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Tue 07 Oct
Australia's David Palmer makes his first appearance as the 2003 British Open champion and former national champion Sue Wright makes a competitive comeback as the new National League season kicks off tonight.

World champion Palmer leads Edgbaston Priory in defence of their NL title in the opening match of the new season against FPD Savills Nottingham.

It was on Sunday that the 27-year reclaimed his British Open title from England's world No1 Peter Nicol in a straight games victory in the men's final in Nottingham.

Palmer, the world No3, is making his debut for the Birmingham club at home in a replay of last season's final against Nottingham, the 1999 NL champions.

Both teams are virtually at full strength, with Palmer facing Scotland's world No2 John White in a repeat of last year's World Open final. Priory stalwart Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Australia's reigning women's world champion who is unbeaten since making her debut for the club three years ago, is also in action, against Jenny Duncalf.

The new season features two new teams, Manchester Northern making a welcome return to the league and SWSA Bicester appearing for the first time.

The Oxfordshire squad represents the Sue Wright Squash Academy, and will comprise entirely of players and coaching staff at the Bicester Academy.

The SWSA squad will be led by Scott Handley, a former world top 50 player, and SWSA founder Wright, the former world No3 and four-times national champion. "This is a great breakthrough for our fast-growing operation, as we will be the only Academy competing in the League. It will give our up-and-coming players an opportunity to play in a top quality league on a regular basis, something which they might not normally get the chance to do," said Wright. "It also gives the junior players in the Academy the chance to watch top-level squash on a regular basis, giving them all something to aspire to."

SWSA visit UniSport Guildford in the opening tie, with the Surrey University team No1 Stephen Meads taking on Scott Handley and Wright facing her old rival Fiona Geaves, the world No12 and newly-crowned British Open Women's Over-35 champion.

The return of the prestigious Northern club to the National League leads to Manchester being represented by two teams. Manchester Northern boast a squad featuring Malaysia's world No8 Ong Beng Hee, Scotland's world No14 Martin Heath and England's world No10 Jenny Tranfield, while the trans-Pennine team Manchester-Pontefract, whose Manchester base is the National Squash Centre at Sportcity, is led by Yorkshire's world No10 Lee Beachill, supported by Lancashire No1 Nick Taylor and world junior champion James Willstrop.

Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson, the Newcastle-born world No5, makes her debut in the league on behalf of Manchester-Pontefract.

David Palmer, fit again after his appendix scare earlier this year, leads reigning champions and top seeds Australia into the World Men's Team Championship in the Austrian capital of Vienna from October 19-25.

Led by world champion and newly-crowned British Open champion Palmer, the seven-times champions are expected to face No2 seeds England in the final.

England, winners in 1995 and 1997, will be led by world No1 Peter Nicol for the first time. In an all-Yorkshire squad, Nicol is joined by Lee Beachill, Nick Matthew and world junior champion James Willstrop.

Fast-emerging squash nation France, runners-up to England in the European Championships for the past four years, are expected to claim a top four finish for the first time as third seeds. 1999 champions Egypt are seeded

Thirty countries will contest the 19th Men's World Championships, competing initially in eight pools before the top 16 teams move into the knockout stage. A record six nations - Bermuda, Czech Republic, Hungary, Korea, Russia and Slovenia - will be making their first appearances in the event.

Hosts Austria are pooled with France, 14th seeds Sweden and event newcomers Slovenia.

The pool line-ups (with seeding in brackets) are:

Pool A:
[1] Australia, [16] Germany, [17/24] Japan, [25/30] Russia
Pool B:
[2] England, [15] Switzerland, [17/24] New Zealand, [25/30] Hungary
Pool C:
[3] France, [14] Sweden, [17/24] Austria, [25/30] Slovenia
Pool D:
[4] Egypt, [13] Finland, [17/24] Hong Kong, [25/30] Bermuda
Pool E:
[5] Canada, [12] Netherlands, [17/24] Czech Republic,
Pool F:
[6] Scotland, [11] South Africa, [17/24] USA, [25/30] Korea
Pool G:
[7] Wales, [10] Ireland, [17/24] Mexico, [25/30] Kuwait
Pool H:
[8] Malaysia, [9] Pakistan, [17/24] Italy

Powerful squash nation Egypt is expected to sweep the board in the sport's debut in the 8th All Africa Games, which takes place in Abuja, Nigeria, from October 5-14.

Egypt's world No8 Karim Darwish is top seed in the men's event, while compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy, the world junior champion ranked 14 in the world, is favourite in the women's event.

The finals of the men's and women's singles events take place on Thursday this week, followed by the men's and women's team events which reach their finals on Tuesday October 14.

Egypt is joined by South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in the men's team event - and by South Africa and Nigeria in the women's team championship.
Mon 06 Oct

Following on from the article in The Blunderer, Grapevine sleuth Andy Booth did some research into the strength of table tennis in the UK. Andy writes:

Far from squash being in a declining state, it seems the English Table Tennis Association haven't run an English Open tournament for two years and have no plans to run one, as per their reply to me today. Is this the sad, lonely death of ping-pong?

I asked the ETTA "Can you tell me whether there has been an 'English Open' tournament this year or are there plans to have one, and what is the prize fund?" Harvey Webb, National Events Manager of the English Table Tennis Association, replied: "I would advise that there has not been an English Open this season, nor are there any firm plans to hold one.

"We would like to run one, but it is very much dependent on finding a major sponsor. As I am sure you can imagine they are very expensive to run and beyond the Association's resources without a major cash input from another source."

So there. Back to you, Mr Syed. We take no pleasure in seeing another so-called minor sport experiencing problems. We simply look forward to this subject being given the same space and treatment as your attack on squash.

The New Zealand media today reported that world No.1 Carol Owens is considering retirement after the disappointment of failing to capture a first British Open title.

Owens, the 2000 world champion, lost in the semi-finals in Nottingham to Australia's Rachel Grinham in straight games.

World No.1 Owens said she was shattered by the defeat and indicated that she may retire from the sport, possibly at the end of the year.

Owens says she will wait until she gets home later this month before making any long term playing decisions.
Fri 03 Oct

SCOTLAND'S No.3 seed John White crashed out of the British Open after losing a marathon quarter-final battle with Australia's Anthony Ricketts.

White's dreams of winning the event to take over the world No.1 ranking from former Scot Peter Nicol collapsed in a flurry of mistakes in a tense fifth

Ricketts won 15-5, 8-15, 15-5, 10-15, 15-7 in 83 minutes of fast-paced action and White admitted: "I blew it by giving him too much of a start in the fifth. He got a big lead and it all fell apart from there."

Not even playing in his home city of Nottingham could help White stay the course as he lost concentration at a crucial stage of the match. He added: "I made too many mistakes from the back of the court, and I
haven't done that for a very long time.

"It was frustrating being kept at the back of the court. I tried to mix it up like I did in the previous round but this time the winners just would not go in."

White hits the ball harder than anyone in the game but Ricketts cleverly kept play out of the front court areas where White is so dangerous.

Ricketts repeated his victory over White in the US Open and said: "I wasn't surprised when he started making mistakes. I tried to control the T area and stop John attacking at the front, where he is so dangerous."
He paid tribute to coach Mike Johnson for helping him iron out some rough patches in his game.

He added: "Over the past 12 months I have been working on a number of things that have helped me to improve my confidence.

"We have spent hours working with things that have made me feel more comfortable in all four corners.
"I am enjoying the game more and am not that angry young man any more. I am playing as well as I have ever played but there is still a lot more to come. I hope that in the next year I will be confident enough to walk on court and take on all of the top guys."

Ricketts meets no.2 seed David Palmer in the semi-final. "I have played David a lot and have a lot of respect for him. But if I I am playing well then I have a strategy and hopefully am not afraid of winning."

Fear is not a word you would normally associate with Ricketts.

The world of squash was in uproar today as The Times did a tabloid-style hatchet job on the game.

Under the headline 'A sport dying a sad, lonely death' almost the entire back page was devoted to an article written by table tennis player Matthew Syed, who described the BrItish Open AS TEETERING ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION.

He wrote in detrimental terms of the game's image, discussed problems with TV coverage that have been addressed successfully in recent years, and claimed that the game had been blocked from the Olympic Games because the sport was not played in enough countries!

WSF Chief Executive Ted Wallbutton was the first to respond, writing:

Dear Matthew

I would like to correct your statement in today's Times regarding Squash and the Olympic Games.

Neither the IOC President, nor his Sports Director, has stated that not enough countries play Squash. Squash is played in 150 countries worldwide and 122 of them are Members of the World Squash Federation.

That is more, for example, than the national membership of nine of the twenty eight sports on the Summer Olympic Programme.

Dr. Rogge enjoyed his exposure to Squash at the Commonwealth Games and commented favourably on the fact that eight of the top ten men and women in the world were competing.

As for the rest of your article I will refrain from comment, except to say that if your chosen path to journalistic success is through such nihilistic and destructive attacks you do no service to sport as a whole.

And the PSA, England Squash and Peter Nicol have also weighed in with responses ... FULL DETAILS


An interesting slant to the Matthew Syed "Death of squash" saga ...

I am indebted to John Whitfield for pointing out that one of Syed's main sponsors are Ransome Sporting Goods, who own the rights to Butterfly table tennis equipment and Unsquashable rackets. John writes: "I wonder if Syed realised that the Mini Squash initiative, developed by England Squash, is supported by Unsquashable. Well done Matthew. Alan Ransome will be pleased with you.
You either have no regard for your sponsor, or you have not done your

Tue 30 Sep
"Anyone in the top ten can win"
British Open Preview


PETER NICOL is still dominating world squash at the age of 30, but admits that the pressure is getting tougher all the time.

Nicol bids for a third British Open title this week knowing that he has to work harder than ever to stay ahead of the chasing pack.

"Everybody in the top ten is capable of beating each other, which is great for the game," he admitted. "But it means there are no easy games in any tournament, from the first round onwards."

Nicol, the Scotsman who crossed the border to play for England, faces former Scottish team-mate Martin Heath at the first hurdle on Wednesday when the Open moves to a new venue, the Albert Hall Conference Centre in Nottingham.

"It's amazing, isn't it, that I'm meeting a Scot in my first match," Nicol said. "Martin and I have played each other countless times since we were juniors in Scotland years ago, and it'll be tough. He's beaten me twice in recent years, and he's quite capable of doing it again. he's a great flair player and it's just a case of how he turns up on the day."

Inverurie-born Nicol, the Scot who became a Sassenach, knows that he faces one of his biggest threats from big-hitting John White, the Australian who switched to playing for Scotland!

White's award of a grant of £25,000 in his first year as a Scot was one of the factors that drove Nicol into switching international allegiance. He had grown up through the Scottish system without receiving a penny in funding, and felt he was being punished for his success.

However, the two have become great friends and if they meet in the final it will be a repeat of last year's, when Nicol won in straight games in Manchester.

White, who is based in Nottingham, went on to reach the World Open final in Antwerp, but wasted a golden chance on match ball before losing a classic to former Aussie colleague David Palmer.

The two are seeded to meet again in the semi-finals, while Nicol is due to face his old rival Jonathon Power, who beat him 15-14 in the fifth game of their recent Super Series final epic in London.

Another rising Aussie, Anthony Ricketts, beat Nicol in the recent English Open in Sheffield and then removed White in the US Open, where Nicol gained his fourth title in the spectacular setting of Boston Symphony Hall.

It is the most open British Open for years, and White hopes that home advantage will work in his favour.

He said: "It's great to have the event in Nottingham, and it will be nice to go home to my own bed every night instead of staying in a hotel.

"Losing the World Open final was a huge psychological blow, but I have learnt to be a lot more patient since then.

"These days I am much fitter and more patient. I am happy to keep the rally going and wait for the loose one to attack, instead of going for it straight away."

It's not just the men who are switching nationalities. The women's top seed is Carol Owens, who grew up in Australia but now represents New Zealand.

Second seed is Natalie Grainger, who is the highest ranked player in the history of American squash.

She was born in England, grew up in South Africa, and moved back to England only to meet and marry an American. She has recently separated from her husband but plans to remain in the States, where she has citizenship.

Peter Nicol Interview
from the Daily Telegraph

Brits Dominate Men's
Qualifiers In Nottingham
Nottingham stalwarts Simon Parke and Alex Gough led a strong British contingent through Monday's men's second qualifying round of the 2003 British Open at Nottingham Squash Club.

Parke, the world No18 from Yorkshire who has been based in Nottingham for more than ten years, beat his Nottingham club-mate John Rooney, the Irish No3, 15-11 15-10 15-2 in 46 minutes and now takes on compatriot and fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop in tomorrow's qualifying finals. Willstrop, the 6' 4" tall world junior champion from Pontefract, dismissed another Nottingham-based player, Frenchman Renan Lavigne, 15-10 15-11 15-13 in 67 minutes.

Welsh No1 Alex Gough, who only recently moved to Berkshire after spending more than eight years crafting his squash career on the Nottingham courts, took 91 minutes to overcome Dutch No1 Tommy Berden 15-8 13-15 15-9 15-9, and will now face England 'veteran' Del Harris. The Colchester-based 34-year-old unexpectedly reached the qualifying finals when his in-form Yorkshire opponent Nick Matthew, ranked 24 in the world, conceded their match after the first game, suffering from back spasms.

Should Harris beat Gough, the former world number five would go on to make his 17th successive appearance in the first round of a British Open since 1987.

Scottish interest was wiped out on the first day of qualifying in the women's event when Edinburgh's Pamela Nimmo and Aberdeen's Wendy Maitland - both also based in Nottingham - crashed out. Nimmo, ranked 17 in the world, twice fought back to level the match against England's Laura-Jane Lengthorn, but after 71 minutes the former National junior champion from Chorley in Lancashire was celebrating an impressive 9-6 1-9 9-5 8-10 9-5 upset over the Scot ranked 21 places higher.

Just two ranking positions separated Maitland and her Malaysian opponent Nicol David, but the higher-placed David, a two-times world junior champion, romped to a 9-2 9-6 9-0 victory in just 23 minutes.

Number two seed Natalie Grainger will be on familiar territory this week in the British Open. She was based in Nottingham for three years before her move to the States and here she tells Alan Thatcher how much she is looking forward to the event. She also talks about her future in the game in America.

1: Natalie, it must be great to be back in Nottingham for the British
A: I was based in Nottingham for three years before moving to the States and I love coming back to visit and play. I still have many connections with the club, members and players. I think that Nottingham is a fantastic location for the British Open. It has a marvellous history of producing and attracting top squash players and the Albert Hall will certainly make do for a glass court venue! I am looking forward to playing my first match on one of my favourite courts - No.6 at the Park!

2: Where are you staying while the tournament is on?
A: I always stay with Pam Nimmo, one of my best friends, when I come to Nottingham.

3: How is your form coming into the event?
A: Form is good, although I have not played any WISPA events for a few months. I am looking forward to competing again.

4: What sort of training have you been doing in the past few weeks?
A: I have been spending a lot of time on court and playing matches against a number of pros in the Washington DC area, where I am now living.

5: You've got a tough draw in the British, with Rebecca Macree, Linda Charman, Cassie Jackman and Jenny Tranfield all in your half of the draw. Are you feeling confident?
A: Battle of the British!! I am feeling confident in my game, but all the players you have mentioned are capable of playing great matches and it will be tough. So I am looking to take one match at a time, enjoy the competition and not get ahead of myself.

6: You've got a busy schedule ahead, with a National League match for Broxbourne next Tuesday then off to New York for the Weymuller US Open. Do you enjoy the travel?
A: I do enjoy travelling, I think that I do more mileage than most players living in the States, playing leagues in Europe and visiting family in South Africa! But I travel well and love meeting new people, old friends and visiting exciting locations. My Broxbourne team really look after me and do everything they can to make my trips easier and manageable. And the US Open is on home turf now, I will probably be occupying a train seat instead of dealing with another airport!

7: We were all sorry to hear of your marriage break-up. That's you, Cassie Jackman and Linda Charman of the top girls who have got married in the past couple of years only to split up within a year or so of the wedding. It must be very difficult being an international athlete and holding a marriage together.
A: I cannot comment on Linda and Cassie, but I believe that our being professional travelling athletes is not the sole cause of our marriage break-ups. It does, however, take a strong, understanding person to partner a top athlete.

8: Will you be staying in the States or returning to England to live?
A: I will definitely be staying in the States. I have now moved to Washington DC and am living with a great family and coaching their daughter when I am not on tour. I love the city and it puts me on the Eastern Seaboard, the hub of the squash world in the United States.

9: The WISPA Tour seems to be going from strength to strength in the States. As WISPA President, that must be very satisfying.
A: Yes it is indeed, and I can only see it growing even more. I am hoping that with my presence there I can make a difference and help with expanding our sport. Squash is such a great, healthy, social game and it is attracting more and more sport nuts! It can be addictive!

