Lancashire’s rising squash star Charlie McCrone says she banked a wealth of experience after reaching the quarter-finals in her first major tournament last week.
The 10-year-old from Chorley was one 220 English players and 620 budding juniors overall competing at the Dunlop British Junior Open in Birmingham, the most prestigious event in junior world squash.
McCrone, who has been mentored by former world champion and England No.1 Laura Massaro, participated in the Under-11s age category – introduced for the first time this year – where she was knocked out in the quarter-finals.
She eventually finished eighth after contesting the plate competition which finished on Sunday.
Given that many of her international rivals had already experienced major tournaments, McCrone remained impressively upbeat. “I’ve learnt so much and made some new friends,” said the youngster.
“For young girls like me it is important to have the opportunity to play in events like this and we deserved to have an Under-11s category.”
McCrone, a pupil at St Catherine’s Primary School in Leyland, was beaten 3-0 by Lauren Baltayan of France in the last eight at the University of Birmingham.
“She had so much experience and I saw that she had the attack and the power and the determination you need. They really want it so much.
“I learnt that in my second-round match. I was 2-0 up and then it was 2-2. I had to find that determination myself to see the match through.”
McCrone’s talent has already been recognised by England Squash, who invited her to participate in a talent weekend in Manchester.
Chorley world No.4 Massaro has taken her under her wing and Mccrone says this has cemented her status as a role model. “Laura is such an inspiration for all young squash players and everyone should look up to her as an idol,” she said
McCrone will hope to compete in the Under-13s age category at next year’s Dunlop British Junior Open in Birmingham when she will still be aged 11.
“Watching others here, I am already learning for next year,” she added.