2023 An Active Year for Henley Squash Club

2023 has been an active year for Henley Squash club with teams playing in both the Oxfordshire and Berkshire squash leagues, a successful club handicap tournament, a developing junior section, active monthly internal box leagues, Jill Campion winning the Womens’ over 65s European Championships in Hamburg and with the support of GLL/Better and Oxfordshire Squash, the reintroduction of a Friday evening club night, at the end of the year, open to anyone interested in playing squash, novice or experienced.

Handicap Tournament
The handicap tournament was played over several months, using a “Swiss System” that allows players of different abilities to play each other and have a productive and often challenging match. Unbeaten players proceeded to the next round in a normal knock-out process, resulting in one overall (and unbeaten) winner All other players were grouped according to how many matches they had lost so far. The rounds were played in FA Cup’ style – that is the draw for each round was only made after the previous round was completed, with one round per month and no seeding. In addition, handicaps were applied to all players (calculated by the “SquashLevels” system) to ensure close matches between players of different abilities, and to allow participation of all club members.

The emphasis was on fun, with the draw throwing up some matches between players of very different abilities – with the stronger player having to play with precision, since only a few mistakes would hand victory to the weaker player because of the handicaps!

Ceramic trophies were kindly created and donated by former Club Chairman, David Wright and were awarded to four category winners.

The overall tournament winner, and the only unbeaten player, was Adam Hurst, who received the Henley Squash Club Championship Cup as well as a ‘to-keep’ trophy created by David Wright ceramics. The winner of the Plate competition was Peter Rivers, who was the player with the lowest “SquashLevel” score from the group of players who had only lost one match. Peter received the Henley Squash Club Plate, as well as a ‘to-keep’ trophy. Richard Esau was the winner of the so-called 2nd Plate – for players who only lost two matches during the tournament. Richard was the one from this group who had the lowest “SquashLevel”and he received another ‘to-keep’ trophy from David Wright ceramics. The last category was the 3rd Plate for players who had only lost three matches. Alistair Robbie was the one from this group who had the lowest SquashLevel and he also received a ‘to-keep’ trophy. Following the success and enjoyment of the 2023 tournament the club plans to run a similar event in 2024.

Team Matches
The club ended the year with 2 teams competing in the Oxfordshire squash leagues, The first team, captained by Harry Carr, played in the Oxfordshire 1st division and were lying second just behind leaders Abingdon by a very small margin at the end the Winter 1 season, and all to play for in the forthcoming Winter 2 season in the new year. The second team, captained by Steve Dance stepped up a league to play in the Oxfordshire 3rd division, however despite some excellent very enjoyable matches found the standard a little rich and will again be playing in the 4th division in the forthcoming Winter 2 session.

In addition, for the first time in several years the club entered a Veteran/Masters team, captained by Richard Little” in the Berkshire Veteran League division 3. At the end of the year the team is well placed at the top of the league ready to complete the second half of the season’s fixtures in the new year.

Junior Squash
With support from local company Invesco and Oxfordshire Squash and Racketball Association, and seeking to offer an introduction to squash for younger members the club has hosted regular junior squash sessions on Sunday mornings during the year. The sessions have been run by volunteer qualified coach Paul Niedusynski and professional coach Adam Edge, and have proven popular fun and successful.

Box Leagues
For all members regardless of age the club runs internal monthly box leagues, where the opportunity to play players of similar abilities assists in the development of skills with players promoted demoted or maintaining league position each month dependent on results.
European champion
Any summary of 2023 should also include mention of the club’s European over 65 Women’s’ Champion Jill Campion. In addition to competing in and winning international tournaments, during 2023 Jill has regularly played at the top of the club’s monthly box leagues as well as for both Oxfordshire league teams.

Way Ahead in 2024
As well as wishing all members and supporters of Henley Squash club season’s greetings and a happy new year, the club is looking forward to an active and successful 2024 and welcomes anyone interested in playing squash to come and join us. In addition, the club would be delighted to speak to any sponsors who wish to be associated with an active and growing local Henley Community Sporting club.

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