NLT&SRC, Newcastle, 20-22 June
Corporate Games Squash
While Asda carried off the top individual title in the 2003 UK & Ireland Corporate Games Squash, accounting firms JP Morgan and Price Waterhouse Coopers were the top points earners in a weekend of competition and fun in Newcastle.
Asda's sole representative Matthew Lowery won the men's open event with a 15/8, 15/1 final victory over Peter Lonsdale.
Lonsdale added to his silver medal as he led his PWC team to victory in the team final against JP Morgan I, but it was JP Morgan who won the most squash points overall, with their second team finishing third to add to three individual titles from Karla Cooper, Daniel Chamberlain and Paul Taylor.
London's Diamond Trading Company, a regular in the games, provided the largest contingent of the 75 competitors, and were rewarded with second place in the overall competition.
There was a local winner too, as 2002 National O55 champion John Smith carried off the Men's 50+ title for BASF.
Squash Points total:
So what ARE the Corporate Games
Athletes compete for personal honours, and also for their company, with the top eight finishers in each event scoring points. Companies are grouped into divisions based on the number of athletes they enter, and all the points won go towards deciding the divisional champions.
The 2003 event boasted 173 companies and just short of 6,000 entries - it really is a sort of corporate mini-Olympics. The tennis and squash events were held at the Northumberland LT&SRC club in Jesmond, just outside Newcastle city centre.
In the squash event there were Open, under 30, 30+, 40+ and 50+ events for the men, and Open, 30+ and 40+ for the women. All matches are played best of 3 par to 15, with the top eight from the various pool stages going on to the all-important play-offs for medals and points (8 down to 1). In addition there is a team event, comprising three players who each play one game to 15 - short, sharp, and highly competitive!
Many companies enter every year and treat it as a team-building exercise, although the entrance fee (£37 per athlete, plus VAT) might discourage some smaller companies from entering.
Competition is fierce but fun, with some warriors definitely the worse for wear after the various celebrations and parties organised around the games. In case anyone tries to take it too seriously, appeals must be accompanied by a £50 deposit which is lost should the appeal fail!
Corporate Games are held all over the world, with the pinnacle being the World Corporate Games, this year to be held in Thessaloniki, Greece, in November (although, sadly, there's no squash).
But, if you want a great weekend of sport and fun, get your boss or your employees enthused and sign up for the next UK Corporate Games ...