Junior Inter County Championships 2019/20

The inter-county championship is a highlight of the junior squash season, giving young players a taste of competitive action against some of the country’s best young players, and each of the Avon age-group teams was raring to go.

This season we entered three boys teams into the ICC championships, the first round of which took place on the weekend of 9-10 November at several different venues across Surrey.

The first round was divided into southern and northern divisions, with all the southern division ties taking place in Surrey. Hundreds of the best juniors in the south of the country battled it out to make it into the national finals, with only the top two sides in each group making it through to the finals, which this season will be played in Nottingham.

Our under 11 team travelled with their parents to Wimbledon Rackets Club and put on a fantastic show. The highlight of the day came as they pushed Hampshire – one of the top sides in the event – all the way, showing great ability, application and spirit.

A hugely exciting group of players is developing within our U11 age groups in both boys and girls. Unfortunately the boys came third in their group, so narrowly missed out on the finals weekend, but their performance certainly bodes well for the future, and I am hugely excited about their potential.

A lot of the boys have another year in the age group, and with many other players nipping at their heels, they know they need to keep working hard to keep their place in the team, so we are looking forward to another great performance at next year’s event.

Many congratulations to the players selected – Sam Browning, Theo Lamey, Emmanuel Cox, Oliver Duffet

Our under-15s meanwhile travelled to Ashtead, while our under 17s made their way to Dorking tennis and squash club, ready to take on teams from some of the biggest counties in England. Our teams were pitted against some of the real big hitters, yet the coaches (myself and local professional player Theis Houlberg) were hugely impressed with all of the players’ attitude and performance throughout the weekend.

The players learned a huge amount, not just in terms of squash, but also the importance of team spirit, goal setting and dealing with the pressure and stress of competition. Up against bigger counties, the Avon teams acquitted themselves very well, both coming out with a victory.

Unfortunately, both our under-15s and under-17s again finished in third position. However, both teams managed to leave with a victory, which is very creditable for a county of our size and resources, so I’m very proud of the teams and pleased with their performance. There’s certainly a lot of potential in Avon’s Junior teams, and we’re all going to work hard to turn it into success.

Congratulations to the following players for their selection –

Boys U15 – Oscar Lambert, Isaac Hall, Joshua Bailey, Thomas Williams, Ernie Clarke

Boys U17 – Pau Jimenez, Marcus Wales, Mckenzie Dutton, Tejas Ramanan, Joshua Watt

With each of our age-group teams playing at different venues it was a logistically challenging weekend, so many thanks are due to all the parents, grandparents and friends who helped out in ferrying everybody around and making sure our teams got to the right place at the right time. It couldn’t have happened without you.

Finally, I will be looking to arrange some ‘friendly’ county fixtures for our teams to give everyone a bit more competitive experience, while we also have plans for a fixture for our county girls. Sadly, we were just short of being able to field a girls team, but we have some exciting talent and we will ensure they get to represent Avon this season to help build for next.

Code of Conduct

he Avon Squash Committee has published a Code of Conduct for league players, as we look to improve standards of behaviour and encourage a simultaneously competitive and respectful atmosphere at league matches. While everybody enjoys a level of healthy competition, it’s important not to overstep the mark.

This means respecting the decisions of referees first and foremost, and getting on with the game once a decision has been made. While players are entitled to request an explanation of a decision from the referee, it’s essential to respect their authority and allow them to referee the game as they see fit, without constant interruption.

There are penalties for those who cross the line, so we’d like to encourage every league player to read through the attached document and make sure that their behaviour reaches the required standard. Referees are the lifeblood of the game, and without them there will be no league squash, so let’s give them the respect they deserve.

You can view the Code of Conduct here.

New coach for county juniors

We are pleased to announce that reigning Avon Squash champion John Welton has been appointed as our new County Junior Coach. An experienced coach and accomplished player, John is a familiar face in the local squash scene, and we know he’ll bring both energy and expertise to his new role.

John has spent several years working alongside Hadrian Stiff at Elite Squash, coaching promising young players and passing on his knowledge at several clubs across the county, including Redland Green, Workout Harbourside and Landsdown, and is looking forward to his new position.

“I’m hugely excited to take on the role of Avon Junior head coach and relishing the opportunity to work with a very talented group of young players within the county,” commented Welton.

