The RDSA organises a number of social events each year. These may just be get togethers in a local pub or restaurant or they may be organised days out to watch or play squash at other venues around the country. Have a look at the Events Calendar for upcoming dates for your diary.
2015 British Nationals, Manchester
Another fine rdsa away trip, returning again to Manchester and the National Squash Centre.
Despite a rocky start, which saw a landslide between Banbury and Leamington cause us to reroute from Reading to Euston, a party of six rdsa'ers, a Reigate Squash member and Rob's Uncle Graham made it to Piccadilly for midday on Saturday, 14 Feb. Nick was a casualty of the rerouting and was forced to pull out, much to his disappointment but his wife's delight at not being deprived her Valentine's roses!
On Saturday afternoon we watched Laura Massaro end Victoria Lust's run in the competition at the semi-final stage in a comfortable 3-0 30 minute game. The second ladies' semi was a tougher affair at 65 minutes and saw Sarah-Jane Perry cause an upset by beating the tournament's second seed Alison Waters 3-2, Waters who was going for her third consecutive National title. The brave referee being forced to call a stroke to Perry on match point.
The men's semis were almost a mirror with the first, Selby v Waller going the distance after Selby conceded the first two games. His candid after-match interview revealed that he'd rather have spent the Sunday at home with his baby boy but somehow managed to lift his game to win through. The second semi saw world number three, Nick Matthew, prove too strong for Chris Simpson. It was one of the 3-0 scorelines that didn't quite tell the full story with Simpson scoring 9, 8 and 6 points respectively. It took Matthew 51 minutes to reach match point. See here for the full report of the semis.
And so enthused by the fine squash we made our way to into Manchester and some fine food at the Print Works, at least doubling the average age.
After Sunday morning breakfast, we were again hosts of the Manchester Tennis and Racquets Club. The club is an absolute gem of a building, established in 1860, and "one of the modern ones", we had a few games of squash, racketball, racquets and even a quick turn on the Real Tennis courts. In the inaugural Raynsford v Crayston first-to-hit-the-grille competition, Steve ricocheted one off three walls and the roof before skimming the bottom corner of the target and claimed victory, but we expect that to be the last we hear of that. Our thanks go to the club professional, Rod McNaughtan for his hospitality and for showing around this marvellous club.
And so the finals. And what a couple of games they turned out to be. Sarah-Jane Perry, having played five sets and out of her skin on Saturday, v Laura Massaro - surely only one result? But Perry pulled out another battling performance to take the title 3-2 in an 80 minute marathon having to win the fifth after going 2-0 up. Nick Matthew granted Daryl Selby his wish, albeit 24 hours late, by winning 3-0 in 45 minutes and so becoming the man to win the most British National titles in history. See here for the full match report.
Although we'd have wished for a five-setter in the Men's as well as the Ladies' final, it did mean that we comfortably made the train home, and after toasting a fine weekend with Virgin's finest Tilt Pale Ale, and coasting through London on the now infamous "landslide" tickets, we were all home for the end of MOTD2. What a weekend!
2014 Christmas Wrap Up
The first Sunday in December 2014 saw the third rdsa Christmas Wrap Up to be held at Reigate Squash Club. Spurred on by the chance to say farewell to Tina, Steve and Colin, a record turn out of 45 came along.
The turn up and play section made full use of the three courts available, and despite a nasty twist to Darius’s ankle, all went well and everyone enjoyed a well organised club night. Thanks Colin for organising so smoothly in what will prove to be his last solo effort. Bet you’ll miss it having taken the session from nigh on extinction to “no need to advertise”!
Turn up and play was followed by the main events: the Shield final and the Cup final.
The Shield saw Chris Myers and Tony Mordan go head-to-head. Tony took a good lead, Chris fought back, Tony’s hamstring went ping, and Chris managed to edge the match 14-15, 15-7, 15-9.
In the Cup Final, the marketeers dream final of the rdsa’s top seeds more than lived up to expectations. Tom Jenkins and Ali Holmes gave it their all from the outset. Ali took the first; was the writing on the wall for the seasoned hand of Mr J!? Nothing of the sort. Set 2 saw a great fightback by Tom to level at 1-1. The final and deciding set was nip and tuck all the way but youth managed to win the day with Ali have more in the tank in the latter stages. Final scores 12-15, 15-12, 10-15.
Both games were a tremendous spectacle for the sell out crowd, expertly marked by James and Graham (ESR Club Qualified Referees) and even attracted a few RSC spectators!
And so all to the bar for the fish & chips (no salt and pepper or tommy ketch, note to self for next year), a free pint served expertly by the unflappable Nick Dunning, and the presentations. See The Trophy Room for full details, but congratulations to Ali, Tom, Chris, Tony and Cathy whose names will be preserved for evermore in the silverware on display at Donyngs. Special mention was made of Paul Hiley and Rob Thatcher who finished third and fourth in the Player of the Year standings racking up an annual best of 58 games a piece.
