Our under 13 boys county team made history became the first Cumbrian team to be crowned national champions.
Report from team manager Stuart Goad
The Under 13 Boys were at Pontefract Squash Club for Finals weekend, having knocked out Yorkshire in the previous round, last year’s winners and probable favourites this year.
Semi-final opponents were Gloucestershire, a strong side with all players nationally ranked in the top 100.
First game on court at Number five for Cumbria was Chris Butler against NR 48 Alex Van Blerk. Chris played some great squash but the experience of his opponent was to see him go down 3-0. Next at number three was Joseph Broadley who hadn’t lost a game in any of the previous rounds. This time Joseph overcame a nervy start to regain his form at the right time to produce the win in 4 games in an extremely close fought match to put us level. On court next were at one Adam Goad NR2 and Zac
Singleton at four. Adam played against Jack Bloomfield NR5 and won in 4 games having looked in total control in the first two. Zac played Billy Bedwell a player ranked some 100 places above him in the rankings. Despite that Zac fought well to take the third game but eventually lost out to his higher ranked opponent. Last but not least was Matthew Harrison, a player of just 10years old, who despite losing the first game and with the pressure of playing the deciding game showed true fighting spirit to come back at his much older opponent and win 3-1. Cumbria were through 3-2.!!
Sunday 18th January Finals Day
Cumbria’s opponents in the final were Middlesex, who had battled through their semi-final opponents Hampshire 3-2 the day before.
Again first up were Chris and Joseph at five and three respectively. Again Chris put on a valiant display but just couldn’t manage to win a game and went down in three close games. Joseph again got off to a nervy start and lost the first game. After some steady words from his coach Paul Bell,
Joseph seemed to settle down and win the next two games fairly comfortably. That put Joseph 2-1 up, and looking good, however the match continued to change and Joseph lost the next game.
At the same time Zac was playing at four against a higher ranked and more experienced player and played some long challenging rallies before going down 3-0.
Cumbria were now down 2-0 and nerves were beginning to get just that little bit more edgy. Joseph came out in the final game and both players seemed to be feeling the tension, Joseph managed to win the early points and went 10 -4 up, match ball. However his opponent seemed to grasp the moment to play seven fault free rallies to save 6 match points and stand at match point (tie point as well). Could this be any tighter, yes, it could, after 4 more match points Joseph claimed the winning rally and kept Cumbria in the tie at 2-1 down.
Next Adam Goad played at one and made short work of the Middlesex number one playing some excellent squash winning 3-0 giving his opponent little chance. It was now down to the number twos to decide the tie, Matthew NR13 against his higher ranked opponent Ben Harrison. By this time quite a crowd had gathered and were treated to a close, sometimes nervy but very entertaining match. Matthew played some outstanding squash and took the first comfortably. However his opponent fought back in a much closer second, Matthew just taking it 17-15. The third and fourth were again tight games, Matthew losing the third before showing his fighting spirit and taking the fourth set and the celebrations commenced. Cumbria had won their first ever National Junior Competition 3-2. Well played and once again huge congratulations to the team you certainly did Cumbria proud.