10: You have been working with the American girls for some time now. How is that developing?
A: The junior programs in the States are growing and being streamlined. We have some future talent and it is exciting to be helping and working with the girls. We are not quite at the stage of setting up a national program, but that is the plan and there is the enthusiasm and vision for this.

The junior tournaments are drawing huge numbers, the schools and universities are building courts, and this can only lead to the development of future US squash stars.

My trip to the World Juniors this year in Egypt was very exciting, albeit exhausting!! I didn't realise how hard it was looking after other players!

Natalie, thank you and good luck this week.

Grapevine Book Review

Mon 29 Sep

England's Jonathan Kemp claimed the first PSA Tour title of his career when he beat compatriot Scott Handley in the final of the Ciutat de Barcelona Open.

Former British Junior Open champion Kemp beat qualifier Handley 15-6, 15-7, 15-11 to win his first PSA trophy in only his second Tour final.

Third seed Kemp, 22, from Telford in Shropshire, reached the final after ending unseeded compatriot Alister Walker's impressive run in the semi-finals. Walker, from Gloucestershire, had earlier upset local hope Borja Golan, the top seed.

Ciutat de Barcelona Open,  Final: [3] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [Q] Scott Handley (ENG) 15-6, 15-7, 15-11


Australia's Paul Price claimed his second PSA Tour title of the year when he beat Malaysia's Mohammad Azlan Iskandar in four games in the final of the DARE Santa Barbara Open in California.

The second seed took the opening game after a tie-break, but the more experienced Price ultimately prevailed to win 16-17, 15-10, 15-8, 17-14 in 82 minutes.

The Malaysian led 14-11 in the fourth game, but Price dug deep to win six points in a row to collect his ninth career PSA title. The top-seeded Price was strong throughout the match, taking ball very early and controlling the T area.  Iskandar produced some excellent shots, with great retrieving, but was erratic at crucial times.

While Price, the 27-year-old world No20 from Melbourne, was celebrating his 16th appearance in a PSA final, it was the 21-year-old Malaysian's second, having won the Kuala Lumpur Open in his home town earlier in the year.


Timm Lathwell wtites on the refereeing debate: 
Hi Alan,

I know this doesn't mean much because I have no "presence" in squash other than I play at the "B" level and have a true passion for the game, but, I have to say that I believe Graham Dixon and Alasdair McDonald are too quick to dismiss the "three-ref" system. I attended the US Open this year and saw only one good referee, a transplanted Brit named Paul Ansdell. He did a great job in the matches that I saw him ref (quarter-finals). The other ref was mediocre at best and didn't have control of the match the way Paul did. I have also attended two other US Opens and the YMG Classic last year, where I have witnessed both good and awful refereeing in all systems.

I have also seen now-defunct US professional hardball tourneys where the three-official (not referee) system has worked and worked very well. That system still relies on ONE referee who is in charge, and continues to make all decisions, but it has the additional two appeals judges who are consulted if the referee was either unsighted, was unsure, or just wants a second opinion.

There are ways around the too many appeals situation that can occur if the referee allows every decision to be appealed. One way is to continue to have the referee decide when he/she will allow an appeal, another very simple way is to limit appeals is to LIMIT appeals! That is, for example, only allow each player three appeals per game. That then puts the onus on the player to decide, "was that call worth appealing?" Obviously, the number could be five or one or some number that makes sense.

I think the pro game at the top level is just too fast for one ref and the position where they sit too often puts them in a position of being too far away to know or see what really happened. Players like Power, Ricketts, and Lincou for example who are obnoxious about every call and can bully refs, I think, would be less able to do that if the wall judge positioned right behind the back wall is able to see the blocking that perhaps one referee cannot see.

I know it still would take another to confirm but the refs could discuss what they see between games and be on the lookout for problems. I just think at this level more sets of eyes (juries are 6 or 12 for a reason) would most likely lead to a better decision, maybe it takes a few moments longer, but in the end, the result will be better as long as it is done right.

Cheers! and keep up the great work.

Timm Lathwell


Wilson and French International Renan Lavigne have signed a two-year sponsorship agreement. Currently ranked 25 in the world, with a career-high of 20, and French number three, the 28 year old Paris and Marseille based player, has won five PSA titles, four silver medals in the European Team Championships and has represented his country since 1996.

"Wilson is delighted to announce that Renan has agreed to use racquets and wear Wilson clothing and squash shoes for the coming years," said Lilian Villechenoux, Wilson rackets sports Manager for France. "He is our leading player in Europe, a very charismatic player and a great ambassador for our brand. We are proud to be associated with him and be able to help him reach his goals."

Lavigne, who will be playing with the Hyper Carbon 155 racket, said: "I am looking forward to a great relationship with Wilson and making an impact on the world of squash."

Lavigne was a last-minute signing for Duffield. He found himself out in the cold when he discovered Manchester Northern, first round opponents at home on 7 October,  had already registered two top 25 world ranked players (Ong Beng Hee and Martin Heath) the maximum permitted by the regulations. The charismatic Lavigne, who won 10 out of 12 NL rubbers for Nottingham last season.

He meets Yorkshire's James Willstrop today in the British Open qualifying tournament.


The qualifying rounds of the British Open are always brutal. The opening day's action at Nottingham Squash Club produced some one-sided affairs but also a marathon encounter between Nick Matthew (world 24) and Joey Barrington, son of Jonah. After some fierce and prolonged rallying, Matthew finally came through 15-9, 15-9, 11-15, 17-15 in 98 minutes to face another tough hurdle today (Monday) in the form of Del Harris. 

Sun 28 Sep

Third seed Jonathan Kemp and qualifier Scott Handley will meet in an all-English final of the Ciutat de Barcelona Open after straight games victories in the semi-finals.

Kemp, 22, from Telford, ended unseeded compatriot Alister Walker's impressive run in the event with a 15-7, 15-4, 15-4 win. Kemp looked sharp and Walker seemed tired as the match took just 35 minutes to complete. Kemp is seeking his first title success In only his second appearance in a PSA Tour final.

Qualifier Handley, the 28-year-old from Oxfordshire, who had earlier upset the fourth and eighth seeds, needed 65 minutes to defeat sixth-seeded Australian Glenn Keenan 15-12, 15-13, 15-13.


Top seeds Paul Price, the world No.20 from Australia, and Mohammad Azlan Iskandar, the world No.36 from Malaysia, will meet in the final of the DARE Santa Barbara Open in California.

Favourite Price, the 2000 British Open runner-up from Melbourne, dropped his first game in the tournament in his 15-5 15-13 14-15 15-8 defeat of England's fifth seed Ben Garner.

Second seed Iskandar registered his first straight-games win in the event in his 15-6, 15-13, 15-4 dismissal of unseeded Irishman Liam Kenny.
Sat 27 Sep
Alister Walker reached the semi-finals of the Ciutat de Barcelona with another marathon win, this time overcoming fellow Englishman Tim Garner by a curious scoreline of 15/8 15/7 2/15 3/15 17/16.

After establishing a comfortable two-love lead, it would appear that Walker let the third and fourth games slip by quickly, before rallying in the fifth. At 10-8 in the decider, Walker hit Garner with his racket but it wasn't as painful as surrendering match balls in the fifth before Walker squeezed home 17-16.

Australia's Gleen Keenan beat Garner's Sussex team-matePeter Genever 15/8 17/15 14/15 8/15 15/11 in a nailbiting marathon, and Scott Handley's victory over Belgium's Peter Pastijn (15/17 15/8 15/10 15/12) was another long encounter.

Jonathan Kemp's victory over Sweden's Christian Drakenberg (13/15 15/9 15/9 15/7) was a little moe comfortable, according to Dani Ramirez, our man on
the spot.


Due to his long-term back injury, news reaches the Grapevine from Down Under that Stewart Boswell has had to withdraw from Australia's World Team Championship squad. His place will be taken by Paul Price, the British Open runner-up in 2000. The Aussie team will now be David Palmer, Anthony Ricketts, Joseph Kneipp and Paul Price.

Boswell has missed most of the major PSA events this year and I am sure that all Grapevine readers will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.


National league champions Edgbaston have gone right to the top to find a replacement for long-term injury casualty Stewart Boswell, their talismanic number one. World champion David Palmer moves across from Midlands rivals Wolverhampton and is expected to make his debut against World Open final runner-up John White when Priory meet Nottingham on October 7.

The Priory first choice line-up becomes Palmer, Adrian Grant, Olli Tuominen and Del Harris. Edgbaston have strengthened their women's line-up too, with France's Isabelle Stoehr stepping in as understudy to Sarah Fitz-Gerald. Wolverhampton have captured a fine replacement Aussie in Anthony Ricketts, with Kiwi Shelley Kitchen heading their women's list.

Elsewhere in group A, Nick Matthew becomes the new Duffield number one with the resignation of his Hallamshire team, while Nottingham add David Evans,  Natalie Grinham and Tommy Berden to their strong line-up. Manchester-Pontefract's men remain strong, and Vanessa Atkinson comes in to give them good all-round strength. Manchester Northern, back in the league after a two-year absence, have yet to finalise their full squad, but signing Ong Beng Hee, Martin Heath and Jenny Tranfield is a pretty good start.

In the Southern Group B, Broxbourne retain much the same squad, but France's Gregory Gaultier moves up to number one ahead of skipper Mark Chaloner, with Caroline Chaloner joining Natalie Grainger in their women's line-up. Chichester now boast both Garner brothers, 'big Tim' moving across from the defunct UK Packaging team to join younger brother Ben. Guildford and Lee on Solent remain relatively unchanged, while Scott Handley and Sue Wright lead the new Bicester SWSA team.


A leading referee writes:

I would like to reply to the news about the bodies getting together to improve refereeing. If all players played fairly, and in the fashion we would all like to watch squash being played, I am sure the number of outcries about refereeing decisions would drop dramatically.
Perhaps a survey during the match as to which player is asking and adding up the number of lets asked for would be enlightening.  I know for a fact that when certain players play, the numbers of lets asked for, is just a joke.
I know I should stay positive over this news but I truly believe a lot of players put unnecessary pressure upon certain referees and yes, they should be able to handle it, but how many of Joe Public have sat in the hot seat at all? Not during any old match, like a local league game, but maybe the critics should try doing it at the very top level.

More referee feedback from a fan's perspective - Alastair McDonald writes:

I heartily agree with Graham Dixon's dismissive attitude towards the three-referee system. I saw it in action at the British Open at Wembley in the early Nineties and I thought it was awful.

It actually encouraged the players to query more calls than normal, because every decision given by the main referee only represented one vote out of a possible three. Consequently, virtually every call was challenged by the player on the 'wrong end' of the initial decision, in the hope that the other two referees would vote the other way!

As a paying spectator, it was extremely irritating to watch.




By James Zug (published by Scribner)

James Zug loves squash. It is a total, all-consuming passion that seeps through every page of this fascinating history of the game's development in the USA. As you turn each page, as every genuine squash lover will, hungry to gobble up more facts and anecdotes, you can almost hear the thwack of racket upon rubber and imagine yourself embroiled in the combat described in his lovingly crafted chapters.

He brings to life the era of long trousers, wooden rackets and musty galleries, and the charming idiosyncrasies of a game which began with courts of differing sizes and balls with different bounces. You can smell the sweat in the air as he describes great matches down the years and paints vivid pictures of the characters whose names you can see inscribed in gold paint on the walls of the game's elite clubs in America.

Because of the game's British roots, you also learn a lot about the history of the sport here in the UK as Zug travels across the Atlantic in search of his holy grail: the absolute birthplace of squash.As with most sports, the Americans went their own way and developed hardball, while us lily-livered Brits patted around with a softball.

Then again, unlike any other American sport, our friends across the pond ultimately jettisoned hardball to become part of the international squash community. Zug describes the downfall of hardball in clinical detail, but celebrates the emergence and subsequent dominance of softball in the major East Coast clubs and Ivy League colleges.

Ironically, hardball doubles is still thriving, and the prize money on offer on the hardball doubles pro tour in the USA and Canada is still far in excess of the total remuneration of the PSA world circuit.

Most American squash clubs now offer a mixture of narrow hardball courts, wider international courts, racketball courts and full-size doubles courts. Doubles, played with the faster ball, satisfies the American bloodlust for spending an hour or so on court bashing hell out of the ball, while softball provides a more cerebral but ultimately more physically demanding challenge.

That the Americans love "our" squash is clearly demonstrated by the fact that both the PSA and WISPA tours are dominated by events in the States and Canada, whose squash history is also recounted in some detail by Zug.

My own experiences prove that New York and Toronto rival London as the world's premier squash city.

London, I hate to say, is in danger of falling into third place because of the scarcity of city centre clubs. Most London clubs are in danger of being converted into soulless wok-out dungeons, but in downtown New York and Toronto you are seldom more than a few blocks from a thriving sports club which seems to treat squash with the respect it deserves.

Zug reveals that the major impact of squash in America is being seen in the colleges, where huge 15 or 20-court squash centres are commonplace, with imposing facilities that dwarf our own National Centre in Manchester. Because of the investment policies that American colleges provide for their sports programmes, the fact that squash is on the sports roster at all means that the game is taken seriously. Many universities have all-glass courts with seating for hundreds of spectators, and a large proportion of the world's leading coaches are plying their trade at Ivy League centres.

The American collegiate competition is fiercely contested, and if evolution takes its natural course in squash we will soon be seeing a number of emerging male and female professionals from the American system climbing the world rankings.

My own hope is that in a few years time, many of these graduates will be holding down senior jobs in Wall Street, and have access to sponsorship funds to bankroll even more major events in America.

Zug's narrative is somewhat wordy, and at times you will need the benefit of a Thesaurus to fathom out some of his esoteric descriptions, but his book ends where this review begins, with one word. Love.

All of the main characters share his passion, from the travellers of a century ago who transplanted the game onto American shores, to the wizened coaches who encouraged junior programmes down the years, to the college kids from wealthy families who often chucked in careers paved with gold to try their luck as a squash pro.

Take the example of Mark Talbott, a Nabisco heir who one day walked out of the family home armed with a racket bag and his collection of Grateful Dead tapes. His life on the road was a colourful journey which ended with him finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, in the shape of a famous victory over Jahangir Khan, arguably the greatest player in the history of the game.

Zug's relentless research took him into the dusty corners of the most obscure squash venues imaginable. As well as country homes, unusual wooden shacks and courts that often had embellishments that resembled their cousins in real tennis, he vividly relates the all-too-brief history of the squash court on the SS Titanic.

Zug's treatment of the emergence of women's squash in America provide some of my favourite passages in the book. Female players had to battle against years of discrimination and closed doors, and simple logistical problems such as the access to a club's squash courts often being via the men's locker room.

The game, however, threw up some colourful female characters who partied as hard as they played, and had the will to knock down those doors of male supremacy and insularity.

I first met James Zug at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester last year. He loved the atmosphere of the tournament, one that would be an ideal platform for American squash to check its status against other squash-playing nations. All we need now is for Zug to launch a campaign in the States to overturn the ramifications of the Boston Tea Party, and grant Commonwealth status to America. Judging by the diligence with which he approached this impressive work, it would be a doddle.
Fri 26 Sep

Top seed and defending champion Borja Golan was sensationally dumped out of the first round of the Ciutat De Barcelona, losing an epic 95-minute battle with England's Alister Walker.

Walker is clearly gearing up for an assault on the senior rankings this season and produced a phenomenal recovery from two games to one down to win 15-7 10-15 6-15 15-12 15-8.

The evening session proved fruitful for the English contingent, with Tim Garner, Peter Genever and Jonathan Kemp all moving into the quarter-finals.

The first session saw locals Iago Cornes and Alex Garbi bow out to the 7th & 8th seeds Christian Drakenberg and Peter Pastijn.

English qualifier Scott Handley upset Australia's fourth seed Mike Corren 15-13 15-8 11-15 15-9 to book a place in the quarters, while Glenn Keenan won the all-Aussie tussle with Raj Nanda.


Irishman Liam Kenny and Jan Koukal from the Czech Republic caused upsets on the opening day of the DARE Santa Barbara Open in the USA to take up unexpected places in the quarter-finals.

Australian-born Kenny dismissed sixth-seeded Dutchman Laurens Anjema 15-13 15-7 13-15 15-7 to earn a last eight clash with England's third seed Lee Drew, who also took four games to overcome a Dutchman, Dylan Bennett.

Koukal's reward for his 11-15 15-4 15-11 15-13 victory over eighth-seeded Englishman Alex Stait is a quarter-final encounter with top seed Paul Price. The Australian defeated England's Santa Barbara-based PSA board member Robert Graham 15-7 15-8 15-5.

Good to see Canadian Shawn De Lierre competing regularly again but his progress was halted by Frenchman Jean-Michel Arcucci. De Lierre won the first game but Arcucci hit back to win 13-15, 15-4, 15-6, 15-13.



I am writing in response to the Grapevine of August 8. Yes, it is a while ago, but after playing in the World Masters I wandered off to Russia for a bit, then Estonia, Germany and Prague. Just got home and catching up on stuff!

