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.
Once again the Kent o50s trio of Mandy Akin, Candy Wilton and Karen Hume found themselves making their way to Pontefract, for the (re-arranged due to snow) Inter- County Finals.
The event promised to be an exhibition of exciting squash with well over eighty players at the venue including ex professionals, current World, European, British Open and National champions amongst the players representing their respective counties. Squash wise, the event didn’t disappoint.
Kent’s semi-final was against Herts, their opponents for the last 2 years at this stage. First up was Karen who won comfortably at no.3. She was followed by Mandy, who, playing an inspired Isobel Smith, did well to take a win 3-1. The final match between the number 2 strings was a thrilling match, going to the wire, with Candy emerging the victor 15-13 in the 5th. Kent was through to the final 3-0.
The final was always going to be a close affair, with the Yorkshire team strengthened by a no.1 who wasn’t old enough to play in the original final back in March. Again Karen was first on court, this time to face a formidable opponent-the current World and European O60s champion, Julie Field. With a poor record against Julie, this was a tall order for Karen, especially playing on Julie’s home courts. However, playing some inspired squash, she was able to take the match 3-1.
Next on, with an equally difficult match was Mandy against ‘the baby’ of the ‘Yorks’ team and a former National Champion, Andrea Santamaria. Unfortunately for Mandy, Andrea, enjoying the luxury of her home courts, was on fine form and took the match 3-0.
So, to the final match and with the match poised at one all, Candy faced yet another former National Champion, Nicky Horne. Fighting all the way, Candy put up a great fight in a high quality game, but went down 1-3, 15/7 14/16 16/18 9/15.
Yorkshire were victorious, reversing last year’s result.