“I have been working as a member of the county coaching team over the past 5 or 6 seasons so the move to head coach is a natural progression and I’m looking forward to bringing my ideas and coaching philosophy to the role.”

There’s a lot of talent out there in Avon’s thriving junior squash programmes, and we know that John is the right man to help our young players improve further. Having spent several years working with the county’s junior players, John has already identified a few major priorities.

“A huge goal of mine is to increase the number of junior teams we are able to enter in the inter-county championship events, particularly ensuring girls get a chance to represent the county which has sadly not happened over the last few seasons,” he said.

“The ICC is a huge part of player development as I well know from my own pathway as a squash player. The experience of being exposed to that high level and the social experience as a team has a big impact on a young squash player and I want as many of our juniors to experience this as possible.”

John is also closely involved in the UWE squash programme, which has produced many top professionals, so is the ideal man to push on those with big ambitions beyond junior squash. We know he’ll help to provide a positive, encouraging and fun environment for the next generation.

Welcome to Wendy and Will

The Avon Squash Committee continues to grow, and we’re pleased to announce two new appointments that will help us to develop the game in the region. Will Duffett joins as Schools Liaison Officer, while we also welcome Wendy Harrison to the Committee as Ladies League Secretary and Ladies Development Advocate.

As Schools Liaison Officer, one of Will’s priorities will be to heighten awareness of the game and encourage PE departments to get pupils playing squash, which is not always the case at the moment. Wendy will also have an important to play in encouraging more women to take up our great game, and we hope to see lots of new faces on court soon.

Calling All Referees!

The Avon County Junior Closed Tournament will take place at Redland Green Squash Club (BS6 7HF) on Sunday September 29 between 9.00-16.00, and we’re looking for qualified referees to officiate on the day.

It’s the county’s first squash tournament of the season, and with participation numbers rising across the region, we’re hoping for a good turn-out. Referees are of course essential to the smooth running of the event so any help would be greatly appreciated, whether it’s for the full day or a shorter time.

A number of experienced referees will be on site to officiate and offer guidance on interpretation, so alongside supporting junior squash it’s also a great opportunity to refine your refereeing skills in a competitive environment, ready for the upcoming league season.

If you can help, please get in touch with us via referees@avonsquash.co.uk. It would also be very helpful if you could let us know the times you will be available.

Karina Tyma New European Under-19 Squash Champion

Many congratulations to Karina Tyma, the new European Under-19 squash champion! Karina took the title in Prague with a three-game victory over Katie Malliff, after overcoming long-term rival and no.1 seed Elise Lazarus in the semi-final.

It was a landmark win, with Karina becoming Poland’s first ever individual European squash champion. While she was playing under the flag of her native land, Karina has been based in Bristol since 2006, and the city has played a major part in her squash education.

She was coached first by Hadrian Stiff of Elite Squash, based at Workout Harbourside in the centre of Bristol, and has since also worked with Richard Coleman and for the last two years Ian Thomas, who is based at Millfield School in Somerset. 

Over the last few years Karina’s game has really developed, pushed on by training with locally-based professional players at Workout Harbourside, including Joelle King and the El Shorbagy brothers, while she is also a member at Redland Green Club in the north of the city.

With high-quality facilities and a friendly but competitive group of squash professionals pushing each other on, Bristol is a great place for young players like Karina to develop their game.  “Bristol is a great place for any kind of squash player be it amateur or professional and great place for juniors, too,” she commented.

It’s great to see a local player rise so high, and we know that with her mindset Karina certainly won’t stop there. The next stop is Drexel University in Philadelphia on a full athletic scholarship, and beyond that who knows?

For more information on squash in Bristol, clubs in the local area and how you can get involved, check – www.avonsquash.co.uk 

Head of Referees Appointed

We are pleased to announce that Phil Rea has been appointed as our new Head of Referees. He will take responsibility for referees in the county and will play a key role in driving up standards.

A long-standing member of Redland Green Club in north Bristol, Phil is a popular figure in the local squash community and has recently qualified as a World Squash Officiating (WSO) level 2 referee.  He has also been selected as an England Squash Mission 2022 Candidate, which will see him positioned at the forefront of refereeing, fast tracked to become one of the top referees in the world and hopefully become part of the team that referees at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022.