The saddest part of the evening came with the farewells as the rdsa thanked Colin, Tina and Steve for their years of service. All were very gracious in accepting their gifts: Mrs W says Colin’s not put his 'Brown-filled pewter tankard down since he received it; and even Tina and Steve looked quite pleased with the rdsa shirt which 50 rdsa’ers had signed (thanks to Steve R and Chris I). The committee also wishes to say thank you for the bottles of wine that were presented by James in appreciation – mine had gone by Christmas Day!
Thanks to that came along for what I hope was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Looking forward to next year’s already!
Dorking v Donyngs friendly, Dorking Lawn Tennis & Squash Club
On the 12 April 2014, the rdsa entered the world of team squash fielding a team of seven to take on what was essentially Dorking's fourth team from the the Surrey Cup.
The friendly match was held at Dorking's club and such was the interest a seven string match replaced the more traditional five.
The matches were very keenly competed but Dorking exploited the home advantage to edge the tie 4-3.
Playing squash on one of the nicest days of the year proved to be thirsty work but as luck would have it the bar was open. And just because no squash social event would be complete without one, Nitin knocked up a blinding curry which all enjoyed al fresco. Thanks must go to Nitin for cooking and to Dorking for hosting.
A fine day all in all, the success of which has lead the committee to seek other neighbouring clubs looking for similar games. Watch this space.
Results (Home team first)
Game 1: Tim Reilly 0 - 3 Tom Jenkins
Game 2: Nitin Patel 3 - 0 Kevin Amos
Game 3: Michael Coughlin 3 - 0 Roger Appleton
Game 4: Paul Downman 3 - 1 Ali Holmes
Game 1: Matt Jones 3 - 2 Rob Crayston
Game 2: John Barnes 3 - 2 Steve Raynsford
Game 3: Michael Shanahan 2 - 3 Meyrick Holmes
White Lion Quiz Night part 4, Redhill
A team of seven formed the Squashed Balls assault on the big prize down at the White Lion's Thursday quiz night. Despite a dodgy start (kick-off 8:30 these days, not 9!) a feisty run was put together right through to the last round, where Rene's wife, Edith, proved our undoing.
Despite only managing joint fourth with The Muppets a good time was had by all.
ESR marking course, Guildford
Three power-crazed members of the RDSA joined the ESR-sponsored marking course at the state of the art sports facility that is Surrey Sports Park.
The four hour course imparted some very interesting information on the game (what's turning again!?). The written exam has been received by the three and the pressure's on to pass!
World Championships 2013, Manchester
A contingent of six RDSA and Reigate Squash Club members made the trip north to Manchester on the first weekend of November to witness what can only be described as the most memorable squash any of us had ever seen.
As tradition dictates, the weekend kicked-off in the Piccadilly Wetherspoons: essential victuals to revive body and soul following the early train from Reigate.
After offloading the bags at our palatial lodgings it was off to Manchester Central for the first of the semi-finals: Nick Matthew vs Ramy Ashour. Unfortunately Ashour had to withdraw injured at the start of the third game; two visits to the hospital in the preceeding week had not been enough to ward off an injury obviously causing him issues. The sell-out crowd of 1,800 was understandably disappointed.
This proved the only low point of the weekend, however, and the atmosphere was soon revived by a thrilling second semi-final between Mohamed El Shorbagy and Gregory Gaultier. The enterprising Egyptian provided some spectacularly attacking squash but ultimately lost 3-1 to the Frenchman.
Buoyed by the great entertainment (and a shiny new squash bag) we headed to Deansgate for refreshment and Rusholme for the customary curry (courtesy of Abdul the Welsh brummie!).
Sunday morning offered the opportunity of playing a couple of friendlies to clear the head, burn off the best Chai Latte Cafe had to offer as well as get over the trauma of Firework Cab Hire. The original plan of playing at the National Squash Centre was vetoed by the u17 and u19 National Championships but Plan B proved to be even better. A prospective approach to Manchester Tennis and Racquets club was most hospitably accepted and we spent an amazing couple of hours in what can only be described as a Victorian Gentlemen's club with racquets facilities. An understated red-brick facade lead to a glorius entrance hall replete with original panelling and winding staircase. As well as the second floor squash court, the club boasts a racquets court and a real tennis court. We were allowed a short go at racquets: imagine trying to hit a golf ball with an extra-long 1980s squash racquet against a wall 40ft away. The rebound is more like dodging a bullet than playing a ball game. And as for real tennis - could take a while to get a proper grip on those rules! If our hosts happen to be reading this, a very big thanks to you for an incredible morning. Even Mike was impressed!
And so to lunch and thence the final. And what a game that turned out to be. Serving for the championship (as well as the 19:15 train to Euston), Matthew failed to take the first championship point to win the match 3-0. Gaultier turned up the intensity from there resulting in an 111 minute epic which Matthew managed to close out 3-2. Luckily the 20:20 train was on time and nobody minded the slightly later than planned arrival home (spouses excluded perhaps).
