- Wycliffe Tour To North America
On December 9th, the squash squad left Wycliffe at 6am to go to Bristol and
begin their tour to Canada and The USA. Excitement was all around, and everyone
was looking forward to re-visiting the same 2 clubs which hosted the US and
Canadian Opens back in 2002 when we were last over.
Unfortunately a couple of passport problems meant that 2 players were unable to
play the Canadian Open, and to make matters worse, our flight from New York to
Buffalo (right on The Canadian boarder) was cancelled and re-scheduled for the
following morning, which meant an overnight stay in an airport hotel and some
frantic telephone calls to the Canadian tournament organiser to see if he could
re-schedule the early morning matches for some of the players.
The next day we finally arrived at the club at around 11.30am and a number of
players had to go straight on court.
The Canadian Open is a major 4 day event on The North American squash circuit and
attracts players from all over the Americas as well as Australia, and Europe.
Despite the misfortunes and delays getting there, we had some good success. The
Canadians won 7 out of the 8 titles on offer, Kamran Khan made sure they did
not make it a clean sweep by beating the top 2 Canadians in the semis and final
of the under 17 event. Sam Cantle reached the semi finals of the boys under 15,
whilst Adam Wellstead, Anthony Graham, and Declan Christie won 4 out of their 5
We had a rest day the following day and “checked out” The Niagara falls. It was
bitterly cold, but nevertheless a sight to behold.
The next morning we were picked up very early and taken to Buffalo airport for
a flight to New York. On arrival at New York we were then taken by coach to
Yale University in Connecticut. This is an Ivy League university, a bit like
our Oxford and Cambridge, and the facilities are out of this world. Squash is
not a major sport in USA yet its complex consisted of 15 courts, 3 of which
were all glass like they use in major tournaments around the world! We were
also delighted to be re-joined with Rich Wade and Robbie Maycock!
We had a practise session that afternoon, and then got an early night as we
needed to get up very early for our sight seeing day in New York. We were on
our way by 5.30am! We took the train from New Haven to Grand Central and then
got on a tour bus which took us around all the sights of New York. It was a
great day out and everyone was ready for their beds when we got back.
The US open started early the next morning, and like the Canadian, it ran
over 4 days. On the whole it was stronger than the Canadian Open, and yet
again we had some good results.
Kamran was unable to back up his Canadian success and lost in the quarter
finals to a Mexican who went on to win the tournament. Sam Cantle backed
up his Canadian semi final with a semi final finish at the US open. Other
notable results included Rich Wade, Adam Wellstead, Josh Saysell, Declan
Christie and Anthony Graham – all of whom won 4 out of their 6 matches.
As soon as the tournament was over, we went straight to the airport to take
a night flight back to Bristol.
It was another memorable tour - everyone got a great deal out of it and
the memories will long remain.
See the tour photo>
- Chris Tasker-Grindley Wins U19 European
Chris Tasker-Grindley has added another
squash title to his growing collection. The East Gloucestershire
Club member won the European Junior Open under-19 title, beating
James Snell 3-0 in Nottingham. Chris was playing in the
Technifibre sponsored European series event.
- Takser-Grindley - The making of a British Champion
Report By Dave Morrish
Back in October of 2004, Chris Tasker-Grindley went up to Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire for the British Under 17 Championships.
He was the current number one in England and as a result was seeded number one in the tournament. On paper he was a clear favourite having beaten the other seeds, and the possibility of a Gloucestershire national champion looked like a safe bet.
Chris cruised to the quarter finals and things looked great – he was hitting the ball well, moving well and making very few unforced errors. In his quarter final, he came up against another South-West player in the form of Darren Healey from Somerset. This is where things started to go wrong! Chris cut his finger on the floor while retrieving a ball and took the necessary time to patch it up. However it started bleeding again and he was forced to concede the game. He managed to keep focused and ran out a 3-1 winner.
On to the semi finals, and another South-West player – this time James Snell from Devon. James was a former British Under 13 Champion, and had beaten Chris on a number of occasions. Chris however had won the previous 3 encounters.
Chris started off superbly, taking the ball very early and creating all sorts of pressure for James. It looked like it was going to be a quick and decisive win with Chris leading 2-0 in games and 3-1 in the third, but then the worst possible thing happened. Chris played a drop shot in the front right, and whilst moving off the ball, he collided with James and went over his ankle. He was in a considerable amount of pain, and as it was an accidental injury, he was allowed as much time as he needed to sort it out.
It became very apparent that this was not just a twisted ankle – he had ruptured the ligaments! After icing it, both a physio and a doctor strongly advised him to withdraw. I was with Chris throughout this and basically said to him that this was The British Championships – if it were any other tournament, there would be no question. I felt it was worth the risk – you don’t get too many chances to become a National Champion. We strapped it up, mobilised it as much as possible, and put a game plan in place.
I told him to play everything deep and let James take it in short (which I felt he would as he likes to attack), and then work from his short ball. Well Chris started to take everything in short and from 3-1 up, basically where they were before the injury, Chris lost 9-3 and was 7-1 down in the fourth, when suddenly he put the game plan into action and hit everything deep. Although he lost that game 9-7 it was clear he had a chance. He went on to win the fifth 9-2.
Back to the ice and elevation. Two hours later it was time for the final against Tom Pashley from Sussex. One would never have known that Chris had suffered such a painful injury – he completely dominated and controlled every point, and ran out a 3-1 winner.
There has not been a junior national champion from Gloucestershire in recent years. Robbie Temple and Josh Saysell both got to the finals of the under 13’s. One would have to go back to the Fiona Geaves and Lucy Souter era to find a Gloucestershire National Champion, but they did not have to do it the hard way like Chris did.
It was a real honour to be in Chris’ corner and I know how much hard work he had put into his squash – no one deserved to be a National Champion more than him, especially that day.
© 2011 GJSA. E&OE.
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