The article written that day was pointed out to me by a friend; in reading it I laughed at the words and more so just felt an appreciation for the effort.

Ironic that one gets more words written about them outside the country than ones own city!

However, that is not the point. I just wanted to say thanks for the words.

One minor correction though... I did have great accommodations that week! The wrinkled clothes (smile), I wear that bunch when I feel I will have to work my ass off... I wore the same when I did Ironman a few years ago!

Squash at my level being a bit of an anonymous pursuit, I truly play simply for the love of the game; yet what was written that day was one of those things that make it all that much better.

Again, thanks!

David Sly

Original story


Experienced international referee GRAHAM DIXON, of Yorkshire, joins the Grapevine debate about players assessing referees, and responds to Tony Swift's remarks in yesterday's column

Assessment of Referees by Players
I applaud the initiative to having players reporting on a referee's performance. Any feedback should be welcomed. One of the main criticisms I hear is that referees are becoming too insular and removed from the game. This initiative should help to demonstrate that we are more outward looking.

Assessments by referee assessors are not regular enough to provide sufficient data on a referee's performance. This is understandable when there is often an insufficient number of officials to get a referee and marker, let alone an assessor.

The argument that players will blame a referee for his performance and mark accordingly should be balanced by his opponent's report. Tony (Swift) stated when it was tried 20 years ago that players made "a mockery of the forms". Perhaps Tony's memory is better than mine but I cannot remember this initiative being given a prolonged chance of success.

Three-Referee System
I'm sorry Tony, but I'm also going to disagree with you on this one. The three referee system was not a success, and quite rightly was abandoned. What worked best for squash was the same system we have in many other sports; a single referee supported by additional officials. In 1977 at the World Team Championships we had an extra official who was optimally positioned to detect balls that were 'not up' or 'down'.

This third official was purely advisory. It provided useful data to the marker and referee but in no way undermined the referee as was the case with the three-referee system. The only problem with having a third official (in an advisory capacity) was that, it is all too difficult to get (and pay) two officials without having to get a third.


Such is the quality of the entry list for next week's British Open Squash Championships that Simon Parke and Alex Gough will have to face three rounds of the qualifying tournament at Nottingham Squash Club from Sunday in order to reach the main draw.

World No18 Parke, a former England No1 and world No4, has been based at the Nottingham Squash Club in The Park for more than ten years. Welsh No1 Gough, ranked one place higher in the world, moved to the city from Cardiff in 1994 to further his career by training alongside players like Parke, Peter Marshall and Jason Nicolle.

Parke and Gough head the list of 32 qualifiers who will be fighting for four places in the men's first round, which gets under way on Wednesday on the glass court at Nottingham's Albert Hall.

Parke, 31, is a 'veteran' of 12 British Open appearances since making his debut in 1989 in Wembley. Two years later he reached the quarter-finals and, after two further quarter-final appearances, achieved his best run in the event in 1999 in Aberdeen when, fresh from winning the US Open in dramatic style, he fought through to the semi-finals, where he lost to local favourite Peter Nicol, the world No1 and favourite for this year's men's title.

"It's going to be tough this year - three matches just to get to the first round, and seven to win! It's a challenge," said Parke, who lives just a few yards from the club where he will begin his 2003 campaign. "However, it'll be great to have the local support behind me. The atmosphere at the club will be fantastic."

Parke has had his fair share of setbacks, including life-threatening testicular cancer and, last year, surgery on his ankle. The Yorkshireman fought back from both to enjoy some of the best results of his career, and five months ago was selected for England in the European Championships, which were also held at Nottingham Squash Club.

"It's amazing that two major events in my sport have been staged on my doorstep within a year. I really hope I can do well and take advantage of it," said Parke.

The former British National champion has had a disappointing run-up to the British Open with early exits this month in two events in the USA, the US Open and Motor City Open. "They were probably my poorest couple of events for a long time, but I was suffering with a bad cold. I am fully fit now and raring to go!"

Gough reached a career-high world No5 after moving to Nottingham - and, after recently relocating in Berkshire, will return to the city this weekend to stay with his good friend Parke to compete in his seventh British Open since 1996.

"I have very fond memories of the Nottingham club - and was so warmly welcomed by the manager Phil Songhurst and fellow members when I moved to the club in '94 after deciding to go full-time," said Gough. "So playing in the British Open on courts I know well will be a real bonus," added the 32-year-old father of two.

Gough is not disappointed to have to undergo three qualifying rounds before the prospect of a match in the first round - despite having reached the quarter-finals in the past three British Opens.

"It's been nice to get a bit of consistency in the British Open over recent years, but I'm now quite looking forward to the qualifying tournament. Having spent so much time over the summer looking after my two children Jayden (6) and Lydia (4), I need a few good matches to kick-start the new season!"

Parke and Gough interrupted their pre-season training by heading off to the Reading Festival together. They will be joined by a number of Nottingham club-mates in the 2003 British Open, including Scotland's world No3 John White, France's world No25 Renan Lavigne, Irishman John Rooney, Englishmen Joey Barrington and Sam Miller, Nottingham-born Neil Reddington, and Scottish internationals Pamela Nimmo and Wendy Maitland.

This week's missive from NZ Squash chief exec Peter Fergusson ...

Tamsyn Leevey - Carving a Swathe
Tamsyn won her first Victorian Open Squash Championships title after a dramatic run of victories in Wangaratta, Australia. In only her third WISPA World Tour event, Tamsyn created history by becoming the first unseeded player to win the Women's Open title during the 57-year history of the championship...fantastic effort.

A Request for Help...
Tararua Squash Club is looking for information from anyone who has a good Club database system that is set up to deal with Club membership. If you have something that may be of interest the person to email is Roy Rolston at

Squash Development Officer - Central Squash
Graeme Randolph (who many in the Squash fraternity will know) has plans to leave Central Squash and take up an opportunity in Tauranga...what is sad news for Central is great news for Bay of Plenty (and the Tauranga Squash Club)...the extra good news is keeping Graeme in the 'squash family'.

Now - however - Central Squash are on the hunt for a Squash Development Officer extraordinaire. If you think you have the Squash passion, drive, energy, vision and the capacity to engage with people from a wide range of backgrounds. Work with big city clubs through to smaller community based
rural clubs...then this could be the role for you. Get your resume off to  now.

Central Otago...The Place to Be???
The National D Graded Team Championships in Alexandra and Cromwell were, arguably, the place to be last weekend (although I am told that the other events were superb also)...the venues, fantastic hospitality, scenery, sunny weather, resounding haka's (from Rotorua Wiakite and Lakes High Squash Teams) and great squash added up to an event not to be missed. A very public thank you to Charlie, JR, Nicole, Jim and David for their hospitality and looking after me over the weekend - I had a great time meeting up with you

Also, slowly drifting into the Office have been stories and compliments of other Graded Teams events around the country. I have been contacted and have had several people 'waxing lyrical' about the C Grade Team Championships at North Shore Squash Club. From the feedback this event went very, very well - an excellent job done with organisation, accommodation, food and hospitality - well done.

I have also received an impressive full colour printed E Grade Teams Programme from sunny Midlands (Timaru Squash Club) - the organisation, coordination and planning that is very apparent in this document highlights the huge work undertaken around the country by all these hosting Clubs.

The Graded Teams Events are something special - certainly something that Squash needs to continue to encourage. There are very few (if any sports) where a player of any level can gain the opportunity to represent their Province - something unique and worth continuing. See the SNZ website for full results.

The Great Wellington vs Canterbury Clash
Some news and provincial self adulation from Wellington hit my mailbox reads...

The New Zealand Community Trust Clash - Wellington versus Canterbury Sporting Challenge is being held this weekend. The first ever Clash was held in Wellington in August 2002 with the home province winning 21-9 in a 15 code match up. With 21 code match ups this year, including a Ranfurly Shield Challenge, the scene is set to determine the pre-eminent sporting province for 2003.

Squash is participating in this years 'Clash of the Codes' (which is being held in Christchurch this year) - with the Wellington team going down on a charter plane provided by Sport Wellington and the NZ Community Trust. Last year was the first year of 'the clash' and unfortunately squash could not participate as it coincided with the NZ Nationals.

This year Squash Wellington and Squash Canterbury have organised for Seniors and Masters players to participate: 2 Males and 2 Females to play singles and doubles at Christchurch Football Squash Club. Players from Wellington include: Tamsyn Leevey, Rhonda Christensen, Sam Atkins, Grant Craig and Di Bridgeman as the manager. Canterbury players are Karen Walton, Julie McWilliams, Aaron Smail and Charlie Mayhew.

The squash games will be played in the morning and afterwards the teams will head over to Jade Stadium to watch the much anticipated Ranfurly Shield rugby challenge - go Wellington!!!!!!. There is a wrap-up Clash Bash party where the festivities continue the Councilors Debate (the topic "Canterbury Leads Wellington Follows") from 7.30-8pm, The Clash Trophy winner will be announced and the trophy presented shortly after (to Wellington again!)

No shame or self doubt in the Wellington camp - is there. Will wait for Sunday to dawn before we re-count those chickens.

My note last week about fundraising the 'old fashioned way' prompted many teams to casually sidle up and tell of unique and 'hard work' stories of how they raised funds over the 5 week period to get themselves to tournaments around the country. The funds generated by some of the teams in such a short time frame and by so few was impressive - and highlighted what can be done when people put their minds to something they really want...amazing work...don't stop now.

Squash New Zealand - New Offices
For those wishing to find us at any stage we can now be located at:
Squash New Zealand, Tulloch House, 12 Pioneer Street, Henderson, Auckland

Our Post Office Box remains the same (PO Box 21781 Henderson) as do our phone numbers, fax number and email addresses. We now have a 5 month wait as new Offices are built at UNITEC to house us - all going well we will be on the door step of the National Squash Centre by February next year...this final move and relocation will allow us to bring the National Office and the National 'Home of Squash' together...we are holding our breath.

Junior Nationals
This weekend the Junior National Championship individuals are being fought out - followed by the National Junior Teams event. As mentioned those in close proximity to Wellington - make the effort to get along to Khandallah Squash Club to see some of New Zealand's future talent.

Dare to be Different...
"Champion the right to be yourself. Dare to be different. Live your own life and follow your dreams. For in the end if we live truly...we shall truly live."

Have a great weekend - good squashing.
Thu 25 Sep

Rules guru Tony Swift was quick to respond to this week's news of the combined, PSA, WISPA and WSF initiative to obtain player feedback about referees. Tony, who is based in Toronto, writes:

"They are re inventing the wheel, which as Chairman of the International Rules and Referees, I set in motion more than 20 years ago. A few players will take it seriously but many will make a mockery of the forms as they did many years ago when they will try to blame the referee for poor form or a bad match. I hope it will help to improve the level of refereeing but I am not convinced.

"The ONLY answer in my opinion is for top tournaments to use the three-judge system. Having a central Referee and two line judges eliminates the confrontations between players and referees, which I believe is ruining our sport.

"We used the three-judge system successfully in two Canadian Mens Opens as well as the Womens Canadian Open (twice) and the Womens World Championships in Vancouver. It works really well when the central referee knows how to control the appeals properly and quickly, cutting out all the dissension, because suddenly there is no single official the players can argue with.

"Three judges allow the referee to be far more relaxed knowing he has back-up, which in itself will probably lead to better decisions in the first place. This system adopted from the US Hardball game is the best system I have come across in my 25 years of being involved with Refereeing at all levels of play.

"I still don't understand why it has not been given greater exposure at the top levels for both the men's and women's games!"

The Grapevine would be keen to hear from players and referees who wish to comment on the problem.

The Grapevine's tales of confrontations on court prompted this email from John Whitfield.

"A few years ago we had a guy that played at our club in Cleethorpes who was, shall we say, a little on the plump side. He would charge around like a bull in a china shop. The back wall was not used for stopping the ball and playing the ball off, but more like a trampoline for bouncing himself back into the court.

"However, one day he threw himself into the glass and as the glass moved in its mounting, as it does slightly, he got his finger stuck between the door and the back wall. And, as he bounced back off the wall, his finger stayed where it was and he ended up in a heap in the middle of the court. It was one bloody battle."

Thanks, John. Keep 'em coming, folks.

Tue 23 Sep

Michael Hansen from Denmark faces a hefty match fee after smashing a glass door during the third-fourth place play-off match in the European Club Championship finals in Odense.

Hansen was playing for the host club against Frenchman Jean Michel Arcucci, who was appearing for Belgica. Hansen lost the first game 9-7 and slammed the door on leaving the court. The glass shattered, Hansen was disqualified, and they had to move the panels from court 2 to court 7 to continue play.

It reminds me of a Kent League match a few years ago down at Canterbury, when my opponent, upset at losing, smashed his new racket over his knee, then punched a hole in the two doors leading from the court to the changing rooms.

The cost of his repair bill and broken racket came to more than £250. Served him right. One of his team-mates had called "foot-fault" as I served at 8-0 up in the fifth, which resulted in, how shall I say, a gentle discussion on court after he had won the next three points.

I said something under my breath about the marker, and my opponent promptly served into the floor. I won the next rally and that sparked one-man scenes reminiscent of the closing stages of Sunday's Premiership match between Manchester United and Arsenal.

The funniest part of it all was one of my team-mates nipping down to the court to remove the new grip from my opponent's shattered racket.


As for the real squash in Odense, Paderborn of Germany and Pontefract from England celebrated victories in the men's and women's European Club finals to make up for disappointments in 2002.

Paderborn claimed a narrow victory over England's Colets club, FROM Thames Ditton, after world No1 Peter Nicol and Tim Garner secured straight-games wins over Scott Handley and Mark Cairns.

Though the tie was level 2-2 in matches, the squad's fourth string Edgar Schneider's two games in his 3-2 defeat by Colets' Chris Clare gave the German club victory by an 8-6 games countback margin. Paderborn, also with Nicol and Garner, lost out in last year's semi-finals.

Pontefract's women's team returned to the European Championships' final with the same line-up which saw them finish as runners-up in 2002. This time Australia's five-times world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald clinched a 2-1 victory for the Yorkshire club over Germany's ISC Court-Wiesel with a 9-5 1-9 9-2 0-9 9-1 victory over England's world No4 Linda Charman.


In a final uncannily similar to one they played four weeks earlier in northern Pakistan, France's Gregory Gaultier and Pakistan's Mansoor Zaman battled for five games in the climax of the $25,000 CNS International Squash Championship in Karachi before the Frenchman ultimately triumphed 15-13 in the fifth game.

On the eve of the final, world No15 Mansoor Zaman assured Pakistan's News International that he had learned lessons from the pair's previous clash: "In Peshawar I won the first two games only to lose the next three against him. It was very disappointing because I knew I had nobody to blame but myself for the defeat. I will try my best to reverse that result tomorrow," said the son of the former British Open champion Qamar Zaman.

In a real battle of nerves at the Pakistan Navy Roshan Khan-Jahangir Khan Squash Complex in Karachi, Mansoor fought back from a game down to take the next two to lead 2-1. Gaultier, just two places higher in the world rankings, drew level and moved ahead 9-4 in the decider.

The local hero, however, pulled back four points to 8-9, and minutes later, much to the delight of the packed and partisan crowd, it was 10-10, then 11-11, 12-12, and 13-13.

Zaman, however, was unable to press home any advantage as Gaultier claimed the next two points and, after 68 electrifying minutes, the match 15-9 14-15 5-15 15-10 15-13.

The victory marks the seventh PSA Tour title of 20-year-old Gaultier's short career. Zaman now heads for England where he takes on Scotland's third seed John White in next week's opening round of the British Open on the all-glass court at the Albert Hall in Nottingham.


On-court conflict is one of the less attractive elements of squash. Referees often blame players for unsavoury incidents on court, while players often respond by blaming poor refereeing for causing problems in the first place.

Now the three governing bodies of World Squash, the WSF, PSA and WISPA, have announce a joint project intended to gather greater feedback concerning referee performance at major events. They hope, ultimately, to improve refereeing, something that would benefit all concerned with the sport, including the top tournament players.

"Although formal assessments by WSF Assessors remain an integral part of the evaluation and education of WSF Referees and potential candidates for those positions, we recognise that the WSF needs greater input from the professional players to provide more information to the WSF Review Board when making decisions about the appointment of WSF Referees," said PSA Executive Director Gawain Briars, WISPA Director Andrew Shelley and WSF Rules & Referees Committee Director Graham Waters in a joint letter to members of the three associations. "Attempts have been made to include some players in that annual process, but conflicting schedules and priorities have limited the success of that initiative."

Players competing in major events will be asked to fill out a simple card, evaluating the performance of the referee of each match played, and offering the players space to provide any constructive suggestions as to how that referee could improve.

These evaluations will be completed on all referees at the events mentioned below, whether they are existing WSF Referees or those striving for that designation. They would be returned to the Tournament Director or Tournament Referee, who would then return them to the WSF office at the conclusion of the event.

