Portuguese Squash Tour, May 2015
Sundridge Park Squash (aka SPARKS) was delighted to receive an invitation to the inaugural, as well as being the first, Albufeira Squash Invitation Event, taking place over the early May Bank Holiday and sent a team of 17 players to Portugal!
Determined to fly the flag for England as well as Sundridge Park, having boarded the specially arranged Tour coaches to Gatwick we started the tour suitably attired in blazer, white shirt, chinos, boat shoes and the newly commissioned club tie, with SPARKS Portugal tour proudly emblazoned, from Mark 'Printerboy' Harcombe, who was unfortunately unable to attend as he was off for a romantic weekend in Istanbul…Istanbul… "What a bazaar choice", we all said…laughing…tears even rolling down our cheeks in a somewhat bizarrely bazaar manner! Conscious that we were ambassadors and therefore had to behave ourselves impeccably, we all decided that the priority of the weekend had to be the squash and that we would do everything possible to win the coveted trophy. As we all agreed with our mentors Gazza and Boothy, "You gotta be in it to win it" and "Abstinence makes the squash grow stronger".
Greeted by our charming Portuguese hosts Bob and Petra, we had a practice session on the Friday afternoon in preparation for the main match on Saturday and after a light dinner and discussion about tactics we…apart from one or two who had had spatial awareness issues and befriended local cabbies or who had lived up to their nickname, like ‘Afternoon’ Tiffin, were on court bright and early the next morning! The action was intense, all caught on video by JJ, the squash free flowing and at times it really seemed as if there was only one team in it!
Meanwhile the boys – Tekin it Easy and James 5 Bellies had been busy organising a sightseeing trip in the afternoon, and we swept across the arid landscape and searing heat in our fleet of air conditioned limousines. "The only way to travel, you just gotta pity those poor guys, may be bit hung over who would have to do this journey in a van with a few seats chucked in and the air conditioning chucked out….bet they feel real rough, yep, poor suckers", Joel and Nick Tiff were heard to comment, bent over…with laughter! Another early night and onto the court again on Sunday morning – Stewart even playing at 8 am so that was real dedication and Bouncer Ben displaying strong characteristics of dogged persistence and focus! The local teams were so outplayed that really, they needn’t have bothered to turn up!, as we took all before us with, later on the same day some scintillating doubles play by the Master, Dave ‘Laser’ Hansen - first time out but he took to doubles play like a duck to water or, to use a sporting analogy, his consummate skill and aptitude was on a par with his idol Steve Bruce’s success in keeping Hull up in the Premiership!!
Still time later, after the awards ceremony, at which the overwhelming winners were…SPARKS!.. for George 464 to take a quick dip, Phil to lead by example in the Olympic size swimming pool team race, Pas n Dave to lead the evening singalong and Stewart to give us yet another Health n Safety lecture – this time on the perils of sunburn, stressing the importance of regular application of sun tan lotion to ensure that sunburn was avoided by team members!
And so onto Sunday evening, a few of us noticing that Networker, Gazza, AC and Boothy were absent but satisfied with the answer that they were below par, pressies were duly handed out to Tekin It Easy, who by now had been nicknamed Wheelie and greeted with shouts of "Oi, Wheelie…where you wheelie bin?" and James 5B, in recognition of their outstanding organisational and considerate organisation. Back to the airport, luggage thoughtfully being packed by Notso and his team of roombuddies, we settled down to enjoy the flight and Ken Greedy Banker’s tales of macho supercars.
A truly memorable and enjoyable tour – really looking forward to the next one, knowing that we can safely leave all aspects of the organisation in the safe hands of Tek n 5B! Yes, wheelie we can!
Canary Wharf Squash Classic March 27th 2015
World champion Nick Matthew overwhelmed his great rival James Willstrop to claim his fourth Canary Wharf Classic title. Matthew's high-paced attacking game and astonishing court coverage nullified Willstrop's best shots. Matthew clinched an 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 victory in just 51 minutes, the shortest final on record.
Four years ago these two players battled to a standstill in an epic semi-final at the East Wintergarden that finished with Willstrop collapsing with cramp after two hours and seven minutes. More recently, Matthew beat his Yorkshire neighbour in the National Championship final in Manchester lasting 76 minutes.
