Squash:High hopes

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Jersey have the reigning champions in the men’s ( Rob Hickling), ladies (Kate Cadigan), veterans (Hugh Jones) and vintage (Allen Brown) – and of these only the injured Brown is unable to defend his title.

There are also a number of talented junior players coming through the Bedell development programme and it is hoped that Jersey can also push hard for titles in the junior age groups.

In the U13 event Paul Hickling, Hugo Tupper and Mark Hickling should do well with Max Tupper a strong contender in the U15 boys.

Jersey has three in the U17 boys, George McLeod, Connor Hughes and Alan Magee having all been improving rapidly under the guidance of full time development officer David Evans.

Said Evans: ‘With the elite squad sessions well under way the boys, in particular, have shown great improvements in both technique and mental strength.

I’m sure they won’t be as intimidated by the more experienced Guernsey players this time around.’ In the men’s event Hickling should make it through to the final against Guernsey No 1 Martin Watts, who he beat in last year’s semi final, although there are threats from other Sarnians like Laurence Graham jnr, Dave Merrien, Mark Sheppard and former junior champion Chris Whitworth.

And although Cadigan’s chances of retaining the ladies’ title received a boost with the withdrawal of Alison Stourbridge, she will still have to fight hard.

The development programme has helped the ladies have a full strength entry and their are debuts for Jenny Pryke, Nikki Faux and Chantelle Cunningham.

Hugh Jones is seeded to retain his title in the men’s vets and has a bye into the semi final against team-mate John Wood, although the latter has a good record in their clashes.

Jersey No 2 Steve Law will be hoping to progress to the final with Guernsey’s Paul Lixon and former champion Larry Grover in his way.

Jersey No 2 John Farley should make the vintage final where he could face Martyn Scriven, a former champion in this age group.

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