These forms would then be collated, and used during the annual WSF Referee Review. They will provide the WSF Review Board with a great deal more information on which to base their decisions. Any patterns developing from the comments and suggestions will also be forwarded on to the individual referees for their information and a base from which to improve.

The authors of the letter point out that, for the programme to have maximum benefit, a few things are crucial:

"Players must not allow the "heat of the moment" emotions to cloud what they say in their feedback. The forms should ideally be completed an hour or two after the match has finished and the euphoria or frustrations have subsided.

"The results of the comments must remain confidential, not only during the event, but also after it. Envelopes will be provided to assure this. The forms will be collected in their sealed envelopes and forwarded to the WSF office in the UK for future use.

"Although ratings in the various categories will be helpful, any constructive suggestions from the players can help the development and improvement of referee performance.

"We hope to get as much information as we can about as many referees as possible and from as many different players as possible. This will provide a much broader cross-section of information, and help minimise any individual conflicts."

The initiative will be launched at next month's British Open in Nottingham. Information will be gathered from all matches, including qualifying rounds. The forms will also be used at the following PSA and WISPA events this year, as well as the Men's World Team Championships in October:

PSA: Canadian Open (Edmonton), Oct 30-Nov 3; Dutch Open (Maastricht), Nov. 13-16; Canadian Classic (Toronto), Nov. 17-21; Qatar Classic (Doha), Dec. 1-5; World Open (Lahore), Dec. 14-21

WISPA: Weymuller US Open (New York) Oct 13-16; Dutch Open (Maastricht), Nov. 13-16; Monte Carlo Classic (Monaco), Nov. 19-22; Qatar Classic (Doha), Dec. 1-5; World Open (Hong Kong), Dec. 9-13

"I am very pleased with the co-operation shown by the two professional associations in developing this programme and look forward to some constructive feedback from the top players on the referees that work the top events," said Graham Waters.

"I am confident that this will lead to a better understanding between the two camps, better information for the WSF Review Board to consider when reviewing International Referee nominations, and, ultimately, to better and more consistent refereeing."
Sun 21 Sep
Canada's world No.4 Jonathon Power shrugged aside two recent losses to fifth-ranked Thierry Lincou by beating the Frenchman in four games in the final of the $30,000 Volvo Motor City Open in Detroit.

After losing a thrilling first game in a tie-break, the Canadian took a stranglehold on the match and ran away with the next three games to pocket his first Motor City Open crown 14-15, 15-7, 15-5, 15-7.

A sell-out crowd packed the Birmingham Athletic Club's gallery to see a rematch of Lincou's epic five-game victory over the five-times Canadian National champion in last weekend's US Open quarter-finals. Both of the top seeds had swept through the Motor City draw without the loss of a game, although No2 seed Lincou had faced stiff challenges from English qualifier James Willstrop and sixth seed Mark Chaloner in the early rounds.

As in Boston, Power got off to a quick start in game one. But at 5-2 up, Power fell hard, clutching his right angle. Grimacing, the Canadian walked it off, but the incident seemed to break his momentum - and suddenly Lincou was right back in it.

Controlling the tempo, the determined Frenchman from Paris battled Power to 8-all before pulling out to 14-12 and game ball. Two Thierry tins later, however, and it was suddenly 14-14. Lincou asked for no set, and this time it was Power who tinned a forehand, handing the game to the Frenchman.

"That first game was a tough. Thierry set a tough pace and hit very precise shots," said Power after the match.

Game two was a different story. Throwing a dizzying array of soft boasts, tight drives, and drop shot winners at his opponent, Power leapt to a 9-4 lead, and cruised to a 15-7 second game win. "I felt his legs go in the second game," said the 29-year-old from Montreal. "So I started moving him around. I felt I could drop him more without his putting pressure on me."

Lincou, apparently feeling the stress of a long week of squash, admitted his fatigue: "I think I got mentally tired," said the world No5. "He was definitely up for the match, and I just suddenly felt tired and mentally let it slip."

Power kept up the pressure in games three and four. Lincou dug deep, but Power's pace was relentless, and again a bushel of Lincou errors brought Power to match ball at 14-7. Lincou missed again, and Power raised both fists into the air in victory.

Accepting his trophy after the match, Power said: "We don't play a lot of clubs on the circuit, so it's nice to come to the Motor City. The crew here is outstanding, and we are treated first-class."

Power's win, his 31st in his 52nd PSA Tour final, will be a confidence-booster on the eve of the British Open, which gets under way in Nottingham on October 1. The charismatic Canadian takes on England's Mark Chaloner in the opening round and is expected to face his great rival, the world No1 Peter Nicol, in the semi-finals.


Australia's Cameron Pilley and New Zealander Tamsyn Leevey won their first Victorian Open Championships titles after dramatic victories in the finals in Wangaratta, Australia.

In only her third WISPA World Tour event, Tamsyn Leevey created history by becoming the first unseeded player to win the Women's Open title during the 57-year history of the championship.

Leevey, who had earlier disposed of the number 1, 4 and 8 seeds, was too powerful for second-seeded Australian Dianne Desira, who was trying to win her third consecutive home-town title.

Although both players were feeling the effects of gruelling semi-finals, held earlier in the day, it was the Kiwi's resilience and stroke play which enabled her to capture the Victorian crown 9-7 9-3 9-1 in 38 minutes.

After being runner-up last year, top seed Cameron Pilley claimed his first Victorian title with an emphatic four-game victory over 15th seeded Egyptian Sherif Kamel 15-8 15-10 11-15 15-6.

Pilley, who is based at the Australian Institute of Sport squash unit in Queensland, found great support from Commonwealth Games coach Geoff Hunt - himself a past winner of this title on no fewer than 10 occasions.

In his earlier matches, Kamel was able to outlast his opponents through his speed and agility around the court. The final was a different affair with the more experienced Pilley taking the initiative from the first point, displaying a wide array of shots which had the Egyptian teenage sensation constantly scrambling at the back of the court.

Although drained from his 91-minute semi final victory, Kamel was still able to fight back from a 2-0 deficit by taking the third game 15-11, at which stage he was well and truly back in the match. Pilley hit back to dominate the fourth game to take the match.

British Open Chooses
NPFA As Official Charity
The National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) has been selected as the 'Official Charity' of the forthcoming British Open.


The top two seeds, Gregory Gaultier and Mansoor Zaman, will battle it out in the final of the $25,000 CNS International Championship in Karachi, four weeks after contesting a nail-biting CAS International final in the north western Pakistan city of Peshawar.

Pakistan national champion Mansoor Zaman, the second seed, survived a tough tussle against his younger cousin Farrukh Zaman. Ranked 41 in the world, 26 places below his opponent, unseeded Farrukh overcame a seven-point lead by Mansoor to take the opening game after a tie-break.

The left-handed world No15 fought back to assert his authority and, after 73 minutes, claimed the match 14-17 17-15 15-11 17-15 to reach his 11th PSA Tour final.

The other semi-final was a more straightforward affair as top-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier swept to a 15-5 15-11 15-9 victory over England's third seed Adrian Grant in 49 minutes to celebrate his 10th appearance in a PSA Tour final, and his third this year.

In their last meeting in Peshawar, Gaultier had to fight back from 0-2 down against Mansoor before clinching the CAS International title 15-14 in the fifth in an 82-minute final.

Sat 20 Sep

David Palmer and John White flew out to Bermuda after the rigours of the US Open for some R and R, training and an exhibition match or two before heading back to the UK for the British Open. Let's hope their visit was not disturbed by the fringes of Hurricane Isabel, which yesterday struck the eastern coast of the United States with such ferocity.

Palmer and White will be National League rivals next season, White with his home-town club Nottingham, who are hosting the Open, while Palmer has signed for Birmingham giants Edgbaston Priory. Signing the world champion is an excellent piece of insurance by Priory, whose regular number one, Stewart Boswell, has been sidelined with injury for several months.

Earlier in the year, Palmer announced that he was planning to spend a large part of the year in Bermuda. Then he was struck down by appendicitis, which required surgery on his previous visit to the island, followed by emergency treatment when he returned to Belgium and found that an infection had set in.

It doesn't quite rival the British Open, but any players who don't make the qualifying event in Nottingham might fancy a trip across to Norway to play in a new tournament on the calendar.

The new event, called the Mamut Oslo Open, has a prize fund of 5,000 US dollars. Promoter Svein-Erik Myrbakken says: "It is British Open the same week, but if any top 50 players will come to Norway that would be great. This is not a registered PSA event, but I hope some will come anyway. We can pick up them up at the airport and arrange accommodation."

If any players are worried about the cost of flights to Norway, Svein-Erik adds: "Flights from London Stansted to Oslo are very, very cheap. I can now see at that it costs just £14 to fly to Norway, and £6 for the return if you book on the internet."

If any players require further information, please email Svein at 

The Mamut Oslo Open tournament runs from October 3-5.

Sadly, some major names in the world of squash will be absent from the national league in the forthcoming season. Connaught, Lexden and Hallamshire have all dropped out, but Manchester Northern have returned to the fray, and former national champion Sue Wright is entering a team from Bicester, where she has based her sports academy.

Northern's return means that there will be two Manchester teams in the competition, alongside the joint Manchester-Pontefract operation.

Despite Connaught's withdrawal, no rival club was able to produce a package attractive enough to persuade world No.1 Peter Nicol to sign. Long-suffering Connaught team captain Tim Garner will be turning out for his old club Chichester.

National League details


Canada's top seed Jonathon Power will face No2 seed Thierry Lincou in the final of the $30,000 Volvo Motor City Squash Open in Detroit today in a bid to beat the lower-ranked Frenchman after two successive upsets this year.

Power has twice losst to Lincou on American soil this year. He surrendered a one-game lead in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions in New York and last week squandered a 2-0 lead to Lincou in his shock US Open quarter-final exit six days ago, during a match delayed for more than two hours following Power's eye injury.

Yesterday Power eased past fellow Canadian Graham Ryding in the first semi-final at the Birmingham Athletic Club, while Lincou reached his fourth PSA Tour final this year when he received a walkover courtesy of No4 seed Amr Shabana's badly swollen ankle.

Coming off an emotionally-draining quarter-final win over third-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish, Ryding was simply no match for Power, who was at the top of his game.  "This is as well as I have played," acknowledged Power. "But I think yesterday's match took a lot out of Graham.  And my pace today took a lot more out of his legs."

After a tight start to the opening game, Power moved ahead with six points in a row. The five-times Canadian champion from Montreal never looked back.  Games two and three sailed past as Ryding grew visibly tired and discouraged, and Power soon reeled off a 15-9 15-4 15-3 win to claim his 52nd appearance in a PSA Tour final.

Shabana withdrew after straining his Achilles tendon in the previous night's quarters against Scotland's Martin Heath. It is a recurring injury that has bothered Shabana in recent months.

"I was keen to play him," said the Egyptian, who hoped to avenge a loss to Lincou in last weekend's US Open.  "It would have been exciting.  But I have the British Open in England in ten days and I didn't want to hurt myself any more."

In looking forward to the final, and his bid for a 'third-time-lucky' win over Lincou, Power said:  "He'll be tough on these courts because they are very bouncy, and he will be able to get to more balls.  And playing on this court with the high tin will also favour him to stay in the points."

Fri 19 Sep
Graham Ryding beat Egypt's world No9 Karim Darwish for the second time in a week. He saved three match balls in a dramatic encounter to set up an all-Canadian semi-final against top seed Jonathon Power in the Volvo Motor City Open in Detroit.

It was in a first-round encounter in last weekend's US Open in Boston that Ryding also had to come back from a 2/1 deficit against Darwish before prevailing in five games. With Darwish again ahead 2/1 at the Birmingham Athletic Club, the fourth would prove the pivotal game. Down match ball at 13-14, the 28-year-old world No19 from Toronto fought back to 14-14, only to lose another and face a second match ball. Again Ryding tied it up after some extreme retrieves and attacking spurts. Then at 16-15, the Egyptian look poised to win, only to see Graham improbably come back to draw level by winning the game 17-16.

Stunned to be facing yet another fifth game against Ryding, the former world junior champion from Cairo did not give up. Darwish jumped ahead in game five, leading Ryding by two until the Canadian tied it at 10-10. From there, Graham advanced to match ball at 14-12 - and when Darwish tinned the next point, a spot in the semis with a 15-13 9-15 13-15 17-16 15-12 victory.

The top seed's quarter-final against unseeded Australian Paul Price was vintage Jonathon Power: Grimacing, needling, berating the referee, counterpunching - and rarely missing a shot. After taking a tight first game against an inspired Price, Power would make only three unforced errors in the last two games. This brilliance came even as the Canadian sustained a running verbal battle with the referee after almost every point. The outbursts seem to unnerve Price more than Power, however, who closed out the highly entertaining match before a packed grandstand 15-13 15-12 15-8.

The bottom half of the draw was less eventful. Egypt's fourth seed Amr Shabana was cruising against Scotland's Martin Heath before suddenly pulling up lame in game three. The Egyptian's ankle has hampered him recently and he had twisted it again. Despite the discomfort, however, the speedy 24-year-old from Cairo, ranked 12 in the world, held on for a convincing 15-13 17-14 15-12 win.

Shabana's semi-final opponent Thierry Lincou, the No2 seed from France, waged his second marathon three-gamer in two nights, defeating a tenacious Mark Chaloner 15-13 15-12 15-13 in one hour and 50 minutes! "Thierry's playing well," said the sixth-seeded Englishman. "He's difficult to move around because he takes a lot of space on the T."

Lincou beat Shabana in three in Boston's first round, but pointed out: "This time he should be fresher than me. It could be tough."

MCO Details


It's a tough life for up and coming players on the pro tour. Take England's Mick Matthew, for instance. No sooner had he reached the quarter-finals of the US Open, where he lost to world champion David Palmer, than he had to start making travel plans to fly from Boston to Pakistan to compete in the CNS International Squash Championship in Karachi.

Not surprisingly, such a long journey across many different time zones took its toll yesterday when he lost in the first round of the $25,000 PSA Tour event to Pakistan teenager Farhan Mehboob. The local favourite, who was a qualifier, pulled off a sensational upset when he defeated England's sixth seed - after losing the third game by a resounding 15-1 margin.

The Asian Junior Champion, aged just 15, twice had to fight back from behind before claiming his remarkable 6-15 15-13 1-15 15-13 17-15 win over the world No24 in 50 minutes in only his second outing on the PSA Tour.

The loss was a blow to Matthew, who was a surprise quarter-finalist in the last two events in which he competed, claiming significant upsets over both the world No8 Ong Beng Hee and the world No11 Joseph Kneipp.

There was Pakistani involvement in three further upsets, with qualifier Yasir Butt earning the quickest ride through to the quarter-finals with a four-minute win over seventh seed Omar Elborolossy when the Egyptian retired after one game suffering with a fever.

Farhan, son of former world No1 Jansher Khan's trainer Mehboob Khan, now faces another Englishman Adrian Grant - who survived the longest match of the day when he beat Dutch qualifier Laurens Anjema 8-15 15-14 15-10 10-15 15-9 in 83 minutes.

Unseeded Farrukh Zaman also scored a notable victory when he defeated fourth-seeded Frenchman Renan Lavigne 15-11 4-15 15-10 15-7 in 53 minutes - though his cousin Shahid Zaman, the 8th seed, tumbled out of the event when beaten 11-15 15-7 15-8 15-11 in 34 minutes by unseeded Egyptian Hisham Moh'd Ashour.

CNS Details

This week's missive from NZ Squash chief exec Peter Fergusson ...

National D Grade Teams Event
World Squash Day 2004
2003 Ocean Lodge NZ Masters
Waikato University

How long does it take to say thanks...
"The best minute you spend is the one you invest in someone else."

Friday's Fibs
19 September 2003
Early Again...
An early Fib...making a habit of this...but winging my way South tomorrow to join the National D Grade Teams Event in sunny Alexandra...unfortunately for them they get the dubious honour of hearing me speak at the prize giving.

Correction...World Squash Day 2004 Just checking to see who was reading and looking at the 2004 calendar. Peter Brown quite rightly pointed out that 28 April is a Wednesday...the correct date is Saturday 24 April 2004...thanks for the feedback Peter.

2003 Ocean Lodge NZ Masters Squash Championships The 2003 Ocean Lodge NZ Masters Squash Championships entries are about to close - next Friday 3 October - so get your entry in. Added interest this year will be the Australian contingent traveling to our fair shores to test our Masters depth.

The first test match with the Australian Team is at Nelson on Thursday evening (23rd October) prior to which will be a social occasion for sponsors and supporters of the club when the NZ and Australian teams will be welcomed.

Individual Championships start on Friday 24th October and culminate in prize giving Monday 27th afternoon. A tournament dinner is scheduled for Sunday evening with the District Teams events starting on the 28th October. Team's dinner will be at a waterfront restaurant on Tuesday 28th and the skits night will as usual be on the Wednesday 29th at the Nelson Club...Districts should be rehearsing!

The second test match is at Waimea Richmond on Friday evening the 31st October with the final at the Nelson Club on Saturday 1st November. Sounds like a great week (plus) of games, events and off court frolicking.

