Sun 4th April, The Final:
[3/4] Marcus Berrett (Yor) bt  Azlan Iskander (Mas)
15/9, 5/15, 15/7, 15/8 (52m)
MARCUS BERRETT IS THE NEW
BSPA GRAND PRIX CHAMPION
Marcus Berrett can’t be caught in the BSPA GP standings. It took him 52 minutes and 4 sets of very good and solid squash against Azlan Iskander to assure himself of the title in front of a large audience who packed themselves as much as they could in this beautiful show court.
The first game was pretty much Marcus’. Azlan's
shots were a bit approximate, lacking precision, in particular his backhand
drives and drop shots. He was obviously not happy with his game, and you could
see him commentating to himself on the poor quality of his shots.
Sat 3rd April, Semi-Finals:
 Azlan Iskander bt [3/4] Peter Genever
15/13, 7/15, 5/3 rtd (45m)
[3/4] Marcus Berrett bt  Adrian Grant
15/6, 15/5, 2/15, 15/13 (42m)
ADRIAN GRANT : TOO LATE
Ilkla Moor Baht 'at
Sat 3rd April, Quarters:
 Azlan Iskandar bt Jesse Engelbrecht
16/17, 15/8, 15/9, 15/5
[3/4] Peter Genever bt Derek Ryan
14/15, 15/8, 15/9, 15/5
[3/4] Marcus Berrett bt Steve Meads
15/10, 15/5, 15/8
 Adrian Grant bt Stacey Ross
13/15, 15/10, 15/9, 8/15, 15/12
Finished working at the club at 11.58 pm last
night. Went straight to the hotel. Up at 7.30am to write the reports of the
2nd round. And bless Peter Genever and Derek Ryan, they started an hour
earlier than planned, so today was an 11am start.
BERRETT LOBS MEADS OUT !
Fri 2nd Apr, Round Two:
Fri 2nd Apr, Round One:
Well, I’ve been around a few tournaments, and I have to say, I’m more than impressed by Ben Rickaby’s organisation!
First of all, and this by itself should impress you (it sure will the people who know me well), I DIDN’T GET LOST ONCE.
The directions were clear, simple, and the only moment I was a bit dubious, a poster “BSPA Tournament ILKEY” showed me the way to enlightenment.
Then, at the entrance, 2 lovely ladies were welcoming the players, giving them beautiful black shirts. Several rooms have been reserved for players and officials only, posters are clearly placed all around the club, and I have a huge press room all by myself, warm, with a phone line, plugs, and a lovely man to put it all together.
I feel spoiled really. As soon as I had my first cup of tea, Ben showed me around, handed me a schedule for the day, on 4 courts, and an updated draw, as we had 2 more withdrawals, John Rooney (Irish and runner-up of BSPA Wimbledon 2 weeks ago) and Mohamed El Said (who I don’t know at all I’m afraid).
I could get used to this! A dream organisation. It’s just like being in a big PSA event! I had the feeling that Linda Davie (Tournament Referee at Canary Wharf Classic and so many events) was going to appear at any moment!
As it took me nearly 5 hours to arrive here (and the traffic was good!), I missed much of the 1st round. But I did get to see 3 good matches:
Jesse Englebrecht bt [5/8] Paul Lord 15/7,8/15,15/9,15/6
Stacey Ross bt Jason Barry 15/7, 15/10, 15/7
Stephen Meads bt Jethro Binns 13/15, 15/5, 15/7, 15/8
MEADS: YEARS OF
One of the terms of the Lottery Grant awarded to Ilkley Squash Club five years ago was to develop racket sports in the community, in particular tennis and squash.
Well, mission accomplished!
This week in Ilkley, all the racket sports are been celebrated, and the spectators may have problems choosing: squash tournament, the junior and ladies England table tennis coach down over the weekend performing in exhibition matches with other England players and several exhibition matches of racket ball being played when squash is not on. The purpose of it all is to encourage the juniors to discover and participate to those sports. And of course, the club also provides many tennis courts, so racquet away, everyone!
