An Inspiring Junior Squash Journey at Club Towers

When we established Club Towers, one of our core aims was to re-establish squash in Bedfordshire and, in particular, to develop the next generation of players who would enjoy this wonderful sport by investing in junior squash. At the time, back in 2017, there was literally no junior development going on in the whole of north Bedfordshire and County Junior squash had disappeared a couple of decades earlier.

We thought we might illustrate the progress made using the example of Jonathan. He first picked up a squash racquet in July 2017 and was in the first coaching cohort at the Club, which started in September 2017, when he was aged 10. He had done 5 years of Saturday morning junior Club football and played rugby at school but was not particularly taken with either and had asked his parents if he could pack in his football. His parents agreed on the basis that he started to play squash in addition to the tennis that he was already playing, and hence he found his way into the Club’s squash coaching programme.

Playing in the first Junior Club Championship in May 2018
Winning his first Beds County Closed U15 Tournament in 2019

Jonathan quickly realised that he loved squash! But what was it that appealed to him? We asked him and this is what he told us: “Squash is such a great sport to play. It is fast-paced and dynamic, and you can hit the ball really hard – it feels super-satisfying when you learn to do this and I still love hitting it as hard as I can. Now I’m older, I love playing in the competitions, when every match is a new challenge and you don’t know what your opponent will be like or how they will play. It can be frustrating, but very rewarding if you manage to win!”

Winning Northants Grand Prix A Grade in October 2021

After a couple of years, Jonathan started to play the occasional local competition via the Northants GP series, run by Northants County Squash, and he quickly found that he enjoyed these events – both the squash and the social side. It helped that he won the first D-Grade GP event that he entered! He entered the Club’s internal adult box leagues (in the bottom league) once he reached age 14 and has been steadily working his way up these in the last 2-3 years. He also started to play some England Squash tournaments – lower level Copper and Bronze events initially and then progressing to the bigger Silver, Gold and Platinum (national events). Jonathan has also become an important part of the Club’s men’s squash teams, making his debut at 5th string when he was 15.

Playing in British Junior Open Championships May 2022
Winning England Squash Bronze event in May 2022

Now aged 16, a milestone was reached recently when he managed to win promotion to the top adult box league in the Club for the first time, bypassing his Dad, who fortuitously dropped down to League 2 to avoid playing him! He became the first player to join the leagues at or near the bottom to reach the top! He also played in the recent National English Championships, finishing 26th , and is now ranked 25 in the national junior U17 rankings. Quite an achievement given that he started playing squash only 6 years ago.

Winning Beds County Closed 2022 U17 & U19 categories

Jonathan is a fine example of the progress that can be made with a positive attitude to the sport, and it is an example that is now being followed by other juniors who play at the Club, such as Dan, Charlotte, Annabel, Matthew, Alfie, Alex and many more…… Alex and Alfie have both taken their first steps towards competing more widely, with Alex winning his grade in the recent Northants GP series.

We now have over 80 juniors playing squash on a weekly basis at the Club (via our own coaching programme and our school’s programme) or at the Bedford Squash Academy, which we established at Mowsbury a couple of years ago. If you are ever down at the Club when a session is taking place, you will know from the noise that they are having a lot of fun! We have also now reinstated a junior county squash squad and they meet regularly for training sessions and try to organise regular fixtures and competitions for our juniors.

Below is a quick summary of Jonathan’s progress over the last 6-7 years….. We hope he will be the first of many junior squash stories that we can feature!!

Jonathan’s Junior Squash Journey…… Key Milestones

July 2017 – Picked up a squash racquet for the first time

Sept 2017 – First Club coaching session

Oct 2018 – Played (and won) first Northants GP (D Grade)

Mar 2019 – Northants GP Grade B Winner

Apr 2019 – Played in first England Squash Competition at U13 Level

Dec 2019 – Won First Junior County Title

2020 – COVID

Sept 2021 – Entered Club Internal Adult Box Leagues

Jan 2022 – Played in first National England Squash Competition

May 2022 – Won First England Squash Title (Bronze Event)

Oct 2022 – Made debut for Club Towers Men’s Adult Team

Dec 2023 – Reached League 1 in Club Adult Box Leagues

Feb 2024 – Finished 26th in England Squash National Championships U17

Mar 2024 – Reached 25 in National U17 Rankings

If your child would like to try the brilliant sport of squash, then please contact Steve Adams ([email protected]) and we can organise a free taster session for them. As Jonathan says, it is a fast, exciting and ultimately fun sport to play as a youngster or adult, and great from both a social and fitness perspective!