Waikato University Benchmarking Squash New Zealand has recently commissioned Waikato University to undertake a Benchmarking project to identify ways of measuring and assessing best practice around the country within Squash (initially at National and District level).

The key outcome from the project is to identify and understand what is being done across the country (we all do similar things but also 're-invent the wheel' constantly), compare all areas of our sport Regionally in a manner that takes into consideration the key differences (eg: population, club numbers, financial turnover, geography etc) and isolate what is working well (and is making a difference).

Following on from that we can identify key areas of need, measure changes and trends, understand what works and how we can share those best practices (so the entire sport grows) and also understand where our key weaknesses are as a sport.

The initial data, in its raw state for comparison, is planned to be available and presented at the looming National Conference and AGM in November. A large quantity of information is now being gained to enable the project to develop the measures and identify what specific information will be of use. Watch this space...

National Graded Teams...good luck
A message of good luck to all contesting the National Graded Teams events this weekend. The stories surrounding the level of Squash, the levels of enjoyment and the activities 'off court' in these tournaments is legendary (the NPC of Squash) as I walk into Alexandra tomorrow I will be cautious.

Fundraising the old fashioned way While on the note of National Graded of the other activities that has been frantically going on around the country has been fundraising for each of these teams to be able to travel and compete...well done.

One team that has been mentioned (and will get my team vote of the newsletter) is the Tokoroa E Grade Team who are heading to Timaru. All the funds for their trip were raised the old fashioned way over the past 5 weeks ($6k)...sausage sizzles, cake stalls, raffles etc...great going...and good luck.

Squash New Zealand on the Move...
We are about to physically move the offices (next week). We have taken up an offer from UNITEC to place a purpose built Office on site and close to the National Squash Centre while waiting for the final stage of the National Squash Centre to be completed.

The process of getting into this Office on UNITEC will unfortunately take about 5 months (eg: to gain consents, build, connect, move in etc)...our dilemma - we have been on a month to month arrangement in our current Offices (and paying too much rent) and with this news our landlord does not share our enthusiasm of moving out.

Our need for 5 months accommodation and his wish for a long term tenant have not made us entirely popular and we have been given notice...not our preferred option but a fact of life now.

We will be moving the Squash NZ office to interim premises in Henderson (no change to phone/fax numbers etc) but if you have the calling to visit us then we will be on the 1st Floor of Tulloch House (Pioneer Street - Henderson).

Approximately February 2004 we will be on the move once again (and finally) to the new Offices at UNITEC...this will put us within close proximity of the National Squash Centre, provide a great environment and continue to develop the relationship with our partner UNITEC...short term pain for long term gain.

Junior Nationals
Head to the Squash Wellington Website for the New Zealand National Junior Draw which should be posted this coming Monday (22 September 2004)

Thu 18 Sep
Fifty five minutes for one game. Yes, 55 minutes. That's how long England's James Willstrop extended No.2 seed Thierry Lincou in the opening game of their first round clash in the Volvo Motor City Open in Detroit.

Willstrop's battle against Lincou produced consistently high level squash and was the match of the day. Game one was a masterpiece. Just shy of the PSA record of 57 minutes, it lasted longer than some of the day's complete matches! The rallies were long and hard. Willstrop's quickness of hand matched Lincou's quickness afoot. With both players on form, game one stretched into a tiebreaker, ending abruptly on a tough, controversial stroke against Willstrop, 17-15.

Game two again came down to the wire and again a tough stroke call on game point decided it: 15-13 to Lincou. Into the third and again the two gladiators fought to a 12-12 tie, with the veteran Lincou reaching deep to pull out the last three points and the match 17-15 15-13 15-12. Visibly spent, the two embraced each other at match end.

Joey Barrington was another young Englishman to impress the packed house at the Birmingham Athletic Club and showed that he is ready to make his own mark on the game. He started tenaciously against fifth-seeded Scot Martin Heath and took the first game. But Heath was devastating in the air as some great backhand volley flicks found the nick as he eventually went through 13-15 15-3 15-11 15-6.

England's Simon Parke, the seventh seed, suffered his second successive PSA Tour disappointment when he crashed out of the first round at the hands of unseeded Australian Paul Price.

Parke and Price are both former top four players, now ranked 18 and 20, respectively. Parke was eager to make up for last week's failure to qualify for the US Open in which has been a finalist four times.

Price, the 27-year-old from Melbourne, made life difficult for Parke in the front corners with some beautiful touch shots. Parke was unable to turn his speed and retrieval capabilities to his advantage and Price took the match 17-14 15-7 15-8.

The Australian's reward is a quarter-final clash with top-seeded Canadian Jonathon Power. It was back to business for the 29-year-old world No4 from Montreal who, after a surprise quarter-final exit from the US Open, was making his debut in this $30,000 event in Detroit. Power swept to a 15-7 15-8 15-13 first round victory over Australian qualifier Dan Jenson.

In the much-anticipated rematch of last year's final, Canada's Graham Ryding never let up on England's 2002 champ Nick Taylor - winning sweet revenge in three straight games 15-8 17-16 15-9.


Jonathon Power has launched a new signature clothing range, called Dive Guy, in conjunction with Dominator Clothing.

The commercial link-up has developed from Power's friendship with ice hockey star Dominik Hasek, the creator of Dominator Clothing who watched him beat Peter Nicol in a sensational PSA Super Series final in London in May.

Power said: "I chose Dominator Clothing as the company to launch my signature collection because they stand for values I believe in. They have an uncompromising commitment to excellence.

"They are dedicated to making a world-class product, and to have that product make a difference on a community level. I respect that. And I want to be a part of that kind of culture. I look forward to being involved in every step of this new venture."

Dominator Dive Guy apparel will feature premium, high-performance fabrics including shirts, shorts, socks, wristbands and headbands tailored for squash play. Full story

Wed 17 Sep

Peter Nicol claimed his fourth US Open title by beating defending champion David Palmer in a riveting final before a sell-out crowd inside Boston's world-famous Symphony Hall.

The closeness of the scoreline, 15-10, 14-15, 15-14, 17-14, sums up the nature of the match, and also illustrates how tight things are becoming at the top of the men's game.

Nicol started strongly to claim the opening game, but the following three were all tight finishes after setting at 14-all.

In the end it was down to squeezing the crucial points and Nicol's ability to fight back from tired spells in the third and fourth games.

Afterwards, Nicol admitted to being both delighted and relieved as he commented: "It was a really tough game and I was lucky enough

to win some key points. I was really tired in the middle of the fourth, but dug deep and pulled it out."

Palmer expressed his happiness at making it this far this year, particularly after an emergency appendectomy operation soon after this year's Tournament of Champions. He vowed to be back next year to reclaim the title.

Nicol knows that his main rivals have closed the gap and are swarming around him trying to snatch away that coveted number one slot in the PSA rankings that he has held for more than five years.

In Sheffield he lost in five games to Anthony Ricketts, who continued his advancement in Boston by beating John White in straight games. White, who won the inaugural Prince English Open in Sheffield, was backed by many wise souls to win the US Open and claim that No.1 spot. But, despite his newly acquired patience, he found Ricketts even more patient, and certainly hungrier on the night.

Palmer almost became the next big scalp to add to Ricketts' CV as he trailed by two games in the semi-finals, but the world champion is made of stern stuff and fought back from two games down to book his place in the final.

The enigmatic Jonathon Power surrendered to Thierry Lincou after playing sublime squash only to squander six match balls in the third game and then being forced to complete the match late at night after being struck in the eye by the ball in a freak accident.

Now it's on to Detroit, where several of the top guys have headed for the Motor City Open tournament which is expected to produce a repeat contest between Power and Lincou in the final. Then comes the British Open in Nottingham. It's White's home club, and he is bound to feel at home on those hot courts before the event moves to the Albert Hall Conference Centre. But it's also a happy hunting ground for Nicol. He beat White in straight games there in the European Team Championship earlier this year and White and Power contested the Sheffield final, this week it was Nicol and Palmer's turn. Who would bet against Ricketts going one step further in Nottingham? And what of Stewart Boswell's return to the competitive scene after several months out of action?

The cauldron bubbles and Nicol knows he will need to be on the top of his game to retain the title under such ferocious pressure.


Many learned witnesses have described the US Open final as one of the best matches in recent history, with both Peter Nicol and David Palmer showing each other total respect and producing a contest of dramatic quality and outstanding athleticism.

Such a shame that there was nothing in the budget for Jean De Lierre and the team to repeat the incredible TV production from the ToC that has been given an extended showing by the Tennis Channel.

The plan was to provide prolonged continuity of coverage, with more than 40 hours of programming from the ToC continuing to roll out until now, to be followed by the footage from Boston.

In 1999 Peter Nicol became Britain's first men's world champion when he beat Egypt's Ahmed Barada in the final of the Al-Ahram  World Open at the  Great Pyramids amphitheatre at Giza.


Top seed Jonathon Power, the world No.4 from Canada, has drawn Australian qualifier Dan Jenson in the opening round of the Volvo Motor City Open in Detroit.

Jenson, a former world No.5 making his comeback after a number of injuries, defeated Dutchman Tommy Berden 15-11, 17-14, 15-13 in the final qualifying round to earn a main draw clash with Power, an unexpected quarter-final casualty in the US Open at the beginning of the week.

France's Thierry Lincou, Power's conqueror in Boston and seeded to meet the Canadian again in Saturday's final, takes on English qualifier James Willstrop in the first round after the World Junior Champion beat compatriot Jonathan Kemp 15-11, 15-11, 15-9.

The quality of the field for the $30,000 PSA Tour event is shown by the standout first round encounter between eighth-seeded Canadian Graham Ryding and England's Nick Taylor - a repeat of the 2002 final which was won by the Englishman in four games!

The Grapevine team extends heartfelt condolences to the family of talented
youngster Matthew Allison, who fell to his death this week while climbing a
tree to collect conkers.

The sports-mad teenager was 16 in July. The tragedy happened the same day he had started a two-year sports and PE course at Carlisle College. Matthew had played for Wigton Squash Club since he was ten and had represented the county several times


Brian Hargrave writes with some interesting news for all squash clubs:

Duffield Squash Club is a members club and VAT registered. We have recently been subjected to an in depth VAT inspection and the nice VATMAN is going through our records for the past 3 years with a fine toothcomb determined to find something wrong so that he and the Government can make life even tougher for Sports Clubs who do so much the local community and who play a vital role in nurturing the sports stars of the future.

So far he has ruled that we must pay VAT on pool table receipts and NL ticket sales. One solution is not to advertise and sell tickets but in future to rely on supporters making a voluntary donation to watch NL squash. Our loyal supporters have got the message and the donations are flooding in.

There was an article in Saturday's Daily Telegraph - Money Section page B9 covering mandatory business rate relief of 80% if a parliamentary Bill nearing its final stages becomes law. All Clubs registered as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC's) can also register for Gift Aid to generate additional income. For more information see the Revenue website which contains details of who qualifies and how to register as a CASC. Application forms can be download or cal the Sports Club unit on 0131 777 4147. Possibly England Squash will be isuing some advice on this subject?

Finally, I would strongly recommend that NL managers keep detailed records of payments to players who should be asked to provide their tax reference and NI No. Players should be engaged under a "contract for services" rather than "contract of services" to avoid the obligation to operate PAYE. Again, be warned. I understand that the Inland Revenue Sports Unit is working its way through some of the minor sports such as basketball. The Revenue staff do trawl through press and website coverage and I am aware of at least three squash players who have suffered from tax investigations.

Tue 16 Sep

The top two players in the world, Peter Nicol and David Palmer, contest tonight's final of the US Open after contrasting semi-final victories at Boston's Symphony Hall.

Top seed Nicol removed Frenchman Thierry Lincou in straight games, while world champion Palmer fought back from two games down to overcome fellow Australian Anthony Ricketts.

Nicol's success came in straight games, 15-12, 15-12, 15-10. He controlled the mid-court area with his usual smooth movement and effortless accuracy, forcing Lincou into a succession of backhand errors.

Nicol is now looking forward to his fourth US Open final, determined to stop Palmer becoming the first modern-era player to win successive titles.

Palmer beat Nicol in last year's semi-final, but looked to be heading for the exit door at the same stage this year as he trailed by two games to love to the rapidly-advancing Ricketts.

Ricketts roared through the first two games and did not allow Palmer to settle. But the more experienced Aussie gradually took control to stem the flow of winners from Ricketts.

It was Palmer's turn to dominate and he levelled the score with two solid games in which he reduced the error ratio. Ricketts was unsettled in the fifth as a slippery court floor sent him sprawling on several occasions. Palmer won the big points as Ricketts worried about his balance, and eased home 15-10 to clinch his place in the final against Nicol.

NICOL: "I started out a bit inconsistent in my swing...sometimes long, sometimes short. But by the middle of game two, I felt complete focus and relaxed. As a result, I'm not too tired and ready for tomorrow's final."

LINCOU: "After game one, Peter took control of the T and that was it."

PALMER: "I was pushing the ball around too much and Anthony took control. But somehow, between games two and three, I honestly got a little better."

RESULTS: [1] Peter Nicol bt [5] Thierry Lincou (FRA) 15-12, 15-12, 15-10.

[2] David Palmer (AUS) bt [6] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) 8-15, 5-15, 15-8, 15-7, 15-10.

If you love squash but enjoy life far from the madding crowd, then you might be interested in buying your own exclusive paradise in the Western Isles.

The Ministry of Defence has put a former air base on the market for just
£100,000. The trouble is, the 7.5-acre former East Camp RAF base is on Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

The camp cost taxpayers £1million to build, but has been closed for three years. As well as the squash court, the camp boasts a sauna and a bomb-proof main building.

Any squash fans are advised to get in quick. Apparently several multi-national companies are interested in using the base to store computer files in case of a terrorist attack.

I would love to have a squash court at Grapevine Towers, and was interested in one particular property in Kent 15 years ago when we first moved to the Garden of England.

The house had a squash court and an open-air swimming pool, and my enthusiasm waned only slightly when I discovered that the pool was unheated, the court had a bumpy concrete floor, having been used as an agricultural store shed, and the house had no central heating and electrical wiring that screamed "fire hazard" when you took a closer look.

I was all for taking it on, and upgrading everything to National League standard, but Mrs Grapevine had other ideas. Knowing that my attempts at DIY usually ended in a visit to Accident and Emergency, she put her foot down. With a firm No.

Mon 15 Sep

Jonathon Power suffered another eye injury in a key match as he lost to Thierry Lincou in the quarter-finals of the US Open at Boston Symphony Hall.

Power, whose 2002 World Open bid was halted by an accidental eye injury inflicted by the racket of eventual champion David Palmer, was hit in the eye in a bizarre incident while leading two games to one against the Frenchman.

When Power hit a loose stroke down the middle of the court, Lincou held his shot and just let the ball cushion off his racket. Power turned round in mid-court to see what was happening and was hit in the eye with the ball.

Grapevine's on-the-spot reporter emailed to say that at first it looked like a very slight impact, but Power, when asked by the referee to play on, demanded an injury break. "Why?" asked the referee. "Because I can't see," came the reply from Power, although using slightly more colourful language.

After initially being given an hour to recover, Power finally reached agreement to continue the match after the conclusion of the two contests that were due to follow on from his and Lincou's.

So, after waiting for David Palmer to remove the willing Sheffield star Nick Matthew, and for adopted Yorkshireman Anthony Ricketts to stun Nottingham's John White in three games, Power and Lincou returned to the court with Lincou leading the fourth game 9-4.

The Frenchman continued to push ahead and took the fourth game 15-10 and surged forward from 7-7 in the fifth, aided by several Power errors, to claim his second victory over the Canadian crowd favourite on American soil.

Now Lincou meets top seed Peter Nicol, who had to weather a ferocious storm from Canada's Graham Ryding to win 3-2. Nicol surrendered the opening two games in roughly an hour's play, but took the next three in less than 30 minutes as Ryding's efforts took their toll.

Palmer meets Ricketts in what will surely be an explosive all-Australian battle of power play.

As for Power, losing one major tournament because of an eye injury is unfortunate. To do so twice is careless. He was playing sublime squash in the opening two games and wasted match ball in the third. It's time he and his business partners invested in some JP Dominator eyeguards.

PETER NICOL: "Graham was up two games going into the third and when he relaxed just a bit, I knew that was my opening. I lost the first two games because I lacked length and speed."

ANTHONY RICKETTS: "I've lost a few matches because of my lack of patience, so I'm glad to see my efforts paying off here at the US Open."

DAVID PALMER: "Nick's in good form, but without trying to get ahead of myself, taking both matches to date in just three is always a good thing."

Palmer is now just two victories away from becoming the first player in history to retain the US Open title.
Sun 14 Sep
Control the T and you control the match. That's just what Nick Matthew and Graham Ryding managed to achieve in the first round of the US Open as they removed two of the top seeds in a real Boston T-party.