I will be discovering the Club, whose assistant squash coaching Ben Rickaby is in charge of the BSPA event. “We have a good squash pedigree at the club, with a high level of junior participation, with several of them County standard and above.”
I asked him why the club decided to organise their first (hopefully of many) BSPA event:
“Ilkley did have a National League side a number of years ago, and a premier league side in the strong Yorkshire league, but in the recent years, the standard has dropped, and we are lacking top level squash, hence the reason for hosting a BSPA tournament!”
Ben was British Student Champion in 2000, represented Great Britain in the World Student Games in 2000 in Pilsen. He is currently working as Assistant Leisure manager, and assistant squash coach in Ilkley. But I also heard that he is to start a new job in Abu Dhabi (near Dubai) on the 8th April, working in Sports Development.
Different kind of weather should be expected, dear Ben! You lucky thing….
PS. About that Ilkley Moor-abaraata-folk song. Never heard it! I did go and read the lyrics. Is that English? My Lord, couldn’t understand a word! But I’m sure I’ll find a lovely Yorkshire man to explain it to me…..
BAD NEWS, OR IS IT
Well, James Willstrop, world number 13, is out! He had a tough week in Canary Wharf, and I remember his coach mentioning after his victory in the final that James was suffering from a bad cold.
If James Willstrop is not going, life is not worth living!
A lucky Adrian Grant, ranked World 17, from Catford, Kent, finds himself top dog, again! For those who have been following the BSPA Esporta Croydon last weekend, you may remember that I made a report called: Where are they all gone!
Thank God for us, Azlan Iskander, world number 29, will attend and replace Willstrop (as if ANYBODY could…), becoming seed 2. Another withdrawal is Tim Vail, who is suffering from a back injury. Shame, I was looking forward to see Tim again (met him at the Inter Counties Finals, good man he is).
Funny actually, as Azlan was meant to play last week in Esporta, and had to retire, then tried to get back in, and couldn’t. At least, this week, he gets to play and at the same time, saves the day!
So, bad news, because one of the most brilliant players on the World scene is out, but then again, it could have been a bit unbalanced (no offence to anyone…). Now, the matches could be much much closer, and I’m looking forward to seeing Azlan in action, as I only saw him training, when I went to Chingford to interview Neil Harvey.
And guess what! Sir Mckenzie, proud editor of the Squash Player, has provided your servant with a beautiful digital camera. Let me tell you that I’m going to use it!
You’ve been warned….
Ilkley Moor is famous as the setting of the folk
song "On Ilkla Moor Baht'at" - widely recognised throughout the world
as Yorkshire's county "anthem". [I guarantee Framboise won't understand a
The following text and
photographs appear by courtesy of
Ilkley is a very pleasant spa town situated in lower Wharfedale at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Although within easy reach of the cities of Leeds and Bradford in nearby Bronte Country, Ilkley is surrounded by fine unspoiled scenery, with Ilkley Moor and the famous Cow and Calf rocks positioned just above the town.
Also on the moor is the famous whitewashed building known as White Wells - which houses a bath at a site which (reputedly) dates from Roman times. [N.B. Ilkley was an important outpost during the Roman occupation, when it was known as "Olicana".]
Other attractions include the Victorian bath house in the town itself, and the recently refurbished Ilkley Pool and Lido, one of the country's last remaining outdoor public swimming pools. [N.B. Owing to the generally inclement nature of the British weather, this particular attraction is usually open in the summer months only !]
Regular events in the town include the Ilkley Literature Festival and the Ilkley Music Festival.
Just to the north of Ilkley lies Bolton Abbey in the Duke of Devonshire's extensive country estate, and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Ilkley is also the starting point of the Dales Way long distance footpath, which passes by Bolton Abbey and up through Wharfedale en route to Bowness on Windermere in the English Lake District.
Ilkley was featured in the 2003
film calendar girls starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, with many
locations in the Yorkshire Dales and Hollywood.
by Frazer Irwin
Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales
Ilkley, Verbia of the Romans and Ylcanley of Saxon time. For over four thousand years the area has been populated by various tribes. None more so than the Victorians and present crew! Rombalds Moor of which Ilkley Moor is but a small part, covers an area from Hawkesworth in the east to Skipton in the West, with Dales of Wharfe and Aire being North and South respectively.
