On Saturday the 6th of February the Truro School Squash team assembled early in the morning for a long journey into the sporting unknown with our first ever match against the very established Squash Academy at Millfield School in Somerset. Our team comprised of 14 playing members but was slightly weakened by the loss beforehand of Captain Ethan Ellwell to injury and the talented Josh Mitchell to illness. For this inaugural fixture all our players were selected from the 3rd and 4th years and were captained by Callum Penry on the day, vice captain Olly Brockelbank, and accompanied by squash coach Mr Smith and Mr Nicholas from the PE department.
The fixture was played on the 4 glassbacks at Millfield enabling pupils and supporters to move around and view every match in progress thereby creating a unique and electric atmosphere for this ground-breaking event.
Our first four players were Jack Nicholas, Mike Hammond, Pedrek Venton and Isaac Heron who all put in excellent, if initially slightly nervous, performances. Jack used his strong forehand very well and secured a fine 2-0 win for the school, Mike ran his heart out and was only just edged 1-2 by his strong opponent. Pedrek grew in belief during his game and was also unlucky to be beaten 1-2 and Isaac put in his familiar drops and flick shots but couldn’t quite get past his opponent going down 0-2.
Our next four players were Emily Becconsall, Sam Dunn-Rundle, Charlie Standen and Alfie Burns. Emily played a very strong girl who was actually their team No 2 and although losing 0-2 pushed very close in the 2nd game only just missing out 9-11 in points. Sam had a good match against another tough, hard –hitting competitor and used his speed of movement very well but slowly succumbed 0-2. Charlie Standen played some strong strokes during his match and never seemed to stop smiling especially when he took the win 2-1 in fine style. Alfie put up a strong performance especially on the physical side against a good shot player and missed out 0-2 despite a really good effort.
Next on court were Billy Bateson, Rufus Martin, Jordan Opie and Callum Penry. Billy impressed with his court coverage and speed of reaction but was beaten 0-2 by an experienced player. Rufus simply played his heart out each and every point and ground out a fine 2-0 win for Truro in an exhausting encounter. Simultaneously Jordan enjoyed the match of his life on the other court and out played his competitor 2-0 with a fine win. Captain Callum then kept the momemtum going with a very controlled, calculated performance and came through in great style with a 2-0 victory.
At this point the match score between Truro and Millfield stood at 5-7 with two strings to play and a feeling of growing optimism and belief amongst all our team members. The last two to compete were Olly Brockelbank and Oscar Pringle. Olly is the hardest hitter in the school and has an excellent boast (this is a squash shot hitting the sidewall first) while Oscar has possibly the cleanest backhand and forehand technique in the team. Both were pitted against very strong and clever opponents but put up fine performances for the school. Olly gave his all and was beaten 1-2 in a very tight match which could have gone either way, while Oscar started extremely well against their No 1 taking an early lead, but was slowly reeled in by a very good player 0-2.
The final match score was Truro 5 Millfield 9 and we gave the host school a really good run for their money! Another point of note was that we played a second, friendly match, straight afterwards with changes in the order so everyone played someone different and achieved a number of fine wins during this encounter too. It was very evident that the team consistently grew in stature during the events of the day and conducted itself in exemplary fashion throughout. Thank you to Millfield School for their fine hospitality and we will be back even stronger next time
Mr Smith, Truro School Squash Coach