British Junior Open day 4&5:
The juggernaut of an event came to a conclusion today with Finlay Whittington claiming the U19 boys title in all English final and Amina Orfi taking the girls event in an all Egyptian affair.
The semifinals were hugely entertaining and a packed arena stayed until almost 10.30pm to witness the quality matches, the same in all the the finals from U11 to U19, capacity crowds which is pretty cool to see for junior squash!!
As the event progressed the amount of matches our Irish players were winning was becoming a lot more positive. We had Danny Lynch claiming a big win 16-14 in the 5th game of his match, getting revenge on his English opponent from previous events. Sara Sabry doing herself proud along with Elliot Kelly who managed to hobble off the line and get two wins from his final three matches, pushing his finishing position higher.
Sean Murphy was similarly impressive, winning with an almost empty tank against quality French opposition.
Maria Protsepova unfortunately suffered a loss as she pulled out due to stomach issues, and in the U13 boys David Connell had a great performance but unfortunately couldn’t get over the line..
A huge win in the last Irish match of the event, Jack O’Flynn continues to impress and saw off the Hong Kong no.1 in straight games.. a top 25 in the world finish for Jack!!
This event was certainly an eye opener for many competitors, the professional end of junior squash very much on show. There’s nothing quite like it.. all our player can be super proud of themselves and their performances!
Back to the Irish junior circuit next month, not quite as hectic but looking forward to it.
Day 2 &3
British Junior Open day 2&3:
Days two and three saw some of the busiest days you’re ever likely to see at any squash event the world over. In fact I would argue few sports in the world could rival this event for international attendance and highly professional level from 10 year olds to 18 year olds.
No matter the club you went to, every court had huge emotion, an abundance of talent and passion and could feature players from India, Malaysia or Australia as far as Canada and Columbia, and every country in between. A sight to behold.
Our Irish players were holding themselves to a superb level, doing us proud. It didn’t matter if it was main draw in the boys under 19 or playing for the lower ranks in the younger categories, every effort was made, nothing left on the court and that’s something to be proud of as both a player and coach.
Far too many matches played and huge performances put in to mention but to summarise a few…
David Connell is Ireland’s youngest representative, he got a win under his belt against a Swedish player today, 3-0! Shryia Drawid fought hard to get through in 5 at Solihull this morning but unfortunately lost in the evening match. Sara Sabry and Victoria Protsepova are battling hard! Sara got herself a win, Victoria bitterly close losing 12-10 in the 4th!
Maria Protsepova got a win yesterday but had a couple of hard loses today, both against superb shot makers from Singapore and Korea, lots learned in those matches. Sophie Thomas waited until this evening for her best performance, winning in 5 against a solid Greek opponent.
Frank O’Flynn has found his form and has two wins under his belt! Danny Lynch, after winning his first round match has had some tough opponents, he’ll be hoping to get back to winning ways tomorrow.
Sean Murphy had two monster matches, one taking out an American in a lengthy 5 setter (Sean says it was 1 hour 40 minutes…..) and another today against an old Belgian enemy which he came out the wrong side of.
Jack O’Flynn pushed hard yesterday but fell short against Lazlo Goode of France, had a walk over today. Big test tomorrow!
Still two days to go, the business end of the draws have all moved to the glass court in the university, makes for some good watching if anyone is interested, very professional presentation and free to watch online, just visit britishjunioropen . com
Edgbaston Priory Club, arguably England’s best rackets club – immaculate facilities for squash and tennis, top notch bar/restaurant, outdoor heated pool to mention a few amenities.
University of Birmingham, gigantic sports campus that has everything imaginable for a sports venue, including the spectacular glass court for this event.
Solihull Arden Club, quaint and a proper club feel from this venue.
West Warwick’s Sports Club, great squash set up with four glass back courts in the perfect coaching scenario, glass backs facing each other.
620 matches on day one alone. Almost 14 hours of play. 11 Irish players among nearly 900 of the worlds best juniors.
BoysU13; David Connell, Connacht, played two but unfortunately no joy in either. A player showing huge promise and will gain invaluable experience from an event like this.
GirlsU15; Shryia Drawid, Ulster, played one and lost one, was definitely in the running for the match but couldn’t convert, plenty more to come.
Boys17; Danny Lynch, Connacht. Frank O’Flynn, Leinster. Danny had a great start, winning in 3. Progressed to play the no.5 seed from Malaysia, a former runner up in this event. Played very well and ran him close in two games but ultimately lost in 3. Excellent performance. Frank had a tough opener and lost in 3 but will look forward to a chance in tomorrow mornings match.
GirlsU17; Sara Sabry and Victoria Protsepova, Leinster. Both lost in 3. Victoria played a Canadian who was technically excellent and went on to upset the seeding in her next match – great exposure for Victoria. Sara was out gunned by a top player who never let her settle into her rhythm.
BoysU19; Sean Murphy, Jack O’Flynn and Elliot Kelly, Leinster. Sean won his first, played the US junior open champion in his next and took the opener. Lost in 4, but a performance to be proud of. Jack is two wins from two, playing well and will look to upset the seedlings tomorrow! He took out the Spanish no.1 in his second match of the 128 draw. Elliot was unfortunate to lose a tight match, he’ll look for a powerful plate run.
GirlsU19; Sophie Thomas, Ulster. Maria Protsepova, Leinster. Sophie played great, went toe to toe with her American opponent, close but no cigar. Maria put in an outstanding performance, playing one of the worlds best. Pushed hard in the first two especially but eventually lost in 3.
Another mammoth day lies ahead tomorrow. This is such an exciting event, every match having so much emotion attached and the quality couldn’t be higher, looking forward to some quality Irish performances.