Ryding beat Egypt's seventh seed Karim Darwish and the eighth-seeded Malaysian Ong Beng Hee fell to Matthew as the young Yorkshireman continued his early-season run of excellent form on the opening day at the Symphony Hall in Boston.

Matthew, the world No.24 from Sheffield, is clearly being motivated by an upturn in form by his beloved Sheffield Wednesday football team. He pulled off one of the best wins of his career when he beat Beng Hee, the former world junior champion now ranked eight in the world, 15-11 15-12 17-15 in 93 minutes.

Matthew, aged 23 and the seventh-placed Englishman in the world rankings, is clearly marking his cards for a place in the national squad for October's World Team Championships. This first-time appearance in the last eight of the US Open follows Matthew's triumph in his hometown in June, when he also defied the seedings to reach the quarter-finals of the Prince English Open.

Matthew now faces No.2 seed David Palmer, the Australian seeking to become the first player to retain the US Open title. Palmer beat Finnish qualifier Olli Tuominen 15-9 15-9 15-13.

Canada's world No.19 Ryding is arguably enjoying his best run of form for four years since reaching a career-high world top ten ranking. Ryding, from Toronto, had to fight back from 2-1 down to topple Darwish 15-10 3-15 7-15 15-11 15-5 to earn his place in the quarter-finals where will meet top seed Peter Nicol.

The English favourite is on course to become the first player to win the title four times after beating compatriot Lee Beachill 6-15 17-15 15-11 15-5 in what he conceded wasn't a pretty win. "I was a bit nervous and struggled when Lee buried balls in the corner, but I knew if I stepped up my physical game I could take him," explained the world No1.

Canada's twice US Open champion Jonathon Power, the fourth seed, exhibited good length and moved well throughout his 51-minute match against Joseph Kneipp before claiming his 15-8, 15-8, 15-7 win over the Australian. "I played solid and didn't have too many mental lapses. I feel good," said Power.

The world No.4 from Montreal now faces fifth seed Thierry Lincou. Impending fatherhood seems to be agreeing with the Frenchman, who defeated Egypt's world No.12 Amr Shabana 15-13 15-6 15-8. "I knew it might be a difficult match, so I figured if I could start strong with a couple of good volleys I might take it," said Lincou after the match.

The other quarter-final match will be a repeat of the English Open clash at the same stage between Scotland's third seed John White and Australia's sixth seed Anthony Ricketts. White ended English qualifier Adrian Grant's run in a 15-11, 15-14, 15-12 defeat while Ricketts needed four games to overcome Scotland's supremely talented Martin Heath 15-14, 10-15, 15-11, 15-12.

Squash is on a terrific upswing in the United States. At professional level, the US hosts two of the world's major events, the Tournament of Champions at New York's Grand Central Terminal and the US Open, which is currently in full swing for a second year at the world-famous Boston Symphony Hall.

At the recent Pan-Am Games in the Dominican Republic, Latasha Khan of Seattle won the US's first-ever individual gold medal and led her team to its first team gold medal, while Preston Quick of Denver won the first US bronze medal in the men's individual competition.

There are more junior members than ever before in the nearly 100-year history of the association; university squash court construction has recently gone through an unprecedented boom. Squash has been successfully supporting hundreds of at-risk children by combining squash with education in five national urban locations.

Squashbusters (, the first and best-known of these, is the Boston-based non-profit organisation that, in addition to providing squash instruction, engages its students deeply in the learning process and teaches them to take responsibility for their choices.

The United States Squash Racquets Association (USSRA), looking to capitalize on a number of recent groundbreaking achievements, has a new CEO in Palmer Page, 53.

The USSRA, under Page's new stewardship, intends to further develop its vision to focus on family activities, to tackle national issues like obesity and fitness, and to expand thriving after-school programs like Squashbusters, Street Squash (New York), City Squash (New York) and Squash Smarts (Philadelphia).

Sat 13 Sep
England's Simon Parke, four-times a finalist and a delebrated champion in 1999, crashed out at the final qualifying stage of the US Open in Boston.

The former world No3, fighting back to the top of his game following ankle surgery, looked awesome for the first 23 minutes of his match against fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew. However, the 31-year-old ran out of steam over the next 43 minutes as the rapidly-improving Matthew, aged 23 from Sheffield, took control of the encounter to register an 11-15 15-7 15-9 15-8 victory.

It was a sad exit for Parke, who beat both Peter Nicol and Jonathon Power to clinch the title four years ago, then reached his fourth final the following year. World No24 Matthew, whose US Open breakthrough follows his triumph in reaching the last eight of the English Open in June, meets Malaysia's No.8 seed Ong Beng Hee in the first round.

It took two hours and five minutes for Adrian Grant to become the second Englishman to claim a place in the main draw with a 15-8 15-10 13-15 17-15
victory over Canada's Shahier Razik. Grant, also based in Yorkshire, takes on Scotland's third seed John White in the first round.

There was further evidence of youth triumphing over experience when flying Finn Olli Tuominen overcame England's 31-year-old Mark Chaloner in a
qualifying finals upset. Tuominen, 24, from Helsinki, won 15-8 15-11 15-12 to earn a first round clash with Australia's defending champion David

North American representation in the event was doubled when Graham Ryding clinched a 15-9 8-15 15-11 15-8 win over Australia's Paul Price to join
fellow Canadian Jonathon Power in the main draw. Ryding, from Toronto, is drawn to face Egypt's 7th seed Karim Darwish.

England's world No1 Peter Nicol, who is seeded to become the first player in history to win the US Open title for a fourth time, faces fellow countryman
Lee Beachill in today's first round. The action takes place at the Boston Symphony Hall - twelve months after the Open became the first-ever sporting event to be staged at the world-famous 101-year-old concert hall.


Indian teenage star Saurav Ghosal finally met his match in the final of the Country View Squash Open in Kuala Lumpur when he went down in straight games to Australia's top seed Mike Corren.
Ghosal, a 17-year-old junior from Chennai in India, was making his professional debut on the PSA Tour. After qualifying, the youngster swept past 4th seed Marcus Yeap, 5th seed Timothy Arnold and then No2 seed Kenneth Low to take his unexpected place in the final.
Corren, ranked 49 in the world - more than 200 places above his opponent who is listed at the very bottom of the Dunlop PSA World Rankings - overcame a nervous start, in which he squeezed the opening game by a single point, before ultimately securing his 15-14 15-6 15-10 victory in 42 minutes.

Originally from Adelaide, 29-year-old Corren is now based in the Malaysian capital and celebrating his 7th PSA Tour title in 11 final appearances.


The PSA has welcomed the creation of a new men's tournament series in the USA announced by Event Engine, Inc., the leading promoter of professional squash in North America. The series is seeking to capitalise on the expansion of professional squash events in the USA and on projections for future growth of the indoor racquet and ball sport.

The 2003/04 US Pro Squash Tour will feature six stops between September and April and offer a total of US$220,000 in prize money. Competition will feature players from the top 30 in the world rankings, as determined by the PSA, and each event will be a sanctioned PSA World Tour event. The men's World Tour features more than 40 tournaments in 20 countries and offers $1.5 million in prize money.

The premier stops on the US Tour, the US Open in Boston's Symphony Hall and the Tournament of Champions in New York City's Grand Central Terminal, will feature play on a four-sided glass court set up temporarily for competition. These two "top ten" World Tour events will attract all the world's best male players, while the remaining US stops, the Volvo Motor City Open, Marsh & McLennan Apawamis Open, EBS Dayton Open and Windy City Open, will draw a wider range of players. The Windy City event in Chicago will also be played on a portable court.

Tour Commissioner John Nimick, President of Event Engine, Inc., outlines the strategy behind the launch: "Squash is a very popular international sport and has a high quality participant base of about 300,000 regular players over here in America. The US Pro Tour will present top-level competition in an organised, easy-to-follow fashion while introducing these incredible athletes and the sport to new audiences.

"At the heart of our Tour will be the goal of using hi-tech, see-through portable courts wherever possible," Nimick added. "Each year, tens of thousands of people get introduced to squash simply by walking past the New York event. The game is compelling. Squash remains the first and only world class sporting competition to be hosted by venues like Symphony Hall and Grand Central. We expect US Tour events to replicate that experience in new markets, thereby increasing awareness of squash and building value for sponsors."

Gawain Briars, Executive Director of the PSA, said: "As with sub-set tours in other regions of the PSA World Tour, I am very pleased to see this latest development of Event Engine, Inc, in gathering together the more lucrative and prestigious tournaments on the North American sector of the PSA World Tour to form a cohesive platform to exploit further marketing and sponsorship opportunities whilst presenting the world's best players in more identifiable groupings.

"John Nimick and his team continually seek new and dynamic ways of showcasing professional squash and PSA welcomes this latest initiative but which also importantly includes his fellow promoters who present the balance of PSA events included in this US Pro Squash Tour. It remains my belief that initiatives like this can only act as a catalyst in increasing the chances of spreading the fire and optimism of our great game throughout America," Briars explained.


World No.1 Peter Nicol will be launching England Squash's
National Squash Week live on Blue Peter on Monday September 22 at 5pm. The BBC1 programme will also feature the launch of Mini Squash, with Nicol on hand to give some of the Blue Peter presenters some useful tips on the game.


The Australian Institute of Sport today announced the appointment of Byron Davis as a member of its AIS squash coaching staff.

Davis, who is the High Performance Coach of South Australian Squash, will work alongside former world champion Geoff Hunt, who continues his lead role in the AIS Squash Program.

Davis is a former AIS athlete who's highest PSA World Ranking was 14 back in 1998. He won a silver medal for Australia in doubles at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

AIS Director Michael Scott said Davis vast experience as a former international player and coach would prove invaluable to the program.

'We're thrilled to have someone of Byron's ability working alongside Geoff Hunt and Rodney Martin to help achieve the goals of the AIS Squash Program,' Mr Scott said.

'Geoff will continue to oversee the strategic technical direction of the program as well as be a mentor coach to Byron and former world squash champion Rodney Martin who rounds off an excellent coaching staff'.

'The reality is that to be internationally competitive in the fierce world of sport, athletes must have a high level of service. The AIS continues to deliver world best practices across all areas and disciplines, including having the best coaches.'

Squash Australia also welcomed the appointment of Davis. 'Byron will prove to be a great asset to the AIS Squash Program and Australian Squash in general,' said Norman Fry, the Chief Executive Officer of Squash Australia.

The AIS Squash Program began in 1985 and has produced world champions such as Rodney Martin, Rodney Eyles, and Michelle Martin.

This week's missive from NZ Squash chief exec Peter Fergusson contains some
Inspiration for the Masters amongst us ...

"Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born."

Other items included in this week's "Friday Fibs" include ...

  • New Zealand National Champs ... what a week
  • National Award Winners
  • The Sneyd and Sharplin Factor
  • National Events 2004 - Districts
  • 2004 New Zealand Secondary Schools Squash Championships
  • British Open Crown to head South?
  • New Zealand Junior Nationals
  • National Graded Teams Events
  • Squash Eastern Snippets...
  • Do you need a Microcourt...
  • World Squash Day 2004
  • Otago Squash Teams Crowned South Island Champions

Check out the full details

Fri 12 Sep

David Palmer is back in Boston and keen to make history. The Australian, who won the US Open last year when it was staged for the first time inside the Boston Symphony Hall, is aiming to become the first player to win it twice in succession since it switched from hardball to a softball tournament.

Australia's second seed Palmer says he's confident of defending the title when he opens his campaign in the $52,500 tournament in Boston on Saturday.

World champion Palmer faces a qualifier in the opening round and if he reaches the final is seeded to face world No.1 and three-times champion Peter Nicol on September 16. The world No.2 defeated the Englishman in the semi-finals last year on his way to his first US Open title.

Palmer, from Lithgow in New South Wales, says that he is fully recovered from the March appendix operation and its resultant complications that sidelined him for several months, and is eager to defend his crown.

"It was a long road back but I am now back to training fully again and I am going into the US Open as defending champion and feel I have a very good chance of reclaiming it," said Palmer, who beat the currently-injured Australian Stewart Boswell in last year's final.

"I will be just taking one match at a time but it would be very satisfying and a confidence booster if I were to win the Open," said the Belgium-based Aussie.

"After playing the English Open last month and coming out of it injury and pain free was the main thing. Reaching the semi-finals with no match practice under the belt was a good result and I feel I am on my way back to where I was before the operation."

Palmer believes his hardest match would be against Scotland's third seed John White, whom he has beaten in their past five clashes since 2001, albeit four of them in five games.

"He is the in-form player at the moment, having won both the PSA Masters and English Open titles," Palmer pointed out. "Retaining the No.1 ranking is still one of my goals for the year and it's possible if I win the US and British Opens that I would go to No1."

HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: Jahangir Khan of Pakistan boasts two US Open titles (85 & 88), fellow countryman Jansher Khan three (87, 90 & 95), Rodney Martin of Australia two (89 & 91), Rodney Eyles, also of Australia, two (93 & 96), Peter Nicol three (94, 98 & 01) and Canada's Jonathon Power two (97 & 00). Although the US Open was first held in 1954, it only became a softball event in 1985, in the process attracting the world's leading players.


Highlights of the Prince English Open are being screened on Sky this weekend. Full schedule

English Open


Saurav Ghosal, a 17-year-old from Chennai in India, reached the final of a PSA Tour event in his international professional circuit debut.

After fighting through the qualifiers of the Country View Squash Open in Kuala Lumpur, the teenager swept past the fourth and fifth seeds from Malaysia, before coming up against the No2 seed Kenneth Low, Malaysia's third highest-ranked player in the world.

Showing little evidence of his 257 world ranking - at the very base of the Dunlop PSA list - Ghosal battled bravely against his experienced opponent, ranked 145 places higher, and eventually beat Low 15-11 6-15 15-14 17-16 to claim his historic place in the final.

Ghosal's opponent will be Kuala-Lumpur based Australian Mike Corren, the top seed who comfortably overcame unseeded Indian Gaurav Nandrajog 15-8 15-4 15-9 in the other semi-final.

Thu 11 Sep
Tania Bailey has been told she needs to learn how to breathe before she can walk out on a squash court again, reports Peterborough Now.

The former world No.4 has suffered a nightmare eight months and has been forced to pull out of next month's British Open. The Stamford star's woes began when she contracted a mystery virus in December and since then she has hardly set foot on a court and has seen her world ranking plummet.

But having been to see 10 doctors, undergone 12 blood tests and several scans her problems have been put down to her inability to breathe properly. Bailey has just undergone an operation on her nose at Nuffield Hospital near Cambridge to clear her nasal passages and hopes to be back playing within a month, once she has undergone breathing rehabilitation.

"That last eight months have been a nightmare," said Bailey. "In all that time I have never managed to feel any better or anyone tell me exactly why I was feeling like I was. But now the specialists have put it down to the fact I can't breathe through my nose. I have not been able to since I was about 15.

"I have scar tissue which is blocking my nostrils and I have been breathing through my mouth. Also I was told my breathing was too shallow, so I don't get enough oxygen into my lungs and that I use my chest muscles instead of my stomach muscles to breathe. So now I have to start breathing rehab and learn to breathe properly, but hopefully it will mean the end of my problems.

"I am desperate to get back on court and get back to where I was. At the time I was playing the best squash of my career, but have now lost eight months and it will take time to get back to where I was. But I am still young and hopefully I have five or six injury-free years ahead of me."

Bailey has targeted the Weymuller US Open in mid-October as a possible return date.


The Australian Institute of Sport has announced the appointment of Byron Davis as a member of its AIS squash coaching staff. Davis, who is the High Performance Coach of South Australian Squash, will work alongside former world champion Geoff Hunt, who continues his lead role in the AIS Squash Program.

Davis is a former AIS athlete who's highest PSA World Ranking was 14 back in 1998. He won a silver medal for Australia in doubles at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. AIS Director Michael Scott said Davis' vast experience as a former international player and coach would prove invaluable to the program.

"We're thrilled to have someone of Byron's ability working alongside Geoff Hunt and Rodney Martin to help achieve the goals of the AIS Squash Program," Mr Scott said. "Geoff will continue to oversee the strategic technical direction of the program as well as be a mentor coach to Byron and former world squash champion Rodney Martin who rounds off an excellent coaching staff.

"The reality is that to be internationally competitive in the fierce world of sport, athletes must have a high level of service. The AIS continues to deliver world best practices across all areas and disciplines, including having the best coaches."

Squash Australia also welcomed the appointment of Davis. "Byron will prove to be a great asset to the AIS Squash Program and Australian Squash in general," said Norman Fry, the Chief Executive Officer of Squash Australia.

The AIS Squash Program began in 1985 and has produced world champions such as Rodney Martin, Rodney Eyles, and Michelle Martin. The Federal Government, through the Australian Sports Commission, funds the AIS Squash Program.

Ponder, if you will, to remember
those we lost who live on in our hearts

The pain never dies but
the memories grow sweeter

The smiling faces that will never fade

Taken by evil but surrounded by love

They will never leave us



United States Squash RacKets Association President Ken Stillman has announced that Palmer Page has been named the Association's new Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. Page will lead the effort to fulfill the USSRA's mission to promote and develop the growth of squash.

