Derby staged the City of Derby 4* Junior Open last weekend (10th/11th March) at the Moorways Sports Centre. Over 200 of the best cadets and juniors entered from all over the country. Seven of Derby League Club Draycott’s players competed but all found the going very tough against some of the best junior players in England. The players involved were Lucie Hancock, Georgina Walker, Joe Abbott, Eban Straker-Meads, Amy Humphries, Abbie Milwain and Adam Cross. Overall Amy Humphries and Abbie Milwain were the most successful.
13 year old Amy Humphries entered events at both U15 and U18 age groups. She had a titanic battle in her Grade 1 U18 group. She first played against Lincolnshire’s Emily Ross which turned out to be a see-saw match. Amy took the first end, but then trailed 2-1 before fighting back to 2-2. In the final end Amy led 10-8 before Emily staged a dramatic comeback to take the match 12-10. In her next match Amy faced another higher ranked opponent – Harriet Taylor (Middlesex). This was again another close encounter which saw Amy battle back from 2-1 down to take the match to yet another final end. However, on this occasion it was Amy who snatched the match 11-8 to gain an unexpected win. Amy did not progress from the group as Harriet beat Emily 3-1 to take top spot.
In the girls U15 singles Amy, despite losing her first match, gained a win over Staffordshire’s Morgan Sykes to take 2nd place in her group. In the Last 16 she also defeated Grace Potter from Lincolnshire 3-0 and then at the QF stage she faced England No.4 Cadet Lucy Zhu. Amy who is currently ranked No. 10 fought hard but a number of unforced backhand errors saw her eventually lose 11-9 in the 4th game.
Abbie Milwain (Chellaston Senior School) was playing in her final Derby Junior 4* and the England No.6 Junior was seeded No. 3 for the U18 open event. Even in her group she did not have it easy as she only scrambled through her first match 3-2, but then got into her stride to win her 2nd match and progress into the main draw. After another win she faced fast rising Sussex star Emma Torkington in the QF but Abbie was now in top gear and raced to a 3-0 win. In the SF Abbie faced top seed Tin Tin Ho (Middlesex) and despite playing well and taking the second end was eventually over-powered by 3 games to 1.