Back in September 2019 we decided not to put off those challenges we thought were beyond the reach of our squash dragon. We have spent the last 2 seasons thinking ‘he’s not ready’ for the bigger events. But, as it goes, he is ready, and you only really truly know where his levels are if he is enabled to put his squash shoes on and have a go. We decided that this is the season of trying events out for the first time.
Some of these events were carefully planned in advance, but one was a last minute ‘Let’s see if he can get in the draw!’ Leaving a day to book hotels, arrange time off work and go for it! Our season of firsts so far have been The British Junior Closed, The Irish Junior Open and the British Junior Closed. The Scottish Junior Open was also on our calendar in December, but this will be our second time at this event in Edinburgh.
The European Events are proving to be the squash dragon’s favourite type of event, and he is always happy to travel, visit new places, play on new courts and meet new and old friends who he only gets to see at the big events.
This season’s new European event we decided would be the Irish Junior Open which was held in Sutton near Dublin in November 2019. So flights were booked, entry forms completed, the fee paid and the questionable AirB&B accommodation booked. Definitely a cheap and not so cheerful experience for us, but within walking distance of Sutton Club, which served a great pint of Guinness.
Guiness with some cake? don’t mind if we do….
We were lucky enough to have all the matches at the Sutton Club, and the tournament desk was manned by the friendliest hosts, and when the schedule went off piste, the gin came out and they made sure everything was back on track and all the matches were played. There was a great club shop which was busy with all the juniors buying sports tops they probably don’t need!
The facilities did make me wish I had taken over my tennis kit, and taken advantage of the indoor dome.
As far of the squash went, it went very well indeed. A crucial first round win kept my squash dragon in the main draw, however he was beaten in the second round by a top seeded player. However, all wins thereafter meant a strong finishing position within the top ten. He certainly had the luck of the Irish in the last game winning by 2 clear points in the fifth to claim 9th overall.
Top tips for anyone looking to try the event, eating and drinking can be costly, but the local supermarket in Sutton has freshly cooked hot foods to take away, and the best Thai Fusion restaurant that is mainly a takeaway but has a small seating area is across the road from the Sutton Club.
We took advantage of the break between games on the Saturday to catch the Dart train to Howth, which is a fabulous coastal town a few miles away from Sutton, and for seafood lovers, a must do trip.
Moving in to 2020, the planning will start for events over the next few months, and watch with interest how our squash dragon will manage his transition in to the Boys U17 age category