Kent under 13 boys qualified to play in the national Intercounty Finals in Nottingham last weekend. The top 8 teams made it through qualification to make the finals and Kent were seeded two. Five of the top six nationally ranked boys in England were playing so competition was expected to be tough Kent have two of the top three boys so were expecting and hoping to perform.
The team consisted of: –
Coach Steve Franks
Dylan Roberts of Bexley
Jude Gibbins from Beckenham
Luan Woods of Rodersham
Timmy Skopets of Limpsfield
Caspar Bloomfield from Thanet
It was an early start of 10am for the first game against Yorkshire B. Kent got off to a great start with all the boys winning the matches 3-0
That meant Kent were then playing for position 1-4. Next up was a strong Warwickshire side headed by a boy Ranked 5 in England.
Again, all the boys won all the individual matches but the scores were closer than the 5-0 overall score line suggested. The boys put in an excellent performance to make it through to the finals, to be held the following day.
The finals were against favourites and number one seeds Surrey. All the Surrey team were boys that played the junior circuit and were very experienced. Kent put up a gallant effort and all the boys played excellently showing real fight to the end. They lost the final 4-1 with the only winner in the final day being Dylan Roberts
A great effort by all the team making this 5 consecutive national finals and finishing at least 2nd in four of these.
Kent Schools Tournaments 2018
The end of the school year means schools playing squash for the chance to test their skills in the two County schools competitions – the Kent Schools Cup (secondary schools) and the Academy Cup (primary schools).
Both events have been running for at least 4 years and with the interest being shown by schools across Kent the events are set to expand over the years. Rodmersham played host to the tournaments and thanks should go to the management and staff who coped with 60 plus juniors each day along with their supporters.
The Kent Schools Cup is divided into two sections, Junior (years 7 – 9) and Senior (years 10 – 13). Within the tournament the skill levels are varied with some county players leading their school team which includes juniors experiencing their first competitive match.
The sections are keenly contested, and this year saw Wilmington reclaiming another schools title beating Judd in the Junior Final. Last year’s Junior winners Simon Langton moved up into the Seniors, but this didn’t stop them claiming their third consecutive title. The senior girl’s tournament was played out between Benenden Girls and Dover Girls with Benenden coming out as champions.
The Academy Cup saw 18 teams created through the Kent Primary School Academy Project contesting for the trophy.
Many playing in this tournament started with no knowledge of squash but are now playing at club or even county level. The 50 plus juniors represents a figure of 600 plus juniors who have taken squash up over Kent in the last 4 years.
The Junior section (years 3 and 4) was contested by Scott’s Park 1 and 2, with the 2nd team pipping the first team for the trophy. In the Senior section (years 5 and 6) Scott’s Park held off a spirited challenge from Madginford (last year’s Junior winners) to make it a clean sweep of the sections.
Bexley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club hosted the third stage of the 6 Counties Grand Prix, an event which the Kent U13 B team and U11 team are having an exceptionally good season in.
Kent’s U11 team of Jude Gibbins, Ryan Slater, Harrison Seal, Emma Tunon and Lottie Hill went into this stage as the U11 Grand Prix leaders. They faced tough competition from Surrey, Middlesex and Essex. It was Harrison’s debut for the County and had a tough opening match against the Surrey no. 3 losing 3 – 1 despite taking the first game. Having learned from this game he went on to beat the Middlesex no.3 3 – 0 and after a tough struggle beat his Essex counterpart 3 – 2. Jude, Ryan, Emma and Lottie all won their matches to keep Kent in pole position on the Grand Prix leader board with one stage left to go.
Kent’s U13 team of James Donaldson, George Pepper, Harvey McIntyre, Ella Hall and Tara Radia were trying to build on their overall second place position in the Grand Prix. It was a tough opening debut for Harvey and Tara who both lost to strong Surrey opposition but Harvey went on to beat his Middlesex and Essex counterpart. James proved a strong no. 1 winning all of his matches and leading the u13’s to second place, one point behind the third stage winners Surrey.
Special mention should go to Tara who was playing for the first time at this level, playing against extremely experienced girls. She kept going to the end in each match taking her first county game (and the lead) against an older stronger Middlesex opponent. I am sure that she will be one our stronger girls in the near future!!
Thanks also to Julie and John Fuller of Bexley Squash Club for organising the courts and facilities for this event plus Jason Barry who gave coaching support to the U13’s.
Report by Steve Franks
The U13 boys won the U13 National Trophy in Derbyshire beating Derbyshire 5/0, Merseyside 5/0 and then Dorset 3/2. I was the boys’ coach and it was a fantastic day for both boys and parents.
The boys were perfect ambassadors for Kent squash. The team was Josh Cutting (Canterbury), Tom Dean (Park Langley), Caleb Boy (Park Langley), Noah Hammett (Maidstone), Zachary Bhana (Bexley) and James Donaldson (Canterbury).
This picture is of me and the team with their trophies in the snow!!
Report by Steve Franks