Welcoming the latest generation of squash starlets from across the UK, Europe and further afield, Squash Wales hosted a hugely successful Karakal Welsh Junior Open (WJO) 2019 in Cardiff from September 7-8.
Staged at the state-of-the-art facilities at Cardiff Squash Club and Sport Wales National Centre in the Welsh capital, the tournament enjoyed a diverse list of nearly 140 entrants from the home nations and Ireland, to Switzerland, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong.
Flying the flag for the hosts, Isobel Beynon Cobb upset the odds to take the Girls Under 13 title, overcoming top seed Megan Light in the final (11/8, 14/12, 7/11, 12/10). Young hotshots Nia Thomas and Ellie Breach also put in excellent performances as they reached the Under 11 and Under 15 finals respectively.
The Boys Under 11 competition was won by Ali Khalil who beat Dylan Vite in the final (11/5, 11/5, 11/8); while Archie Clarke-Davies took third. Ameerah Ismail took home the Girls’ trophy after defeating Wales’ Thomas (11/1, 11/3, 11/7).
Following Cobb’s victory, the Boys’ section of the Under 13s went to Dylan Roberts of England, who defeated compatriot Harry Bloom (11/6, 11/6, 11/13, 11/7); as Wales’ Archie Turnbull took bronze.
Scotland’s Kyle Penman stemmed the English stranglehold on the event by leaving with the Boys Under 15 gong, beating Jack O’Flynn of Ireland (9/11, 11/2, 11/6, 11/7); while Joshua Davies racked up another medal for the host nation in the third-place play-off.
Hassan Khalil triumphed over Samuel Osbourne-Wylde in the Boys Under 17 showpiece (11/6, 11/5, 9/11, 11/1); while fellow English representative Asia Harris beat Russia’s Olivia Besant in the Girls’ draw (11/8, 11/3, 11/1).
Jared Carter finished top of the pile in a packed Boys Under 19 field, proving too strong for Campbell Wells (11/4, 11/2, 11/4); and Alice Green performed similarly in dispatching Kiera Marshall in the Girls’ final (11/9, 11/4, 11/9).
Director of Coaching and Development at Squash Wales, Mike Workman, said: “This year’s WJO has proved an excellent spectacle and in terms of quality the standard of the draw was the highest it has been for a decade – making for even better and exciting matches across the board.”
Live online streaming of the tournament saw hundreds of hits across an action-packed weekend, while heightened exposure on Facebook and Twitter feeds resulted in excellent media coverage of the competition.
“My thanks go to the dedicated team of referees, tournament staff and Shaky/LIVE streaming who have contributed to ensuring a smooth and successful 2019 event,” Workman added.
Squash Wales Performance Director, Dave Evans said “strongest standard entry we have ever had at the Open and to get a Welsh Winner in Isobel Beynon Cobb was superb”
Squash Wales would like to add its thanks to tournament sponsors Karakal, Dunlop, LazersRus, Tiny Tumblers and Bangor University.
Issued on behalf of Squash Wales by Thomas Owain Davies