on a court 32 feet long and 21 feet wide (an international Squash Court )
was introduced as an alternative game to the American version of Racquetball
(court 40 feet by 20 feet).
In 1950, Joe Sobek invented Racquetball at Greenwich YMCA in Connecticut,
USA having experimented with games in a court used for Irish Handball. The
ball, the size and shape of a Lawn Tennis ball but without the nap on its
outside, was used with rackets with short handles. This made it a simple
game to play as the eye, hand, ball coordination was easy as it was like
hitting the ball with one's hand rather than trying to judge the distance
between hand and head of a squash, badminton or tennis racket.
The court walls and ceiling are used for the American version of the game
and there is no board or tin on the front wall as in a Squash Court. The
ball is very bouncy and does not need warming before normal play. By 1970,
some 50,000 players enjoyed the game in America and Canada.
In 1976, Ian D.W. Wright (Kent) introduced the game in England. The game was
adapted to utilise existing squash courts using a slower and less bouncy
ball as the ceiling was not included in the play area.
On 13th February 1984, the British Racketball Association was founded
following a meeting of all players known to be interested in the game. This
inaugural meeting was held at Stourbridge Lawn Tennis Club in
Worcestershire. A Constitution and Rules of Play, as compiled by Ian Wright,
were accepted by the meeting. The rules of play were based on those of
Squash Rackets but with Point-a-Rally scoring up to 15 and the ball to be
bounced on the floor prior to striking the serve. On 30th October 1984,
official recognition of the British Racketball Association, as the Governing
Body of the sport, was confirmed by the English Sports Council.
On 1st December 1984, the inaugural British National Racketball
Championships were staged at the Metropolitan Club in London.
The first Champions were : Denis Secher (Essex) and Greer
Batty (West Midlands) with Ian Wright (Kent) and Dorothy Hanson
(Worcestershire) as Veteran winners.
By 1995, over 30,000 players enjoyed playing with in
excess of 100 clubs in membership of the British Racketball Association.
The English version of Racketball is now played in Malaysia, Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, Bermuda, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and
other countries where there are squash courts. It is even played in North
American on courts originally constructed for American (Hard Ball) Squash
with 18 feet 6 inches wide courts.
On 1st September 1998, the Racketball Association merged with the English
Squash Rackets Association.
The game is played in many Kent Clubs and Centres and the
following teams compete in the South East of England League:
DRAGONS (Croydon & Orpington) BROMLEY CC
Full details of the League can be obtained from the Organising Secretary;
Jack Clay, 23, Palace View, Bromley, Kent. BR1 3EJ.
Telephone: 020-8460 7117.