Having navigated two group stages of five teams and three individually, our quarter-final with Epsom College was fiercely contested. Having beaten us earlier in the season they were understandably confident, although we had home advantage.
Going down 1-0 early in the tie after a narrow loss for Harry Moross (NPTL), Trajan Halvorsen (TEWH) fought back from 2-0 down in his marathon to bring the tie back on level terms at 1-1. Ed Doughty (RDO-C) was given little trouble in his match whilst Oli Harwood (EJNR) and Hussein Diab (TEWH) also had strong wins.
This meant a trip to Nottingham squash centre on Tuesday the 20th March for the finals, accompanied as ever by Dr Day and our coach Matt Davies. Harrow, Wycliffe, and Millfield were the other teams left in the competition.
Each filled up on a full-English breakfast; our first match, the semi-final against Millfield, got under way at 09:00. A notoriously strong school, we all found the going tough with the exception of Moross who pulled off an outstanding 3-2 victory. Even Doughty could not maintain his unbeaten record for the season, going down 3-1 to a skilful opponent in a match full of controversy.
Despite a disappointing exit from the competition there was still a bronze medal to fight for with Harrow as our opposition. Harry pulled off another outstanding victory before Ed put the loss of an unbeaten record behind him and secured a professional win for the team. Trajan fought strongly to come back from 2-0 down, only to lose in the fifth before our Keeper of Squash, Oli Harwood, produced one of his finest displays in an Eton shirt to seal the tie for Eton and bring the medal home. He won 3-1, beating his opposite number from Harrow for the first time on the biggest stage of the lot. In the dead rubber Hussein lost 3-0 to a very strong opponent.
This has been Eton’s finest ever year of squash with victory at the Epsom doubles, second place in the Roehampton invitational tournament, and the longest run in the national’s competition the 1st V has witnessed.
Many thanks to our coach Matt Davies who in his two years with us has brought our game to new levels, and also to Dr Day for organising everything throughout the year.
We look forward to more success next year, although we will be without veterans Harwood, Doughty, and Moross who will be sorely missed as we try and build for the future. Many thanks for their service to the club.
Halvorsen OS (TEWH)