All in all a tremendous weekend. Watch this space for more opportunities to get involved in similar events.
Surrey Sports Park Away Day, Guildford
A fine afternoon's squash was enjoyed by seven RDSA'ers on Saturday, 20th July. The high quality courts brought the best out of all and the glass-backed viewing meant the spectators didn't know whether to watch the Open, the Ashes or the squash.
Thirsty work in such hot weather meant that fluid replacement was key and the Anchor at Pyford Lock fitted the bill nicely - the fish & chips weren't bad either.
Thanks to all that took part, especially to the transport organiser.
White Lion Quiz Night part 3, Redhill
The third attempt by the RDSAces to take the coveted White Lion Quiz Night saw an seven-strong team push the ultimate winners to the last question.
Many of us will never forget that Richard III was the last king of England to die in battle.
But undeterred, the next attempt is already in the diary: see the Events Calendar for details.
Premier Squash League Semi-Final, Croydon
A couple of squash-hungry RDSA members made it over to Virgin Active in Croydon to watch Surrey Health & Racquets edge past Oxford in one half of the PSL semi-final draw. The highlight of the match was Adrian Grant's 11/13, 11/4, 11/9, 14/12 comeback to beat Cameron Pilley - world number 20 beating world number 17.
Surrey H&R will face Nick Matthew's Duffied in the PSL final on 7th May in Nottingham.
White Lion Quiz Night Easter Special, Redhill
Great turn out for the Easter Sunday White Lion Quiz Night which saw three RDSA teams take positons 2, 3 and 4 in a special holiday format of the popular weekly quiz.
Over 14 RDSA members and their families took up one section of the pub and, despite the bitter blow of a closed kitchen, pushed team RDSAces into second place like a well-oiled Formula 1 team: team We're With Steve and the continuously-growing team Roger & Holmes managed a credible third and fourth place.
Check out the Events Calendar for details of the next quiz night.
Canary Wharf Qualifiers and Six Nations Decider, Wimbledon
The disappointment of witnessing England's non-performance in the Six Nations decider via the widescreen facilities of Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club was offset handsomely by the bar's two Guinness for a fiver offer and some excellent squash of the Canary Wharf Classic first round of qualifying.
Eight games in all proved a feast of squash on Saturday afternoon. Of the sixteen contenders, four made it through to the tournament proper, with one, Henrik Mustonen of Finland, making it through to the quarter-finals by beating the world's number 17 Adrian Grant.
It was a fine afternoon of squash featuring two-handed back-handers, forfeited games due to snapped shoe-laces and vocal international duels. If you carefully inspect the official photos, a certain RDSA representative's right hand is just about visible on image number 20.
2012 Christmas Wrap Up, Reigate Squash Club
Follow this link for details and pictures of the 2012 presentations evening that took place in December at Reigate Squash Club.
British Open Finals, 02 Arena
Sunday, 20th May 2012 saw the O2 Arena, London host the Mens and Ladies Finals of the British Open. Eight hardy souls from the RDSA endured harrowing tales of nasty bicycle accidents to witness a quality of squash second to none.
Full results and match reports can be viewed at http://www.britishopensquash.net/sunday-allam-british-open-finals/. Special prize for spotting Mike or Colin in the crowd shot photo, or Jansher Khan who was also in attendance.
Family Fun Day, Reigate
On Saturday, September 3rd 2011, RDSA members and their families turned up to a Family Fun Day in Reigate's Priory Park.
About twenty participants ranging from 15 months old to around Steve's age took part in games of rounders, football and cricket, boarding in the skate park or just climbing trees.
In keeping with tradition, the event was rounded off with food; club funds sponsoring a round of delicious ice creams from the Pavillion Cafe.
On Saturday, April 16th, the committee organised a mini-tournament and change of scene at Bisham Abbey, Berkshire, about a 50 minute drive from Redhill. Five people made the trip to the National Sports Centre at Bisham for a round robin squash tournament followed by a beer at a pub in Cookham, with a curry later.
National Squash Championships, Manchester
February saw the return of the National Squash Championships to the National Squash Centre in Manchester. The RDSA social committee organised a weekend trip to watch the semi-finals and finals. Despite being limited to UK players, the field was packed with highly ranked players from the world’s top ten and the level of squash didn’t disappoint.
In the Ladies' final, the number 3 seed Laura Massaro beat number 1 seed Jenny Duncalf 11/7, 9/11, 7/11, 11/7, 11/2 in 62 minutes. In the Men's final, number 3 seed Daryl Selby beat the world number 1 Nick Matthew 9/11, 11/9, 6/11, 11/9, 11/7 in a nail-biting climax to an 84 minute match.
As a bonus, the weekend also offered the opportunity to watch the Masters games ranging from the under-35 division all the way up to the under-75s.
Click here for the full match report at the official website.
Other highlights of the weekend included a ruby on the Curry Mile in Rusholme and a Sunday morning hangover-shifting full English in the Koffee Pot.