Page, 53, will oversee all aspects of USSRA operations including focusing on elite players and the US international squash teams, growth of membership, membership services, fund raising, new technology initiatives, and the support and further development of the emerging multicultural community youth enrichment initiatives of organizations such as Squashbusters, Street and City Squash and SquashSmarts.


There was an Indian takeover in today's first day action in the Country View Squash Open in Malaysia when two unseeded Indians each took out a pair of local players to reach the semi-finals in Kuala Lumpur.

Teenager Saurav Ghosal, a qualifier, caused the biggest upset in the first round when he beat fourth-seeded Malaysian Marcus Yeap 15-13 15-2 13-15 15-7, then continued his giant-killing run in the quarter-finals with a 15-4 15-9 15-6 victory over Timothy Arnold, also a local player.

Ghosal now faces a third Malaysian Kenneth Low, the second seed who had to fight back from 2-1 down to squeeze a narrow 16-17 15-13 5-15 15-10 15-13 win over Egyptian Sherif Kamel - to become the only local player through to the last four.

Meanwhile, India's unseeded Gaurav Nandrajog upset 8th seed Nafzahizam Adnan 15-8 15-9 15-6 in the first round, then went on to conquer Kelvin Ho, the 3rd seed, 17-16 17-14 15-13. Nandrajog now meets Australia's top seed Mike Corren, who secured his second successive straight games win of the day with a 15-10 15-10 15-5 win over Egypt's Ahmed Hamza.

Wed 10 Sep

MILITANT Kent squash players have forced their local council to rethink plans to remove squash courts from designs to rebuild a leisure centre.

The Crook Log Centre, in Bexleyheath, had already halved the number of courts from four to two and infuriated regular players when new designs revealed that there would be none at all.

The News Shopper reports:

A RETHINK has been promised by the council after furious squash players discovered they had been designed out of the new Bexleyheath sports centre.

Regular players at the Crook Log centre were astonished to be told there was no room at the proposed new centre for any squash courts.

The new centre is one of three being built as part of a Public Private Partnership deal with Parkwood Leisure.

A council spokesman said squash courts were included in original plans but it had been decided to use the space for aerobics and dance.

He said: "Both are very popular and aerobics and dance classes involve up to 40 people, while only two use the same amount of space to play squash."

But after hearing from the News Shopper about the strength of feeling among the players, the council told the paper: "We have decided to sit down again with the consortium and have another look at provision for squash and the position right across the borough."

Squash player Steve Floodgate said: "Where will this end? A sports centre with no sports, just a building for those who can afford to use a cycle machine while watching MTV?"

Fellow player David Wilson said the council had told players demand for the sport was falling but the number of courts at Crook Log had already halved to two, making it almost impossible to book.

He said: "The council should be honest and admit the squash courts are not as profitable as a room full of fitness equipment."

Thanks to Howard Harding for spotting the article.

A new men's tournament series has been launched in the USA by John Nimick and his Event Engine company.

The 2003-04 U.S. Pro Squash Tour will feature six stops between September and April and offer a total of $220,000 USD in prize money. Competition will feature players from the top 30 in the PSA world rankings, and each event will be a PSA World Tour event. The men's World Tour features 40-plus tournaments in 20 countries and offers $1.5 million in prize money.

The premier stops on the U.S. Tour, the U.S. Open in Boston's Symphony Hall and the Tournament of Champions in New York City's Grand Central Terminal, will feature play on a four sided glass court set up temporarily for competition.

These two 'top ten' World Tour events will attract all the world's best male players, while the remaining U.S. stops, Volvo Motor City Open, Marsh & McLennan Apawamis Open, EBS Dayton Open and Windy City Open, will draw a wider range of players. The Chicago stop will also be played on a portable court.

Tour Commissioner John Nimick, President of Event Engine, Inc., outlines the strategy behind the launch: "Squash is a very popular international sport and has a high quality participant base of about 300,000 regular players over here in America. The U.S. Pro Tour will present top level competition in an organized, easy-to-follow fashion while introducing these incredible athletes and the sport to new audiences. At the heart of our Tour will be the goal of using hi-tech, seethrough portable courts wherever possible. Each year, tens of thousands of people get introduced to squash simply by walking past the New York event.

"The game is compelling. Squash remains the first and only world class sporting competition to be hosted by venues like Symphony Hall and Grand Central. We expect U.S. Tour events to replicate that experience in new markets thereby increasing awareness of squash and building value for sponsors."

The first sponsor affiliated with the Tour is the U.S.-based Squash Magazine. Prize money earnings will be calculated from Tour events to produce an annual U.S. Pro Tour ranking. The Tour plans to add events and create a season-ending championship in 2005.
Tue 09 Sep

World No.4 Jonathon Power is cranking up his workload as the new season gets under way, and is mounting a bid to win two PSA Tour titles within five days in the USA.

He is still smarting from losing the English Open to John White in controversial circumstances and is keen to reinforce his reputation as North America's most successful squash player of all-time.

The former world champion from Montreal in Canada, eager to regain the world No.1 ranking he first achieved in May 1999, will be aiming to win his third US Open title this month at the Symphony Hall in Boston - and five days later lift the Motor City Open trophy in Detroit.

Power, often dubbed the McEnroe of squash, is seeded to face long-time rival Peter Nicol in the US Open semi-finals. Victory would not only extend the Canadian's head-to-head tally over the world No1 from England to 18-16, but also take him into his sixth US Open final since 1997.

The following day (Wednesday September 17), top seed Power begins his assault on the Motor City Open title with a first round match against a qualifier. He is expected to reach the final three days later, when his anticipated opponent would be No2 seed Thierry Lincou, the Frenchman ranked one place lower in the world who beat him in the ToC in New York back in February, the Frenchman's first victory over the Canadian maestro.

"First and foremost, Jonathon really wants to help grow squash in North America," said Power's manager Jason Matthison. "He really feels that the North American squash market has a lot of growth potential for the future of squash and being in his backyard wants to help out in anyway possible.

"They have a good tournament in Detroit and there have been talks of eventually getting it to a 4 or 5 star level. Due specifically to Jonathon's involvement this year, they have now bumped it up to 3 stars.

"The timing could have been a little bit better," Matthison conceded. "But in the end, winning two tournaments within five days would be a great achievement and something he is now gunning for."

Power has no plans to rest on his laurels after his US title bids. The 29-year-old heads straight for Nottingham in England where he competes in the British Open from October 1-5. The 1999 champion is the fourth seed.

Power will want to erase the
memory of the end of the
English Open final ...

JP's upcoming events

Mon 08 Sep

Good to see life in the old dog as Glen Wilson reclaimed the New Zealand National Championship - after a 12-year wait! Wilson, who recently returned to NZ after coaching for several years at Lambs Club in London, collected his third NZ title by beating the defending champion, Daniel Sharplin, 9-1, 9-4, 9-1.

The margin of the scoreline shows just how well Glen is playing these days. His gold medal with Leilani Rorani at last year's Commonwealth Games was a career highlight and you wondered just how much he could have achieved in the pro game but for injuries.


Carol Owens claimed the women's title in Auckland and now has her sight set on a first British Open title next month.

Owens, who is unbeaten since November, is determined to fill the glaring gap in her trophy cabinet. The world No.1 collected her second New Zealand National title, dropping just 11 points in five matches and beating fellow Aucklander Shelley Kitchen 9-1, 9-1, 9-2 in the final.

Now the 2000 World Open champion, with 25 titles to her name from 47 finals, wants to add the one that's missing ... the British Open.

"For every squash player it is the one title they want to win," Owens told a New Zealand website ( "If I can walk away from the sport saying that I have won a British Open I will be very happy."

Having challenged for it "nine or 10 times" Owens' best result was in 2001 when she finished runner-up to Sarah Fitz-Gerald in Birmingham. This year she is top seed and favourite to bring another title to New Zealand, adding to the eight victories by Susan Devoy and two by Leilani Rorani. 

"At the moment it is really just staying on the top of my game and keeping my confidence up by training hard and knowing that when I do get to the British Open I know that if I have done the work I will win.

"It is a mental game as much as a physical game I think it is the mental side you have to work on more than the physical side. Just telling yourself that you are good enough to win."

Following the retirement of Fitz-Gerald in January, Owens was elevated to world No 1 in March, and apart from a one-month blip due to the vagaries of the WISPA ranking system when she was overtaken by Natalie Grainger, has been solidly in the top position since.

Owens and Fitz-Gerald's rivalry was fierce, especially after Owens moved to New Zealand six years ago and opted to change her green and gold uniform for a black one. "I had the odd win over her but overall she had it over everyone really," she admitted.

As for bowing out herself, Owens admits it has crossed her mind but with an event in New York and then the Qatar Classic and World Open in Hong Kong in December already planned, chances are it won't be this year.

"While you are enjoying and you are winning, I guess you continue but it does get harder as you get older, I must admit.

"It was pretty awesome [getting to number one] but it was also disappointing having Sarah retire. For so long she was the one to chase now I am the person being chased and it is just a whole new ball game. But I guess it is just my time - I am a lot older than the rest of them that are under me. I should be at the top, I am the master," she laughed.

The Grapevine campaign that all squash players should be encouraged to avoid gardening, housework and all kinds of DIY maintenance in a bid to avoid injuries and back strains, received support from a major insurance company today. Following the news that a 64-year-old Kent man was taken to hospital by the Kent Air Ambulance after falling from a scaffolding, the Grapevine team spotted the following news item:

"A survey by insurance firm AXA found one in 10 people taking part in DIY ended up in hospital being treated for injuries."

As someone who is definitely injury-prone in these areas, that's proof enough for me.
Sat 06 Sep

From Egypt, the Al-Ahram Weekly news reveals the part Fiona Geaves played in the build-up of the all-conquering Egyptian junior squad which carried all before them in the recent World Junior Team Championships in Cairo. The report also highlighted the work being done on a part-time basis by former world champion Michelle Martin with the Australian junior girls.

A week after clinching the world individual title, Egypt's women's junior squash team added the World Team title to their record. Inas Mazhar was at the Cairo Stadium watching the play. The Egyptians outclassed third seeds Australia 3-0 in the final of the 15-day event at Cairo Stadium's indoor complex.

The top seeded Egyptian team needed 70 minutes to knock down their opponents 3-0 and win the world title.Sara Badr, runner-up of the individual championship, opened the account for Egypt taking only 39 minutes to beat Donna Urquhart 3-0 (9-6, 9-6, 9-4), to give her country a 1-0 lead before Omneya Abdel- Qawi clinched the title with a 24-minute whitewash. Individual champion Abdel-Qawi sealed a historic team championship for hosts Egypt with a crushing 3-0 win over Australia's Kasey Brown. Brown was seeded two in the individuals, and had beaten European junior champion Susie Pierrepont 3-2 the day before to give Australia a place in the final, ahead of defending champions England.

Abdel-Qawi overpowered Brown 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 in just 24 minutes without conceding any point, and confirming Egypt's win of the world trophy.Despite the guaranteed win, the third match had to be played -- but a best of three rather than five. In just 11 minutes, Raneem El-Weileili finished the job off with a 9-0, 9-2 win over Georgina Davis in the dead rubber.

Head coach of the Egyptian women's juniors team Ahmed Taher, said that the team deserved the double win of the individual and world team titles. "We have been preparing for this event for two years," Taher said. "Right after the last World Juniors Championships in Malaysia in 2001 where we were runner-ups. We went through a lot of tournaments the last two years, winning the British juniors Open -- the biggest tournament for the juniors -- three out of four times. We also won the French, German and African juniors championships for four years in a row." The head coach, a former national and international champion, said that "serious" training had started 13 months before the beginning of the championship.

"We started focusing intensely 13 months ago," Taher said. "The plan comprised participating in international events in addition to three intensive training camps. The first was in Sharm El-Sheikh for 13 days, where we invited two senior international players to play with the juniors. "The second camp took place in Alexandria for nine days, which was very hard; we trained six hours a day for two sessions.

The third was held in Cairo and we invited the experienced Fiona Geaves to train with the girls for 17 days. It was beneficial in every way, for their physical conditioning too. All this training is why there is now a big gap between our players and the others," Taher explained of his team's stellar play. The future of the Egyptian team in the coming world championship is not something Taher now worries about.

Taher said he is 90 per cent prepared for the next championships in two years. "Though we'll be losing the efforts of 18-year-old Omneya Abdel-Qawi who'll be over the age by 2005, we have three other players from this team who will continue playing in the juniors championship," Taher said. "That's how it is in sports - young players grow up and are replaced by others. I have three young players who have already reached the semifinals in this championship, Sara Badr, Raneem El- Weileili and Nihal Yehia, so these three can play in 2005 and I can say that they are prepared to win in 2005.

"On the other hand, former world number one and head coach of the Australian team Michelle Martin said that the Egyptian team was playing exceptionally that day. "They've got a lot of talent. Besides, they were playing at home court, had no fault in serves. These girls played exceptionally well. Their achievement is great for Egyptian squash," Martin said. One of the big names in the history of squash, Martin - recently retired as a player - had taken over as head coach of the Australian team shortly before the championship.

"I'm not a full-time coach, we don't have that in Australia," she said. "Some of these girls didn't have coaches for a long time, so it's great that we reached the finals. But the Egyptians were very strong. We had a long way to go today but it didn't go our way and it wasn't our day," Martin said.

From the Pakistan Daily Times

News reaches the Grapevine from Islamabad that the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has arranged sponsorships for the top 30 squash players in the country and recruited them with different national departments to solve their financial concerns. PSF senior vice president Rashid Kalim revealed the news to journalists earlier this week.

He said the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Mari Gas Company (MGC), Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Pakistan Railways, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) had ensured the sponsorship to the players and formally recruited them.

The players are Mansoor Zaman, Shahid Zaman and Arshad Iqbal Burki (PIA), Zubair Ali Khan, Khalid Atlas, Asghar Khan and Majed Hussain (Army), Naveed Atlas, Safeerullah Khan and Farhan Mehboob (PAF), Farrukh Zaman, Khayal Muhammad, Saeed Hasan and Shah Nawaz (MGC), Yasir Butt, Rizwan Ahmed, Aqib Hanif, Alamzeb Junior and Amir Atlas (PSO), Faisal Sarwar, Muhammad Naveed, Adeel Hanif and Salahuddin (Railways), Majid Khan, Basit Ashfaq and Waseem Shad (CAA), Asghar Khan, Zahid Naseer, Ali Ayub and Attiqur Rehman (HEC).

All the players will participate in the annual national championships under the flag of their relevant departments. Meanwhile, the PSF has also succeeded in striking a deal with the PIA for free travel. The national air carrier will sponsor the tickets and other travel expenditures of all the members of the Pakistan team for its international commitments.

It is an interesting development and one wonders how many other national federations will follow suit to support their emerging professionals.
Fri 05 Sep

An Early Edition of 'Friday's Fibs' from Peter Fergusson

The New Zealand National Championships start Friday (5 September) concluding Tuesday (9 September) - hence this newsletter goes out a day early to allow 'all hands to be on deck' at the National Squash Centre for the next 5 days.

The National Office phones will be manned (by Jan Lewis) for general inquiries - the remaining bodies (including myself) will be shoulder deep in the tournament operations...although all contactable by cell phone.

If by chance you manage to visit the National Squash Centre over the tournament - please make yourself known to file of known faces is still growing.

Friday's Fibs - Goes Global Fantastic International Squash website has adopted Friday's Fibs Newsletter as a regular weekly feature in their 'Grapevine' column (news from around the world).

Over the past months the newsletter has 'grown legs' and is now being forwarded directly to several thousand squash people nationwide, a large and growing contingent of overseas Kiwis, and now the opportunity in conjunction with  to touch a worldwide audience, providing an insight into New Zealand's progress, successes and interesting stories.

Masters Update
Amongst highly competitive fields at the World Masters in Helsinki (Finland) the New Zealand players had some good wins. Silver medals were won by Barry Gardiner (Canterbury - 65+) and Maurice Peters (Auckland - 70+) and Kerrin
Webster (Canterbury - 35+) won the plate.

There were around 75 entries in each of the men's 40+, 45+ & 50+ grades and 53 entries in the 55+. Tony Naughton (Wellington - 50+) and Ian Gunthorp (Auckland - 55+) went to the quarter finals. Ed Post (Canterbury - 40+), John Wolyncewicz (Wellington - 45+), Lawrence Skurr (Canterbury - 50+), Ray Foster (Wanganui - 55+) and Trevor Coulter (Waikato - 65+) all had wins before becoming tourists. The group's unofficial manager, Gower Dallimore,
was in fine form and at last sighting -had a big smile on his face.

Squash Wellington Snippets...
Wellington completed some unfinished business by handsomely winning the Junior Triangular tournament from Bay of Plenty and Central Districts at Ohakune recently.

