Huge fundraising effort supports young Scots’ trip to World Championships

Scotland’s squash community has rallied once again to send some of the country’s most promising youngsters to the World Junior Championship this summer.

The young Scots will compete at the event in Houston, Texas, following a bumper fundraising effort led by the juniors and a committee of parents.

With a target of £16,000 set to fund the trip, the fundraisers are within touching distance of that goal, with the young squash stars places on the plane confirmed.

Five juniors will make the trip, with Robyn McAlpine, Natalie Main, Louisa Kaven and debutant Ella Bannister set to compete in the individual and girls team events, and Oliver Hunter competing in the individual boys event.

Seventeen-year-old Robyn McAlpine, now a regular competitor in professional events said: “Last World Juniors, I was only 16 and it was a massive learning experience for me as I was competing against some of the best players in the world.

“Coming back from Australia I started to make my transition into the professional game, which helped me become a much more mature player so it would be amazing to get the opportunity to test myself against the top players and try and finish as high as possible.

“The team last year finished 10th, however, this year we are more experienced and I think we have the ability to finish higher which would be amazing.”

At the other end of the experience spectrum, fifteen-year-old Ella Bannister will make her first appearance in a world level event.

Ella said: “To be selected to represent Scotland at the World Junior Championships, to be part of such a fantastic team, is a dream come true.

“I am so excited about this opportunity, and I promise to give it everything that I have!”

Support has come from a range of corporate sponsors, regions and clubs and individuals who have made generous donations to the effort.

SportsShoes.com has committed to a second year as headline sponsor, with Rascal Lettings, Akira Financial, Copylab and Hen & Crask also supporting the team.

Robyn McAlpine in action at the World Junior Championships in Australia last year

East of Scotland Squash, West of Scotland Squash and Townend Squash Clubs supported the squad with donations, and fundraising events were held at Bridge of Allan Sports Club, Western Health and Racquets Club, Newlands Lawn Tennis Club, Edinburgh Sports Club and Kirkwall Squash Club.

Scottish Squash Pathway Manager and Coach Kylie Lindsay said: “The World Juniors is a fantastic opportunity for our Scottish players to compete against the world’s best at their age.

“Four of the players going competed in the event last year in Melbourne so hopefully they will be able to take their experiences from that into this year’s event and really go toe to toe with the top juniors.

“It will also be valuable experience for them to learn from and help with their development going forward after the event, I’m really looking forward to seeing how they all do and I’m sure they will get a lot out of the experience.

“I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed to the fundraising effort to get the players to the event.

“It is very much appreciated by the players and Scottish Squash.”

With the team less than £1,000 from their fundraising targets, any additional donations are welcome and can be made on GoFundMe.