313B86B0-8084-4C46-86FC-85C231C29C36The 4th JCT of the season and the first one of 2019 brought the Nations best to the west. The San Fran JCT allowed Scozzie’s to escape the freezing temperature of PA and retreat to some sunshine in the Bay Area. The event is always highlighted by US Squash as arguably the most important JCT of the season as the final 50 day countdown approaches leading up to the Superbowl of Squash – Gold Nationals.

Shaamsational
Shaam’s record breaking season of 2017/2018 saw him capture the San Fran JCT as one of the 5 titles he clinched during his historic unbeaten run. He wanted to the continue his undefeated streak on the Best Coast and arrived in the form of his life. The 15 year old worked through the draw and represented his top seeding in style. In the B28011ED-AF14-47B1-B312-2EC862F5804Fsemi finals, he suddenly found himself 2-0 down. Shaams time to show once again why he’s the real deal and slowly but surely, another epic comeback was in progress. After saving match balls in game 4, there was only going to be 1 Winner and suddenly Shaam was in his 7th JCT final in the last 15 months, a truly remarkable feat. In the final it was #1 vs #2 and what a spectacle the boys put on. Shaam came out on fire and raced to game one 11/2 with some unbelievable shotmaking. His opponent bounced back to take games 2 and 3 and Shaam all of a sudden was in search of another miraculous comeback. Game 4 was like game 1, Shaam unstoppable and exactly the response he needed. Game 5, another shootout finale for a coveted JCT crown. It was nip and tuck from the first rally until the last. Shaam saved 3 match balls before gaining one himself. It was a game played at a ferocious tempo and it was a shame someone had to lose. Unfortunately three questionable refereeing calls brought the match to an end and it was 2nd Place this time around for Shaam after a 13/11 game 5.  Another heroic effort from a true Scozzie hero. So proud of your 7th final in what has been a rollercoaster 15 months, two SuperBowl performances left in Boston and Virginia to end another tremendous squash season in style.

Family Winners are Grinners
A7609ADB-7617-42F7-87AA-C9A4A604BF56What’s better than having 1 JCT semi finalist in your family… having two!! Maya played her best squash of the season to reach her first U15 JCT semi which saw her win 3 successive matches 3/0 as she steamrolled into the top 4. Her form then raised to a new level, as she stormed game 1 against the #2 seed in spectacular style. 11/2was the scoreline and crowd sensed a potential upset! Her opponent showed incredible resilience as she fought back to win two nail-bitting games in succession and ended Maya’s dreams of a first JCT championship. Disappointment in the result, but extremely proud of the performance and effort. More impressively, Maya saved the very best for last in the 3/4 play off. Her 4th 3/0 of the event couldn’t have come at a better time, as she perfected the game plan execution to win the Bronze Medal against a very difficult opponent. 3rd this time, Maya will be coming for Number 1 next time, a huge weekend for both Maya and Shaam who’ve learned valuable lessons from their experiences at the British Open a fortnight ago. As a result, both have taken their games to the next level. and with one final JCT before the season finale in Charlottesville, it’s going to be a huge two months of preparation as they aim to be the first brother and sister dual National Champion! Would anyone bet against the Gambhir double?!

The second set of smiles came from the Weil sisters. Kristen had a tremendous run in the GU17’s, upsetting number 9 in the country and then gaining 3/0 revenge against another opponent she’d lost to in a recent Gold. Her 11th place finish should be a huge confidence booster as she targets top 8 for the remainder of the season. 5D9AF46C-B66B-4874-98B6-227C4485B590One of many seniors and big sister of Kristen- Lauren pushed one of the eventual finalists in the GU19s all the way in R1 before losing in a very close 4 games. Proving she’s capable of competing against the best in the country, Lauren then reversed the scoreline with a huge 3-1 win in the Consolations against someone ranked 19 spots above her. Her 21st place finish should provide a huge ranking boost before The Frank Millett JCT and her final junior tournament before college – Gold Nationals.

U17 domination
Scozzie qualified a record 6 players for this JCT, as we dominated the most challenging age bracket of the event. 1146D3AF-8163-4FD5-AEF2-6785C2295E4BOn top of Shaams success, Christian joined him on the champions podium as the Consolation winner winning 5/6 matches in an extremely deep and difficult draw. One of his wins came on Monday morning in a potential ‘Match of the Weekend’ in an All Scozzie showdown vs Tom. It came down to the wire in a 65 minute marathon and Christian was the victor 11/9 in the 5th. That was Tom’s third Scozzie vs Scozzie match up, after defeating Sameer in a five game thriller in the 9-16 match up on Sunday night and after Shaam squeezed past him in R2. His 11th place finish showcased all the skills and improvement to prove that he’s ready to take his game to the next level. He’s been on a monumental improvement curve since shocking the Nation to win Silver Nationals 9 months ago as a 13th seed. He’s now on the verge of cracking the top 10 and he has his sights firmly set on bigger and better things when he ages up to U19.

Nikhil got the bogey draw as he had to face two top 8 seeds in his first 2 matches. He had chances in both, but couldn’t quite convert the big points at the crucial stages. Never one to have his head down, Nikhil bounced back in the best possible way. He won three matches in succession to claim the clean sweep in U17’s for Scozzie 8F0280DC-E4B6-4B8B-A56C-EE62FA07FB3Ewinning all pieces of Silverware on offer in the respective Main Draw, Consolation and Plate events. His Plate final was a memorable one against a higher ranked and rated player, defeating him 3/0 in devastating fashion. What an effort from our U17 boys brigade, we’re very proud of the efforts you continue to make as the program dominates the division like never before.

More Success! Mr BU11 and Ms GU19
Our final two headlining stories came in the two opposite divisions – BU11 and GU19. Daniel qualified for his first ever JCT and made it one to remember. After a great experience of playing the two seed in R1, he then upset a 9-12 seed 3/0 to win his first ever JCT match and guarantee a top 12 finish. A moment he’ll never forget, what a memory for one of our rising stars. In the GU19’s Meghna made another JCT quarter final and had a great 4FF0BF92-FB4B-408F-A29C-CDE947F46C74performance on Monday to cap her weekend. The focus now turns toward Gold Nationals in March, where Meghna will be looking to repeat her 2x National Championship successes and we can’t wait to be part of the journey.

As we wait in San Francisco airport, it’s been another super JCT. We love our annual trip out for the West Coast event and it’s been made even more enjoyable by the efforts and achievements of all 14 of our Scozzie’s over the course of 3 days of action. Two top 3 finishes amongst many season best performances. So much to build from over the next weeks and the countdown to the next JCT has already begun! Let’s make 2019 the BYE Year – Best Year Ever!