The sell-out crowd at this spectacular venue must have been disappointed that this showdown was over so quickly, but were spellbound by the sheer quality and intensity of Matthew's performance. At 33, he is one of the fittest players on the PSA World Tour and ran his rival ragged for most of the match. Willstrop made an uncharacteristically high number of errors, which hastened his decline. As five of his shots found their way into the tin in the first game alone, Matthew was driving the ball to a dying length in the back corners.
Matthew began the evening attending a photocall with fellow world champion Laura Massaro. He ended it lifting the Canary Wharf trophy for a fourth time to draw level with Willstrop and joked: “I was aware before the game that James had four titles and I had three. So we’d better come back next year to fight for the fifth title and then both hang up our rackets together.”
He added: “I said to Laura she was going to inspire me this week so when you say something like that you have to back it up. I’m so proud of her.
“Me and James both got through to this final fresh and it was one of the first time I was ready to start strong because I knew that he was on great form.
“And maybe that worked in my favour that he’d not quite been pushed, because he’s sometimes more dangerous when he’s had a four-setter, because then he gets more time to practise those backhand drops.
“Maybe he didn’t have enough practice on those but there was still some amazing shots, and I think it’s the best I’ve moved all year and that really helps.
“I got my tactics right this time but he’ll get his right next time, and it could be his turn.”
The players exchanged some dialogue as Willstrop complained about crowd noise during the rallies. Matthew added: “Me and James differ slightly on the noise level. It’s the more the better for me, and James prefers less. I see his point. It’s not like us to have two different opinions…”
After lifting the trophy in front of a batter of cameras, Matthew turned to his opponent and said: “James, we’ll have some battles, there’s no doubt about that. I can’t play like that every time.
“I thought you would be used to the noise now with a young son. I’ve got that to look forward to with our first baby due later this year.”
Willstrop countered: “I just want to correct Nick – it’s not the noise I have a problem with, it’s the, sort of, intermittent thing. I love the noise.
“The best venues, like Canary Wharf, like the Tournament of Champions, have brilliant atmospheres and people getting involved, so I’m just putting you right there, Nick.”
He added: “Congratulations to Nick. I just have to take my hat off. I don’t know if it looks like it off the court, but I really gave it everything tonight.
“I feel spent and I’ve tried my best, but Nick is on top form, he’s had a great year.
“I can’t really say anything more – he’s given me a bit of a trouncing.
“So I have a lot to learn and many congratulations to him. And thanks to the crowd for turning up, I know it wasn’t a great final, but I hope there were some decent rallies.”
Sundridge Park Junior Squash Open
Age groups: Girls & Boys under 11’s 13’s 15’s 17’s & 19s (depending on numbers)
All entrants must be under the age group limit on 16th August 2015
THIS IS AN ENGLAND SQUASH AND RACKETBALL SANCTIONED TOURNAMENT. ALL ENTRANTS MUST CONFORM TO THE TOURNAMENT REGULATIONS.
Please email email@example.com or call Ben Ford: 07946 557502 for more information and directions.
Hoodies, T-Shirts, Polos
We are now extending the range of tops we offer – adding t-shirts and polos.
Choose what you want from http://www.tlaconsultancy.co.uk/spark/clubshop/ and download the form from http://www.tlaconsultancy.co.uk/spark/clubshop/clothing_order_form.pdf
Kent Closed Championships Glory
The Kent Closed Championships were held last week at Bromley Indoor Tennis Centre.
Our members grabbed lots of places on the list of winners...
Henry Whyte retained his Men’s Singles title and was runner-up in the Mixed competition.
Aaron Robinson won the boys 9 & Under
Daisy Carpenter won the girls 8 & Under
William Everett lost in the semi-final of the 12 & Under
Luke Ralph lost in the semi-final of the boys 10 & Under
Annabel Nuijens lost in the semi-final of the girls 8 & Under
Matt Doran won the Men's consolation event
Mollie Miller won the Girls 18 & Under consolation event
For a non-Performance rated club, this was a fantastic result! Well done to everyone else who participated too.
Regional Squash News
Competition Explained Part 1
Competition Explained Part 2
Competition Age Group Conversion Chart
Coach Education Dates
Grade 4 Winter County Tour Calendar 8U – 10U
Grade 4 Winter County Tour Calendar 12U – 18U
Grade 5 Winter County Tour Calendar 8U -18U
Improvements to rating system
New Competition Search
Winter 2012 info