Craig finishes in 6th place

Michael Craig finishes in 6th place in the British Junior Open. 

 Michael gave a walkover in the 5/6th place play off due to injury. vs Youssef Abo Elmakarem, another Egyptian, to finish in 6th place. This is a super finishing position for Michael after some superb squash in the tournament.

Earlier in the event in the play off for 5-8th place Michael beat another Egyptian, Amr Arafa 11-0,11-2 Rtd. There were 5 boys from Egypt in the draw and Michael played 3 of them. 4 of them reached the quarters showing their very high standard, so a real test for Michael which he has stood up to superbly.

In the quarters, Michael played the number 2 seed Omar El Atmas but lost out 3-1, (13-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6} to this very tough opponent, who is in the final. Michael played really well taking a tight first game but unfortunatly it was one Egyptian too many having beaten Abdel Rahman Zaher in round 3.

Round 1-3

After two straightforward first and second round matches Michael met Egypt’s  Abdel Rahman Zaher, ( who earlier beat the European number 1), with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

Michael cruised to a 10-1 lead in the first, winning 11-4. It looked so simple, however it all changed in the second with the Egyptian taking control of proceedings going ahead 2-1 in games. Michael played some amazing squash to go through 3-2 comfortably in the last game. The match was not without controversy with the Egyptian using a persistent blocking strategy. Michael, between constant appealing to the referee to do something about it and doing a bit of, (less than graceful),  blocking himself – to make his point, gave as good as he got and won out!

Other Irish Players

Other Irish players who played in the tournament were Sophie O’Rourke from Highfield, Cork who had 2 wins from 4 matches. Ellie McVeigh from Belfast had 3 wins from 6 matches, winning her last match to finish strongly. In th girls U17 Hannah Craig had 2 wins from 4 matches.

In the Boys U15’s Scott Gillanders from Dublin had a very tight 1st round mach vs 9/16th seed Yannick Wilhelmi (Sui) which went 3-2 against him, very close. Scott then had 4 wins from 5 matches beating 4 English boys along the way to finish very strongly.

In the boys U 17s Stephan Hearst from Belfast had a very tough match to start vs a 3/4th seed, Mohammad Alsarraj (Jor) which he lost 3-1, 11/3, 11/6, 8/11, 11/3. In the remaining matches he had close matches and then winning his last match.