The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain

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The sixth annual Festival of Squash organised by the GB Vets was held at the RAC, Woodcote Park, Epsom on Sunday 4th. November.

By 9.30 a.m. groups of keen players, with ages spanning from 29 to 83, representing the GB Vets, the Army and the Escorts, began arriving to join the players from the host RAC team.

For the Army Craig Webb was the overall star winning all three of his Singles playing at No.1 whilst also playing in three Doubles matches. Phil Croager and Nick Palmer repeated their achievements of 2017 by winning all three of their Doubles.

The ladies were well represented with newcomer Shayne Baillie (RAC) joining Mandy Akin and Karen Hume (GB Vets). All played highly competitive and exciting matches throughout the day.

One of the key factors of the whole day was the way in which the GB Vets were able to dominate the Doubles.

Dermot Hurford made his debut in the Festival and teamed up with Dave Clarke following the absence of Alan Thomson. Dermot and Dave won all three of their doubles scoring 12 vital points for the GB Vets team. In addition to Dermot and Dave’s splendid performance, Mandy and Karen won two of their three matches and amassed another ten points. Perhaps even more splendid was the way that the really
“mature” GB Vets players performed in the other doubles with Nigel Belle and Roger Sulley (combined ages of 148) winning both their matches, and Lance Kinder and John Woodliffe (combined ages of 166) also winning their one match. It was great to have John and Lance participating especially given Lance’s recent achievement of winning the Over 80 World Masters Championship in Charlottesville, US.

The strong performances in the Singles were Craig Webb (The Army) who won all three of his matches equaling his performance in 2017, Howard Cherlin (Escorts) who won both of his matches, whilst John Goodrich (GB Vets), Chris Goodbourn (GB Vets), Nick Palmer (The Army) and Andrew Lowenthal (RAC) all won two matches.

Over the whole of the day a record number of 95 games were played in the 22 Singles matches, and 80 games in the 18 Doubles matches.

The result of the overall competition went down to the wire with large galleries watching the final matches which proved to be key to the final positions.

After the splendid Jane Belle and Di Hendry, who had managed the timetable through the day, had reckoned up all the points, the result showed the closest competition since the event started in 2013 with all sides scoring well:

GB Vets: 66
The Army: 60
Escorts 47
R.A.C.: 44

Shortly after the final matches finished, hot and cold canapés, were served with beer and wine for both players and the many guests who came to support their teams. Finally, the GB Vets Chairman, Tom Hendry, thanked James Dubois and the RAC for their generosity in making it possible for the event to take place in such fine surroundings. Tom then thanked Jane and Di for their hard work orchestrating the matches for the four courts throughout the day. He also thanked Berge Kay (Escorts), Phil Ashman (The Army) and James Dubois (RAC) for assembling their players and congratulated everyone for both turning out and exemplifying the spirit of the event -that participation was much
more important than the result!

The Festival of Squash Trophy for 2018 was then presented to Nigel Belle who had led
his GB Vets team from the front and narrowly prevented The Army winning five times in a row. Finally, Nigel thanked his players, opponents and the organisers for another great event and spoke for all present, stating that they could not wait for the next festival when we can celebrate our great sport.

See you all on Sunday November 3rd. 2019!

Tom Hendry,
Chairman, GB Vets.