a hard weekend, a huge win for John Thompson to send the lads through in the deciding fixture. A 3-2 loss versus Essex meant a credible 6th place finish.
A surprise inclusion in the main finals after a difficult Stage 1 meant a tough draw versus Hampshire for Max Forster, Andrew Shipley, Harry Little and Matthew Walsh. Hampshire featured the England no1 Jared Carter, only just beating Max 3-2 but 3-0 losses for Andrew and Harry meant 5th was the highest place the team could achieve. A win decent against Middlesex followed with a disappointing loss against local rivals Durham and Cleveland. 6th place and a late finish, ouch!
A huge thank you to all the parents and players that helped make the JICC happen this year, it wouldn’t have been possible without you. It’s great to see our young players coming together as teams, supporting each other and just generally having a really positive squash experience. A record year for inclusion in the finals and two second places must be up there with some of the best years ever. Bring on next season!
For full results please visit
Northumbria Junior Coach