A good number of young people tried squash for the first time in this years Manx Youth Games, culminating in a fun tournament and prizes for everyone.
For those of you who don’t know, the Manx Youth Games is a sports event in it’s eighteenth year where children from 9 to 14 years old from all over the island have the opportunity to try a new sport. They attended weekly training sessions from February and these culminate in the Youth games in May, a day long event of competitions in all the sports represented.
Squash sessions were held on a Saturday morning at the NSC and coaches Andy Dalrymple, Stephen Wright, Ben Peach, John Watterson, Richard Webster and co-ordinator Les Callow put the children through an hour-long fun training session. Most of the children who attended had never played squash before and it is remarkable that the coaches can turn them into competent squash players in just ten weeks.
On the day of the HSBC Manx Youth Games the children met in the squash courts, were given their t-shirts with the different colours representing different areas, and then joined in the parade around the NSC running track. They marched behind the squash banner carried this year by Ben Leith, an up and coming junior squash player. The games were officially opened by the Minister for Sport before the children went off to take part in their chosen sport.
A happy band of squash players were placed into four different groups to play a round robin competition in the morning and while they had lunch they were treated to a couple of exhibition games between Patrick Fitzpatrick (junior squash co-ordinator), Ben Peach and Ben Leith. After lunch the children were regrouped and played more round robin matches.
At the end of the event Brian Cowley, Chairman of IOMSRA, thanked the sponsors HSBC, the coaches and most importantly the children for taking part in the games. All the children were then presented with medals and drinks bottles by representatives from HSBC. What is most important is that many children then signed up to attend coaching sessions held throughout the year and hopefully from this the future squash players and Island champions will be produced.
The five most improved squash players for the 2018-2019 season are all products of the junior academy and the junior development program run by the IOMSRA. Pat Fitzpatrick and his team of coaches have done a tremendous job this season as these young players have all made big gains in developing their squash.
Ben Leith tops the table and is Player of the Season with a point’s increase of 142.2%. As you can see he has more than doubled his playing level this season with good performances in both the league and tournaments. His form has been particularly impressive since Christmas.
The second placed player is Oliver Williams with an impressive increase of 127.8%. His improvement in form not only pushed him up the rankings but he also won the Easter Graded C Grade competition.
Christian Webster came third with an increase of 123.8%. He had a break from squash in February but has come back to it a much-improved player.
The five most improved players in the 2018-2019 season are listed below
1 Ben Leith – points moved from 161 to 390 = 142.2%
2 Oliver Williams – points moved from 349 to 795 = 127.8%
3 Christian Webster – points moved from 282 to 631 = 123.8%
4 Harvey Douglas – points moved from 253 to 510 = 101.6%.
5 Isaac Quayle – points moved from 179 to 328 = 83.2%