With junior squash is thriving in Grampian, the Granite City is set for a feast of squash as Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club hosts the Scottish Junior National Championships this weekend.
Squash in the region has gone from strength to strength in recent years, following the introduction of the DCI initiative, supported by sportscotland.
As a result, over 600 children at schools across the North-East have had the opportunity to try squash for the first time this year.
DCI Lead Coach Joe Ewen said: “It’s hugely positive to have events like the Scottish Junior National Championships in Aberdeen.
“It’s great for the junior players that want to see if they can compete at the highest level, but it’s also great for the kids that won’t take part to see the top players and to give them an idea of how squash can be played.”
In 2023, just three young player from the Grampian region entered the country’s top junior competition.
However, with squash booming in the area, close to 10% of all entrants call a club in Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire home.
As part of the project, Joe has worked with four schools across the region, encouraging youngsters to try squash in school, with the young players able to visit local squash clubs to continue their playing journey.
He said: “The whole project has been great for Grampian.
“People have always worked hard to support squash here, but not always in a collaborative fashion.
“Everything feels so much more coherent now – everyone has pulled together, and all of the parties involved deserve a huge pat on the back.”
The project has been funded by sportscotland with generous support from TRAC, whose financial contributions have been key to the success of the programme.
Leading local hopes in the boys under 19 category is Connor Murray, who secured an excellent fourth place finish last year – making a step up in age group.
Squash prodigy Robyn McAlpine, fresh off a win at this month’s U23 Championship, will hope to retain her under 19 title in the Granite City.
Edinburgh’s British under 13 Champion Thomas Myers faces stiff competition in the boys under 15 category, with 12 players set to go head to head for the national title.
The Scottish Junior National Championships is Scotland’s flagship domestic competition, with a high standard of play guaranteed across the age groups.
Former Junior National Champions include Commonwealth bronze medallists Greg Lobban and Rory Stewart and Scotland’s top ranked female Georgia Adderley.
With trophies on the line, and development at its heart, the next generation of squash stars will look to light up the north over two days of top squash action.
You can follow the schedule and all the results on SportyHQ.