Favourite Simpson Leads England's European Junior Title Defence

16 Mar 05

Sussex's British Junior Squash champion Chris Simpson has been selected to lead the England team in their defence of the title in next week's European Junior U19 Team Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

Guernsey-born Simpson, 17, from Brighton in Sussex, is the youngest member of the mixed team which also includes James Wright, from Leicester; Tom Richards, from St George's Hill in Surrey; Jenna Gates, from Brighton; and Rachel Willmott, from Horsham in Sussex.

Simpson, who is making his third successive appearance for England in the event, is also seeded to win the European Junior Individual title in Malmo, from 19-22 March. The team competition gets underway on Thursday 24th March, with the finals on Sunday (27th March).

A pupil at Brighton College, Simpson was a semi-finalist in the individual event twelve months ago, and followed his success in the British Junior Championships in February by also winning the Welsh Junior Open title in Cardiff.

Wright and Richards are both making their second England appearances in the European Championships, while Gates and Willmott are making their debuts. Jenna and Rachel contested an all-Sussex women's British Junior final last month in Manchester, with Gates triumphing to deny Willmott her seventh British Junior National trophy.

"Whilst we taking nothing for granted, particularly with strong opposition from countries like Germany and France, we are quietly optimistic at our chances of retaining the title," said Team Manager Mike Harris, the England Squash High Performance Coach. "All our players are playing well at the moment, and all have got good draws in the individual event."