COLCHESTER Garrison was packed to the rafters as nearly 100 schoolchildren played out the final chapter of this season’s Off The Wall Squash Roman Cup competition.

The finals saw a record 24 teams from nine Colchester primary schools going full tilt in pursuit of glory.

They were cheered on by teachers, friends and family and produced a level of squash that had tournament director Lauren Selby beaming.

She said: "The level of squash and enthusiasm and commitment from all the players was simply wonderful.

“This was the largest-ever entry for our youngest group of players, equalling that of our year five and year six event that was played in the autumn.

"Schools in Colchester are really embracing squash, which has been recognised as the world’s number one sport for all-round fitness, and the programme is going from strength to strength.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Lieutenant Colonel Steve Caldwell, commander at Colchester Garrison, and councillor Nick Cope, Colchester's Deputy Mayor.

Both attended the event and helped present trophies and awards at the end.

The finals day was extremely tense following two rounds of preliminary matches in March, which determined whether schools went into the Finalists Groups or Play-off Groups.

The action on the day was intense and the quality of squash extraordinary as teams from Ardleigh, Brooklands, Colchester High, Great Bromley, Highfields, Layer de la Haye, Lawford, Bradfield and Langham battled it out for the Roman Cup, which was sponsored by the England Squash Foundation and The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation.

Results: Year four: 1st Lawford 1, 2nd Ardleigh St Mary’s, 3rd Colchester High School.

Year three: 1st Lawford 1 118 points, 2nd Langham 115 points, 3rd Brooklands 114 points.

Awards, based on total points for and against over three rounds: Year four - best boy: Dominic Bowden (Lawford); Best girl - Grace Cooper (Brooklands). Year three - best boy: Finn Prestney (Lawford); Best girl - Amelia Elden (Ardleigh St Mary’s).

Most improved boy: Year four (decided by the coaches): Noah Howard (Layer de la Haye); Most improved girl - Marnie Buchan (Highfields). Year three: most improved boy - Jack Percival (Langham); Most improved girl - Mia Stacey (St George’s, Great Bromley).