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Young squash star Dylan has a ball as he finishes 7th in first international

PUBLISHED: 09:20 11 January 2018

Dylan Roberts, 10, said:

Dylan Roberts, 10, said: "Now I can test myself against the best in the world."

Archant

Wilmington squash star Dylan Roberts finished a highly respectable seventh in his first international event.

The 10-year-old said he really relished his first experience at the Dunlop British Junior Open.

At the competition in Birmingham, he came in seventh place in the boys’ under-11 category.

He was beaten in the quarter-finals by Egypt’s star top seed – and eventual winner – Ahmed Rashed 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 and then played for the minor placings.

On the final day he was pitted against county rival Jude Gibbins and managed an emphatic 3-0 win in 19 minutes.

Dylan was one of 220 English players taking part in the UK’s premier junior squash event and one of the most prestigious in the sport.

The Kent No 1 said: “It’s been a really fun week. I’ve never played people as good as some of those I beat.

“I’ve gained lots of experience and it’s been so good because I can now test myself against the best in the world and that’s what I have to do now.

“I really want to improve my straight drives and make them tighter.”

Egypt is currently the top nation in both junior and senior squash and young Dylan, who attends Joydens Wood Junior School, in Wilmington, admitted he has never had to play as hard in his short career as the standard in international competitions is so much higher.

But he said it has been an excellent learning curve and now he knows what it takes to win.

Dylan said: “You have to really work against the Egyptians for every single point. I just want to do as well as I can and progress from here.”

The two top Kent juniors were knocked out of the main competition within an hour of each other Jude Gibbins lost out in a thrilling quarter-final match to Malaysia’s Nickhileswar Moganasundharam.

It was the first time the Dunlop British Junior Open had featured the under-11s category.

Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the open.

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