The U13/15 Five Nations took place in Edinburgh this weekend with Scotland was represented by Alasdair Prott, Chris Murphy, Fraser McCann, Jack Orr, Georgia Adderley, Maddie Orr and Katie Gregson-Macleod in the U15 event and Craig Thomson, Finlay Martin, Ben Orr, Orla Young and Beth Moglia at U13.
Day 1 – Friday
The first match of the weekend on Friday afternoon saw the U13’s face Ireland. Orla and Ben got the team off to a flying start as they both went 1-0 up in the opening matches but despite Orla winning 3-0, that was as good as it got with Ireland winning all the remaining matches to secure a 4-1 win.
The U15’s got underway on Friday night against France. Georgia and Alasdair both won 3-0, while Jack and Katie both lost to leave the tie poised at 2-2 heading into the Boy 2 decider between Chris Murphy and Manuel Paquemar. Chris coped with the pressure admirably and played some composed squash to win 3-0 and give the Scots a winning start with a 3-2 win overall.
Day 2 – Saturday
Saturday morning saw perhaps the closest tie of the weekend between Scotland and Wales at U13. Orla and Ben were once again on first with Orla winning 3-1 and Ben fighting for every point to eventually win 3-2. Beth went down 3-0 but at the same time, Craig took a 2-1 lead over Welsh No.1, Ryan Lewis, to put the team one game away from victory. Despite having match-ball in the fourth, he eventually lost it 15/13 and lost another close game in the fifth, 11/9, to leave the match at 2-2. The final match between Finlay and Dan Lewis was another epic battle, with Finlay saving 4 match-balls in the fourth to win the game 14/12. The fifth was every bit as dramatic with Finlay having 2 match-balls of his own before Dan eventually won the match 11/7, 10/12, 11/6, 12/14, 13/11 to give Wales a 3-2 win overall.
The U15’s gained some revenge when they beat the Welsh U15’s 3/2 thanks to a superb performance from Georgia to beat Ciara Richards 3-0 – a player she had never previously beaten – and supported by wins from Alasdair and Fraser McCann, who was playing his first match in a Scotland jersey and won 3-0. This left the U15’s on two wins out of two going into their match with England later that day.
Before then, the U13’s would also face the “Auld Enemy”. Orla Young achieved the rare feat of beating an English No.1 when she defeated Lydia Robinson 11/9, 11/7, 11/7 but after that the English team proved too strong in the remaining matches.
The U15’s had a more realistic chance of challenging England, who had only managed to scrape past Ireland 3-2 in the morning. Georgia carried on where she had left off against Ciara earlier in the day to win the first 2 games 11/5, 11/5. Despite letting her opponent back into the match, Georgia regrouped at the start of the fifth to win 11/5, 11/5, 4/11, 4/11, 11/3. Once again, England’s superior strength and depth told as they won the match 4-1 but Al Prott and Fraser McCann both pushed their respective opponents to 4 games in two closely fought matches.
Day 3 – Sunday
Scotland’s U13’s finished off the event with another respectable performance but ultimately another defeat as they lost 4-1 to France. Orla was yet again the winner to end the event unbeaten and proving she may be the best U13 Girl in the UK on current evidence. To highlight the rarity of hers and Georgia’s feat (beating an English junior No.1) no one can quite remember the last time it actually happened but it would appear it’s probably been at least a decade. Send us your answers/suggestions if you have any!
With England having already won the U15 event, the last match of the weekend was between Scotland and Ireland to decide 2nd and 3rd place. Unfortunately, Georgia was unable to emulate Orla by remaining unbeaten throughout the event. Her opponent, Sofie O’Rourke, played a brilliant match to reverse their result from when they last played in the final of the Irish Junior Open earlier this season, where Georgia won 3-2. On this occasion it was Sofie who played the better squash to win 3-1 and put Ireland ahead. Fraser McCann rounded out an impressive debut for Scotland to level the tie with a 3-0 win. As the only member of the U15 team who had never previously represented Scotland, he certainly justified his selection with 2 wins out of 3 and only losing 3-1 to the English No.2. The next matches on court were Maddie Orr, who lost 3-0 to Ellie McVeigh, and Al Prott, who also lost 3-0 to Scott Gillanders, which was enough to secure 2nd place for Ireland. Chris Murphy redeemed himself after a below par performance against Wales with an excellent 3-0 win over Conor Moran to leave the tie at 3-2 in Ireland’s favour.
Thanks to West RPN Head Coach, Martin Woods, and Grampian RPN Head Coach, Dave Ireson, who coached and managed the teams over the weekend. Special mention also to team chaperone, Susan Anderson (mother of “the Orrs” – Jack, Maddie and Ben) who is responsible for raising 25% of both teams!
Results are available here