When the event began last year, Wellington led going into the last day, but were overtaken by Bay of Plenty. There were no such mistakes this time. Wellington led by eight matches before the final round and kept the pressure
on, eventually totaling 46 victories.

Remarkably, all 18 players in the Wellington team, whose ages ranged from eight to 18, won at least one match.

Two players - Jess Wilson (under-17 and under-19) and Ali Romanos (under-15) went through the weekend without defeat. Jess Wilson was in particularly good form winning all her under-17 matches and twice pressed into service for the under-19 grade where she won both matches.

New Zealand National Championships
A warm welcome to all players, teams, coaches, managers, officials and supporters to the 2003 New Zealand National Championships

This is set to be a fantastic showcase for our sport, the National Squash Centre and the increasing depth of Squash talent in New Zealand. The tournament is also the final event of the Squash New Zealand Senior Player
Series therefore we will not only celebrate the National Champions at the culmination of the Tournament but also the winners of the 2003 Senior Player Series - best of luck to all.

The event also presents an opportunity to acknowledge the enormous and unselfish efforts, support and hard work undertaken by so many key people within the Squash community. Additional highlights of the event will include the several National Awards (for Coaching, Refereeing and Most Improved Players) presented to people from around New Zealand who have been recognised by their respective Clubs and Districts for the contribution they make to Squash.

The New Zealand National Championships are planned to be hosted away from the National Squash Centre in following years - therefore it is also appropriate and opportune to formally acknowledge the significant work completed by the people 'behind the scenes'. The efforts of the Squash New Zealand Office (particularly Viv Brumby and Wayne Werder), Kreem Café (Stuart, Chris and staff), the support of the National Squash Centre Trust and, particularly, the voluntary support of Doug Flint and Kerry Torrie - the workload involved is immense and the efforts of these people irreplaceable - thank you.

A special note of thanks is also extended to all the sponsors - with particular mention of the Lion Foundation whose generosity extends beyond this tournament to their support of Squash New Zealand throughout this year.

More on the NZ Nationals

British Open
The British Open draw is finalized - Carol Owens is, as expected, top seed and Shelley Kitchen is the number one qualifier for the tournament...all the very best to both Carol and Shelley. We are all hopeful that Carol can add this elusive tournament to her growing collection of titles.

National Development Camp
Next week a National development camp will be in action at the National Squash Centre (no rest for the wicked). Response has been great but there are a few stragglers that need to confirm their attendance...ring Wayne or
Dave now.

Frano Botica - National Awards Dinner Speaker
This year we have been able to convince Frano Botica to speak at our National Awards Dinner. Frano has the unique honour of wearing 3 Black Jerseys in his sporting career - All Blacks, New Zealand League and New Zealand Sevens.

His International playing experience includes two years in Italy, six years with Wigan, two years in Wales for Llanelli, three years in France and two years for the Croatian International team.

His wealth of International sporting and business experiences, articulate banter and humour should be one of the highlights of the evening.

National Referees Workshop
The first ever National Referees Workshop was opened today and will coincide with the New Zealand National Championships. Not only will the Nationals benefit from having so many of our top Referees in one place at one time - the opportunity for them to plan, upskill and work through Refereeing issues is a significant bonus.

Referees are one of the less appreciated groups in all sports - that add enormous value to our game - it is with great respect, admiration and a large dollop of thanks that we welcome them to the National Referees Workshop and the New Zealand National Championships.


A new agreement between the World Squash Federation and Pakistan International Airline has enabled squash legend Jahangir Khan to become a high-speed global ambassador for the sport.

PIA has become the 'Official Airline Partner of the WSF' following the deal made between Jahangir, the President of the WSF, and Chaudry Ahmed Saeed, the Chairman of PIA.

In return for the endorsement, PIA will provide free airline tickets for Jahangir on any PIA sector in the world to enable him to continue his global travel in support of WSF business and the promotion of Squash.

Since the beginning of August, the record ten-times British Open champion has attended the World Masters in Finland; had a 'rest day' day in London; then flew to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for the Pan American Games; then jetted via London to the WSF Coaching Conference and Women's World Junior Championships in Cairo, Egypt.

"JK is an absolute legend in Squash and his presence at all these events makes it even more memorable for the players," said WSF Chief Executive Ted Wallbutton. "He has made the sacrifice of almost a month away from home to support WSF events and is certainly fulfilling his promise to put something back into Squash."

On the agreement with PIA, Jahangir commented: "I have a very busy schedule of travel for the WSF and the confidence of knowing that I will be able to travel on my national airline and also save the WSF valuable funds is a tremendous comfort.

"This is a first - and a very important deal for the WSF," Khan added.

An agreement has also been reached between Jahangir and the PIA Chairman regarding the PIA Jahangir Khan Squash Complex in Karachi, where Jahangir will now have the rights to run the complex for 25 years. He is intent on developing it from a top class Squash club into a modern, state of the art, squash and leisure club.


It was interesting (and rather painful) to watch the style of South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs as he hammered 183 runs against England on the first day of
the Test match at The Oval today. Looking at the stats, he scored those runs off 258 balls, with just 68 scoring strokes. He hit one six, 35 fours, one three, three twos and 28 singles. That meant he failed to score off 190 balls.

That shows immense concentration and the cricket phrase "wait for the bad ball to hit" applies just the same in squash. Instead of looking for a winner off every ball, squash players should learn to be patient and build a rally, working the ball deep and then waiting for the loose one to attack.

Kiwi Inspiration for the Week:

"Life is a journey...
taken one shot at a time."

Wilson back and
after third squash title


Auckland-based Wellingtonian Glen Wilson is seeking a third national squash title in what looms as probably his swansong at Auckland's Unitec courts from Friday.

After two victories in the early 1990s Wilson, 32, reached numerous finals without being able to finish off.

Wilson achieved a career high last year in winning the Commonwealth Games mixed doubles title with Leilani Rorani, and he maintained that form on his return from several years working in London.

He was the outstanding male player in the country till left hip and lower back injuries flared recently. However, after treatment he is optimistic he will have no further trouble.

The third seeded Wilson is scheduled to meet the No 2 seed, Pakistani Kashif Shuja, in the semifinals. Victory there would probably line him up against titleholder and top seed Daniel Sharplin, who has returned from his coaching job in Boston.

Wilson and Shuja have had some memorable scraps this year, having had two wins and losses apiece in tournament matches.

An added incentive is the naming on Sunday night of the men's team of four for the world championships in Vienna next month.

Though Shuja qualifies by residency to play in the nationals he does not have citizenship to play for New Zealand. He failed to secure an exemption, which would have made him eligible for Vienna. Wilson, Sharplin and the fourth seeded Callum O'Brien are strong candidates for selection, and without Shuja the fourth position is open.

Wellington's Tamsyn Leevey is seeded No 3 in the women's field, and Lara Petera is a notable absentee with tonsilitis.

More on the NZ Nationals


Thu 04 Sep

World number ones Peter Nicol and Carol Owens have been named as top seeds for the 2003 British Open Squash Championships, which will take place at the Albert Hall in Nottingham from October 1-5 following qualifying rounds at Nottingham Squash Club.

England's Peter Nicol, the defending champion, leads a strong British contingent in a high quality men's field which includes Scotland's Nottingham-based world No3 John White, the 3rd seed; England's twice British National champion Lee Beachill, the 7th seed; Scotland's world No14 Martin Heath; and England's world No15 Mark Chaloner.

Nicol, who famously 'defected' from Scotland two years ago, faces Scottish champion Heath on the state-of-the-art all-glass Albert Hall court in what is certain to be an emotionally-charged first round match. Success there could take him to a quarter-final against his Commonwealth Games Doubles gold-medal-winning partner Lee Beachill, the world No10 from Yorkshire.

The seeding predicts one of the sport's most sought-after clashes in the semi-finals: Nicol v Jonathon Power, the fourth-seeded Canadian and former world No1 who wrested the gold medal from Nicol in last year's Commonwealth Games final in Manchester.

World champion David Palmer is seeded to meet Nicol in the British Open final. The Australian, fighting back to full fitness after complications following appendix surgery, potentially faces tough opposition in the semi-finals, where he is scheduled to meet third seed John White. Palmer beat him in last year's World Open final but White is enjoying an excellent run of form with victories in the recent PSA Masters and Prince English Open.

New Zealand's Carol Owens has dominated women's squash since last November yet, despite winning six successive WISPA World Tour titles this year, has never before claimed a British Open trophy. The Auckland-based former Australian, runner-up in 2001, is likely to have to face Australia's Grinham family if she is to take her anticipated place in the final of a women's event which boasts all twelve of the world top twelve.

After a first round clash with a qualifier, Owens is due to face seventh seed Natalie Grinham in the quarter-finals, and her seeded opponent in the semi-finals would be Natalie's older sister Rachael, the third seed.

English interest in the women's event is led by fourth seed Linda Charman. The world No4 from Eastbourne faces compatriot Jenny Tranfield, the world No10 from Yorkshire, in the first round with the winner likely to meet five-times British National champion Cassie Jackman, the sixth seed from Norfolk.

Essex's eighth seed Rebecca Macree meets a qualifier in the opening round and would be expected to face No2 seed Natalie Grainger, from the USA, in the quarter-finals.

Full draws



The Dawn newspaper today reported that Pakistan have named a four-man squad for the World Team Championships in Vienna, Austria, from October 19-25.

Top ranked Mansoor Zaman, Farrukh Zaman, Majid Khan and Khayal Muhammad make the team that was announced by Air Marshal Raashid Kalim, the senior vice president of the Pakistan Squash Federation. "This is the best available team that has been selected purely on merit and I hope the boys would put in their best in the championship," Raashid said.

Farrukh, Majid and Khayal were chosen after a series of trials and tests that began in June this year. Top ranked Mansoor had been exempted from the initial trials as was Shahid Zaman, the Pakistan No 2, but he was dropped later because of a lack of form.

"Shahid was not fully fit and besides his performance in the recent CAS Championship in Peshawar was not good," Raashid pointed out. Shahid was eliminated in the first round of that competition.

Pakistan , who have won the World Team Championship six times, finished 11th in the last edition and are quietly hoping to do well this year.

Coach Rehmat Khan said he was confident his players would do well in the championship. The PSF followed a comprehensive selection plan that began with the initial trials in June, in which 12 players took part. Mansoor and Shahid were both given exemption.

This was followed by a training camp in Islamabad that was attended by Mansoor, Shahid, Farrukh, Majid, Khayal, Zubair Ali Khan, Arshad Iqbal Burki and Ejaz Azmat. Ejaz, however, left after receiving a coaching offer from Kuwait.

The PSF then organised two leagues, with Mansoor winning the first that was held between August 5-8 in Peshawar.

The second league, also declared as final trials ran from August 28 to September 2 in Islamabad. Mansoor did not have to take part because of his fine performance in the first league and the CAS International Championship. Farrukh took top place in the league and was followed by Majid, Khayal and Arshad.

The Hashim Khan National Junior Squash Championship starts today at the Pakistan Sports Complex with entries from 250 boys and girls.
Wed 03 Sep

The Motor City Open website is publishing an interesting daily news update. Yesterday’s item on England was fascinating, providing the Grapevine team with a historical and religious lesson as well as squash facts.

Country Trivia
England, Stephen Meads’ birthplace, has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century. It has the following religious make-up: Anglican and Roman Catholic 40 million, Muslim 1.5 million, Presbyterian 800,000, Methodist 760,000, Sikh 500,000, Hindu 500,000, Jewish 350,000

So presumably the missing 15 million or so are illegal immigrants or asylum seekers, who have avoided the census procedures.

The most intriguing element in the article was the definition of England as ‘Stephen Meads’ birthplace’, which at last accords him the right to stand alongside those kings, queens and politicians, not to mention military and religious leaders, who have carved out the nation’s identity since our little skirmish with Thierry Lincou’s descendants, led by William The Conqueror, back in 1066.

I am currently writing an alternative history of 1066 and, foolishly, had not thought to include Meadsy’s name in the project. Now it’s back to the keyboard to rewrite Chapter Three (The Robertsbridge Chip Shop Altercation), when William and his pals, who, my research proves, got into a bit if a scrap with a few village peasants while on their way to a darts match in the local pub. This chapter shows ho w Harold was killed by a dart hitting him in the eye (not an arrow). Darts is known historically as “a game of arrows” so it’s easy to see how this historical fact has been misinterpreted down the years.

Folk were a lot smaller back then, so, when the movie is being made, Meadsy would be ideally cast as an aggressive little peasant, arguing non-stop with the referees, sorry, sheriff’s men.


Hot on the heels of Marty Clark's squash injury survey, comes the news of a squash-playing dentist carrying out a similar investigation into facial injuries in the sport.

French student Robi Persic asks Grapevine readers to fill in the following survey and type in an “X” in the appropriate box.

Robi writes: “I do play squash myself, but I am only an amateur player and I play just for fun. Unfortunately I don't have the time for more.

”I am studying in Switzerland and this theme I got through my professor. He is an expert about dental traumatology and asked me wha t sort of sports I do. And when I told him that I play squash he asked if I am interested in doing this study. There is not much information about dental traumas at squash.”

Question 8 deals with the lifelong cost of a tooth lost in a squash incident. I was a bit baffled to begin with so I asked Robi to explain. He adds: “Question 8: how much do you think that it costs if you lose a tooth? You have got two possibilities: to save the tooth and put it back or to replace the tooth by an implant. In later years, eventually you may require new work. The question is about the costs from the moment of the accident until you die. It's a difficult question and hard to explain in one sentence, I know.

”I am looking forward to receiving answers from your readers and I just wanted to thank you again for the time you take for me! Thank you very much!”

1) Have you ever suffered from one of the following injuries at squash?
[ ] bone fracture [ ] strain of a muscle [ ] rupture of a ligament [ ] effusion of blood
2) Have you ever suffered from a facial injury at squash?
[ ] effusion of blood [ ] nose fracture [ ] laceration [ ] lip injury [ ] eyes
3) Have you ever seen a facial injury at squash?
[ ] effusion of blood [ ] nose fracture [ ] laceration [ ] lip injury [ ] eyes
4) Have you ever suffered from a tooth injury at squash?
[ ] Tooth loss [ ] tooth fracture [ ] tooth dislocation
5) Have you ever seen a tooth injury at squash?
[ ] Tooth loss [ ] tooth fracture [ ] tooth dislocation
6) Are you aware that a lost tooth can be reimplantated successfully?
[ ] Yes [ ] No
7) Do you know the tooth saving box?
[ ] Yes [ ] No
8) How expensive do you estimate the lifelong cost of a tooth loss
………… €
9) Do you know the so-called mouth guard in general, maybe from boxing?
[ ] Yes [ ] No
10) Do you wear a mouth guard at squash?
[ ] Yes [ ] No

Please email your answers to him at:
Tue 02 Sep

It's always good to see established events that keep developing, and Detroit squash fans are delighted that Canada's Jonathon Power is set to make his first appearance in the Motor City Open, which has been upgraded to a $30,000 Three-Star PSA event.

Many of the players entered for the US Open in Boston will be boosting the draw and a strong entry also includes France's Thierry Lincou and Egyptian Karim Darwish from the world's top ten. Defending champion Nick Taylor only just makes the main draw, at number 10 in the seedings, facing 8th seed Graham Ryding in a first round re-run of last year's final.

"The Motor City Open has gained a reputation among the players for its welcoming atmosphere and a crowd that appreciates superior play," said tournament director Nick Post.

The event takes place from September 17-20 at the Birmingham Athletic Club, which is Michigan's premier squash venue, featuring five glass-backed singles courts and a doubles court.  Detroit Details


Jamaica's Marlene West claimed the Women's Caribbean squash championship title, beating Guyana's Nicolette Fernandes 10/8 9/6 9/2 in the final in Barbados.

After a tight first game marked by lengthy rallies, Fernandes rushed to a 6-2 lead in the second game. But West fought back to level scores and kept going to take the game. In the third game, West, stepped up play and moved to a convincing 6-0 lead before even dropping any points. The packed stands were on their feet when West ended the final game 9-2, in tribute to her consistent high level of squash which spectators have grown to love in the last decade.

In the Men's Event, Gary Plumstead of Bermuda defeated country man, Nick Kyme, in four games. This is the first Caribbean Championship for both Plumstead and Kyme. Both have impressed throughout the tournament, Kyme has had several five setters, while Plumstead has dropped only two games (one to Kyme and one to Gavin Cumberbatch of Barbados).

Bermuda has been absent at the senior Caribbean Championships for at least a decade but have erupted on the scene at this tournament to take the top two spots in Men's Individuals and will enter the team competition as the hot favourites. Bermuda last claimed an individual Caribbean title in 1981.

With sponsorship from Mount Gay Rum, Smirnoff Ice and Banks Beer, it sounds like a real fun tournament!  Full Details


When the points were totalled up after the men's, women's, teams and veterans events of the 14th Caribbean squash championships in Barbados, it was Jamaica that topped the table with 21 points.

Final report from Barbados Advocate


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