The Town has been in existence only a comparatively short time. In 1800 was nought but a mucky little hole with a beck running through it. A scattering of farms and thatched cottages, a population of around three hundred ( give or take the odd dying wretch ) and not much else apart from a cold spring high on the Moor. A few years earlier, the then Squire Myddleton, built what was to become the Country's first Cold Water Spa. So it was these small buildings became the Foundation of Modern Ilkley. Over a passage of time the 'Well' or 'Bath' house became known as White Wells.
The taking of 'spring' water which brought about such change to Wharfedale and it's effects on the local countryside were astronomical. Hamer Stansfeld ( Lord Mayor of Leeds ) put Ilkley and Wheatley on the map! One might say he turned "water into wine" or as they say in yorkshire "Water into brass". Large Hydropathic establishments grew from the virgin earth, such was the demand for this remarkable substance. The first of many mill owners, industrialists and their families moved to the countryside for fresh air without fumes. Not only had Ilkley become a fashionable watering hole, it was now a commuter town.
Modern Ilkley is a commuter town with an ever growing population. The town boasts a thriving business community with over two hundred outlets and excellent shopping facilities within easy reach of bus, car, rail or nearby Leeds/Bradford airport. Ilkley also boasts many clubs, groups, activities and hosts exhibitions and festivals which have gained the town international acclaim. Quality hotels make the town a popular venue for holidays, conferences, country pursuits or just dining at one of the town’s many eating houses.
Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor
Rombalds (Ilkley) Moor is one of the foremost sites in Europe for carved rocks. The most famous of these is the intriguing Swastika Stone, but there are hundreds of others bearing simple "cup and ring" marks or more complex patterns of connecting circles and lines. The carvings are thought to date from the Early Bronze Age, around 1800 BC. Their purpose remains a mystery. It is certainly curious that identical carvings can be found at remote sites throughout Northern Europe; for example, another Swastika stone can be seen at Tossene north of Gothenberg in Sweden. Some authorities have used this as evidence of ornamentation of rocks by migrating Nordic peoples, but others attribute them to religious practices or even to crude representations of planetary movement !
After the Roman invasion during the first century AD a ring of forts were constructed across the North of England in order to control the area occupied by the Brigantes under their formidable Queen, Cartimandua. Ilkley (Olicana) occupied a strategic point on the crossing of the Wharfe by two roads, one from York to Ribchester and the other from Manchester to Aldborough near Boroughbridge, so it was a logical choice for the construction of a fort. The first fort was founded by Agricola about 80 AD and was largely constructed of wood.
This was later abandoned but following a revolt by the Brigantes a second fort was erected on the same site around 161 AD. The fort only survived for 30 years, probably being burnt down by tribes of marauding Scots, and was replaced by a stone fort which survived until the end of the Roman period. The Romans finally abandoned the fort in the late 4th or early 5th century but left behind a substantial civil settlement, the vicus, which formed the nucleus of the Anglo-Saxon village that followed.
The old White Wells building on the moor side seems to encapsulate the spirit of Ilkley, and this is entirely appropriate. Not only does it represent a picturesque landmark, it marks the site of the first bath-house and the foundation of Ilkley as a spa town. The bath-house was built around 1690 close to the spring which supplied the town brook.
The buildings were restored and enlarged in 1780 thanks to the "munificence" of William Middleton. There were two baths, the present one, a "Roman" style plunge bath which held 1150 gallons of almost ice-cold water (40oF) into which the intrepid bather would descend in order to experience the manifold benefits of cold water immersion, and a second lower room where a bath, shower or douche of equally cold water could be taken. Many people would visit the Wells to drink the water which issued from the hillside into a drinking fountain at the rear of the building.
The water was frequently analysed but found to contain no dissolved minerals, so it was promoted because of its softness and purity which "makes it more efficacious by passing sooner to the utmost and finest limits of the circulation than any water known"!
The above text and photographs
appear by courtesy of