The Scottish Junior Inter Regional Squash Championships were held recently at Colinton Castle Squash Club in Edinburgh.
Nairn Players featured in all the teams but excelled in the Under 11 Division, which they won in a convincing manner. The team featured Ben Barron, Struan Donald, Will Jack and Ross Donnachie from Nairn with Erin Jones of Inverness completing the squad. Ben, being the Captain, led from the front and set the standard for his team from the first ball of the tournament, his ethos being win 3-0 for every rubber. This he proceeded to do and his team followed suit. In fact each player won every match and the team only gave away three games in the whole tournament. In the words of the Scottish Assistant National Coach, Stuart Crawford, they were "an awesome sight and in a league of their own!". The only downside is that next year they will move to the Under 13's section but if they continue to perform at their present level, who knows?
The Under 13 team featured Calum Scott, Angus Baker and Ben Booker Milburn from Nairn. They, and their Inverness team mates Louis Jones and Natallie Kynoch, were in a tightly fought section and only managed fourth position, but, they are all at the lower end of the age group so will be well prepared for next year. The star of the team was Calum Scott who showed determination and boundless energy winning two out of his four matches. This was his first time at the Inter Regional Championships but seemed to be far more than a rookie and more like a budding star.
The Under 15 team featured Harry Barron from Nairn. This was a strong team as it included the Scottish player and national number 1 in his age group, Alasdair Prott. They were hampered though because they did not have a girl and that meant that they were penalised in each match. They managed to come a very creditable third, but if they had managed to find a girl player would more than likely have won the division. The Highlands have to spend the next year finding and training more junior girls. In his last match Harry, unfortunately, sustained a severe hand injury and was forced to retire. It has since improved with no broken bones as expected at the time.
The Under 17 team featured Katie Scott and James Farrar from Nairn. They finished fourth in their group against strong opposition with a number of national players as opponents. Katie, in her first tournament and after only 3 months playing squash, was the star of the team. Her serve was by far the most powerful of the Tournament and in her last match, which she won 3-2, had the spectators on the edge of their seats. Like her brother, Calum, she never gives up on a ball and is an inspiration for other girl players in the north.
The Under 19 team had Harry Jack from Nairn. Harry is only 14 but agreed to play for the Under 19s as they were short of a player. They finished 4th in their Division with Harry having some closely fought and excellent matches, in fact he excelled himself, seeming to rise to the challenge. His last match, which he won 3-2, was a real nail biter but his determination and drive saw him through in fine style. The team was also hampered by the lack of a girl member.
Nairn is producing a number of high quality squash players, evidenced by the fact that out of 25 team members for the Highlands and Islands squad Nairn provided 11 of the players. The credit has to go to the players but also to performance coach Garry McKay for his work with the juniors. The Highlands and Islands is also indebted to PDG Helicopters who provide sponsorship which enables the region to provide coaching to junior squash players.
In the photo, the victorious Under 11 team, Left to Right:
Will jack, Erin Jones, Ben Barron, Struan Donald and Ross Donachie. Assistant National Coach Stuart Crawford behind.