As a keen player himself, Phil has seen things from both sides of the balcony and aims to ensure that the rules are implemented fairly and consistently throughout the league.“I’m very pleased to have been appointed as Head of Referees for Avon Squash, and look forward to working with clubs and players across the county to help drive the sport forward and showcase the importance of refereeing,” he commented.

This is about equipping players with the skills and knowledge they need to make the right calls in different situations, explain their decisions to players, and so manage games effectively.  

There are always going to be disagreements about refereeing decisions, but if we can apply the rules consistently then we all know where we stand and we can focus on what really matters – playing squash.

For more information about refereeing or to get involved in refereeing in Avon squash contact Phil via – referees@avonsquash.co.uk

For more information on squash in Bristol, clubs in the local area and how you can get involved, check – www.avonsquash.co.uk

Corporate Grand Prix – Round Two

The second round of the 2019 Avon County Corporate Squash Grand Prix will take place on 8 June between 10-5 at Workout Harbourside squash club, on Welsh Back in the centre of Bristol.

It’s a great opportunity for professionals to come together, smash some little rubber balls as hard as you can, get sweaty, then have a few drinks. What better way to break down barriers and build business relationships? 

Nor do you need a lot of experience to take part, or even to know your double-yellow from a blue-dot. All levels are welcome, from beginner to expert, with individual and team prizes during the event. 

The first Grand Prix of 2019 in February was a great success, with £xxx raised for Comic Relief and a lot of new squash and business friendships forged, and we’re hoping for an even bigger turnout this time.

Get in touch with us via the contact details below. We look forward to seeing you there!

To enter, e-mail – squash-for-business@avonsquash.co.uk with the subject – ‘Corporate Squash Grand Prix 2019 – YOUR NAME’

Please also include your name, employer, T-shirt size and the level that you expect to play at.

Entry Fees:

New players entering Round 2 – £20 including entry, T-shirt and lunch.

Players from Round 1 – £15 including entry and lunch.

For further information, visit – www.avonsquash.co.uk/squash-for-business

On our marks with Roy Gingell

A group of Bristol squash players took the opportunity to tap into some professional expertise last weekend, all in the cause of deepening their knowledge of the sport.

World Squash Referee Roy Gingell was in the city to run a workshop designed to help local players understand the finer points of the rules and keep the local league running smoothly.

Squash is a fast-paced game, and disputes can arise between players competing to control the court. It’s players themselves who referee in the local league, so it’s in everyone’s interests that the rules are applied fairly.

While he’s used to dealing with the professional players on the intensely competitive professional tour, Gingell was happy to pass on his knowledge and expertise to the enthusiastic Bristol squash community.

“It’s great to see excellent numbers attending especially women and juniors. Attending this course will empower all to have more confidence to referee in the future,” he commented.

The players themselves got a lot out of the workshop. “Getting first-hand teaching from such a senior, experienced referee as Roy Gingell was a real privilege,” enthused local player Fin Kettlewell.

“I think everyone at the workshop came out feeling more confident about sitting in the marker’s chair!”

The benefits of this will now feed into the vibrant Bristol and District squash league, with more highly qualified referees helping to raise standards even further.

Players will push themselves even harder when they see that the referee really knows their onions. Squash is known as an intense, yet also fun and friendly activity, and the aim is to keep it that way.

New committee appointment

The appointments to the Avon Squash committee are coming thick and fast. We are delighted to announce that Jack Alcock of Workout Harbourside has taken up the role of Secretary of Avon Squash and will assume his responsibilities shortly.

This is an important position that is essential for the proper functioning of the committee, and it has been vacant for some time now. The quorum for committee meetings shall be two members, and must include at least one of the Secretary, Treasurer and League Secretary. In the absence of a Secretary there have been a few meetings since I became Chairman where we were not able to make any decisions because we were not quorate, so this appointment is very timely.

When asked for a comment on his appointment Jack said; ‘I’m really excited to support the great work that the current committee have been delivering to date. Hopefully I can strengthen the team’s impact on making squash in our region enjoyable and organised, as well as increasing the profile of Avon County Squash.”

We are delighted that Jack has agreed to take on this position and wish him all the best in the role. We are still recruiting for a number of other key roles and are in the process of sifting through applications, so watch this space for further announcements.