Norfolk’s squash boys qualify in Colchester

Norfolk's Under-13 boys qualified for next month's Inter-County National Trophy final after brave performances against Essex and Derbyshire.

Following Oxford's late withdrawal, Norfolk were left with two counties to compete against.

After an opening 3-2 defeat to Essex, Norfolk took advantage of Derbyshire missing their number one player to win 20-1, with only Sam Crafer dropping a game.

Essex produced an identical result to set up the final showdown with Norfolk – and it proved to be a cracker.

Crafer (three) lost out to Ben Richardson 3-1, while Sam McCluskey (five) closed out his match by the same score. William Henden (one) recovered from illness to make the competition but went down 3-1 to Charlie Green, while Liam Bond (four) lost out in a decider 11-8, showing great sportsmanship over some decisions that went against him.

Essex won the match, but with one place available to the best group runner-up, there was still all to play for in the final game. Milo Butler (two) lost to Connor Adams in the opening fixture, but this time – and with the hopes of Norfolk resting on him – he produced his best performance in a Norfolk shirt to take the contest 12-10 7-11 11-7 13-11.

Despite losing the match 3-2 and 16-10, there was nothing to choose between the teams, and Norfolk qualify for the finals as the best runners-up.

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Thanks went to coach Liam Nolan, who gave constant encouragement and instruction throughout, and reserve Daniel Heffer who played two Essex reserves, winning one and losing one.

• Result: 1 Essex 36 points, 2 Norfolk 30, 3 Derbyshire 2.