The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain

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The annual Festival of Squash was held at the splendid RAC, Woodcote Park on Sunday October 10th. GB Vets, RAC, Escorts and Army teams lined up to play each other with the usual 3 singles and 3 doubles teams. A template for the schedule of matches and handicapping based on age completed the set up and all seemed straightforward to the new Chair.

The theory is great but finding a team of players is much more difficult and all the teams had setbacks. The Army lost their top two early in the week and another deployed Friday evening. At the same time GB Vets Dean Newberry (down for 6 matches) twisted his knee and Charles Fuente fell off a boat! There were last minute negotiations to find players and eventually, every team turned out a full side.

The matches were varied and always entertaining. Notable battles included, singles: Fergus Burnett beating the young Escorts No.1 3/2, John Goodrich overcoming the Army’s No.3 also 3/2. Although he lost 3/2 Dan Sweeney’s match against the Army Captain. Doubles: Sweeney/Burnett beating the formidable Army duo of Ashmans 3/2 and Burnett/Sheppard just getting past the Escorts pair (also GB Vets) of Alan Boulden and Dave Parker 3/2.
Kinder and Woodliffe playing doubles for the Escorts enjoyed their opponents needing 38 points to win but youth prevailed in the end and one does not often get Smith, Belle and youth in the same sentence! What a joy to play on proper doubles courts despite the extra size messing up ones best kill shots.

It was looking good for the GB Vets around lunch but other teams were spurred on in the second half leaving the winners easing to victory by just 2 points. The Army pipping the GB Vets followed by the RAC and Escorts.
The Club put on good post match spread and many stayed for drinks and chat with old friends.

Thanks to James Dubois and the RAC for the use of the Club and the consummate professionalism of all the backroom staff. Thanks to team captains – Chris O’Brien Army, Shayne Baillie RAC and Jonny Machin & Dave Parker Escorts -and all the players who played with great spirit and sporting flair.

Finally, it is the Chair’s event to organise, but it was Jane and Nigel Belle who did all the pre weekend planning and match schedules (11 versions!) and kept us all ticking along to time during the day so a special thanks from me to them.

The Festival is a great event and I encourage all playing members to look out for next year’s date and offer their services to play.

Ian Graham
GB Vets Captain

GB Vets players: Nigel Belle, Nigel Bacon, Fergus Burnett, John Goodrich, Ian Graham, Karen Hume, John Prestwick, Nick Sheppard, Robert Smith, Dan Sweeney.


GB Vets Team Aubrey Smith( left) receiving the trophy from Ian Graham Army Team