Northumbria Squash had 8 junior teams representing them in the Junior Inter County Championships on 25th & 26th March 2023. The event, hosted by England Squash, is the largest junior competition in the country where over 1,000 players represent their counties to compete in 5 different age categories from under 11 to under 19.
In the boys’ events, teams were required to progress through a regional round-robin to advance to the final stage, whereas, in the girls’ events there was no preliminary stage.
Boys’ Under 11s
The U11 team progressed through the preliminary stage earlier in the season to make it to the main finals. The team faced a tough test in their first match against Warwickshire, narrowly losing 2-1 but recovered in the next round to beat South Wales 3-0 and move into the 5th-6th playoff. In this match, the U11s suffered another close defeat to finish in 6th overall.
Boys’ Under 13s
It was a tough weekend for the U13 boys who did very well to advance to the main finals, but they only just made it as the lowest-ranked team. They lost all 3 of their matches to place 8th in the championships.
Boys’ Under 15s
In the opening round of the finals, the U15s came out of the wrong side of a competitive 3-2 match with South Wales, however, they bounced back to beat Lincolnshire 5-0 in the next round. In their last match, Northumbria was beaten 4-1 by a strong Warwickshire team, seeing them place 6th overall.
Girls’ Under 11s
In the girls’ U11s team lost their 3 matches to finish bottom of their group and fall into the 9th/10th playoff. The girls played excellently in this fixture and beat opponents Warwickshire to finish in 9th!
Girls’ Under 13s
The U13 squad had a tough group and dropped into the plate event after 2 defeats. In the plate, a 2-1 victory over Norfolk and a 3-0 loss to Yorkshire saw them advance to the 3rd/4th playoff against Devon, in which they were narrowly defeated 2-1 to end the plate event in 4th.
Girls’ Under 15
After finishing 2nd in their initial group the U15s progressed into the 5th/8th playoff group along with Warwickshire, South East Wales and Middlesex. Northumbria beat both Warwickshire and Middlesex but ended the event in 7th place, just 4 points off 5th.
Girls’ Under 17s
A tough group stage for the girls U17s saw them achieve 1 win from 3 to advance to the 5th/8th playoff group and, despite putting up a great effort, the team lost their 3 remaining fixtures to place 8th overall.
Girls’ Under 19s
In the Girls U19 round-robin, Northumbria beat Warwickshire and Kent but lost to Hampshire and Cheshire to finish 3rd in the group. In the resulting playoff game, the girls fell to Hampshire 2-1 to drop into the 7th/8th playoff, where the team returned to form to get another win over Kent and finish 7th in the championships.
Overall this was a great showing from the Northumbria juniors as all but one team placed in the top 10 in the country in their respective age category!