Yarm Junior Open

IT was triple glory for Northumbria at the inaugural Yarm Junior Open on November 8/9 – with Max Forster, Lucy Anderson and Katie Barker all lifting winners’ trophies.

The county was out in force, making the short trip to Teesside for another welcome North East event on the junior calendar.

And everyone at the small but friendly Yarm Club made contestants and parents feel very welcome all weekend.

Highlights of the event would have to be the bacon sandwich and tomato soup combo at a very reasonable £3.75. Looking forward to that again next year already . . .

But following close behind that moment was Northumberland Club dynamo Max Forster, who beat Durham & Cleveland’s Jonathan Wright in the final to win arguably the strongest tournament of the weekend at Boys Under 15 level. There were no less than SIX other Northumbria juniors playing out of their skin in this event; Liam Duncan Kahn (3rd), Andrew Shipley (4th), James Appleby (7th), Lennox Lockwood (8th), Harry Little (9th) and Nathan Dobson (11th) all showed that the county’s future is in safe hands.

Like everyone else at Girls Under 11 level, Northern starlet Katie Barker is still learning the ropes – but what a quick learner! She was too strong for the home county’s Jessica Weatherspoon and walked off a deserved winner’s trophy. Certainly another one to watch for the future!

The Northumbria girls were also out in force at Under 13s – stylish Northern hotshot Lucy Anderson leading home an impressive 1-2-3-4 for the county, closely followed by Beth Tudor, Naomii Appleby and Harriet Wright.

Barnett’s Bairns were also well represented at Girls U17 level – but here Lincolnshire’s Lucy Soulby proved the pick of the bunch on the day, pipping Jesmond battler Georgia Webster 3-2 in a super final. Tegan Younger (4th), Daisy Dobson (5th) and Jessica Wight (6th) made up a strong Northumbria contingent.

Northern’s Milan Stach was edged out in the final of the Boys U11s – a strong field this, with Ollie Forster (3rd), Calum Howie (5th), Finn Little (7th) and Ben Tudor (10th). The author’s special gold award for Unaccustomed Bravery in the Face of Being Hit By a Swing (no, not on court) goes to battle-hardened warrior Finn Little, who, despite a badly busted lip, still managed to tell everyone about it and didn’t cry at all (so he says).

While all that was going on, big brother Alistair had to forget about his sibling’s war wounds and concentrate on running the Boys Under 13 winner Daniel Milburn (Durham & Cleveland) mighty close in the final of their event; Matthew Thompson (3rd), John Thompson (4th) and Kieron Mahoney (6th) also deserve special mention from the Northumbria stalwarts.

And what a competition the Boys Under 17s turned out to be. With players of the calibre of Northern’s Tom Wight and Tynemouth’s Sam Evans edged down into 5th and 6th places respectively, it shows the standard of competition around. Cumbria’s Keane Appleton was top man on the day in this section, edging home against Ben Cross from Yarm.

Report by Dylan Younger

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