The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain

home > news > festival of squash 2019

The seventh annual Festival of Squash organised by the GB Vets was held at the RAC, Woodcote Park, Epsom on Sunday 3rd November.

By 9.30 a.m. groups of keen players, with ages spanning from 25 to 85, representing the GB Vets, the Army and the Escorts, began arriving to join the players from the host RAC team.

The Army team was somewhat down on numbers given the absence of Phil and Yvette Ashman. The former has left the Army but has taken on the job of running the Army’s overall sports- so squash is now only one of his sports… However, in the spirit of the Festival of Squash, the GB Vets loaned Nick Sheppard for the Singles, and (Lt. Col) John Woodliffe and Lance Kinder for the Doubles! John and Lance won one of their two matches with a large gallery impressed by the amazing staying power of a pair now aggregating over 168 years!!

Richard Green and Len Westover (The Army) were the overall stars in the Singles, winning all three of their matches. In the Doubles, Mandy Akin and Karen Hume (GB Vets) won all three of their matches, whilst Alan Thomson and Dave Clarke played four matches and won them all! Mike Stewart and Karl Newland (RAC) won two of their Doubles matches whilst James Dubois (RAC) won three of his Singles matches… although he essentially played Nick Sheppard twice- with Nick representing both GB Vets and the Army in the same match! That really is the spirit of the event! Shayne Baillie (RAC) had a fine day, narrowly losing to Richard Green whilst winning her other two matches. Dean Newberry (GB Vets) and John Goodrich (GB Vets) again performed strongly with both winning two of their Singles matches, whilst Jeremy Wilcox (Escorts) did likewise.

However, perhaps the tour-de-force for the day was Rick Prior (Escorts) who played four Doubles and two Singles for the Escorts scoring 9 points!

Over the whole of the day, 86 games were played in the 24 Singles matches, and 64 games in the 18 Doubles matches.

The result of the overall competition went down to the wire with large galleries watching the final matches which proved to be key to the final positions.

After the splendid Jane Belle and Di Hendry, who had managed the timetable through the day, had reckoned up all the points, the result showed another close competition with the Army turning the tables on the 2018 winners GB Vets by just FOUR points:

The Army: 60
GB Vets: 56
R.A.C: 43
Escorts: 21

Shortly after the final matches finished, hot and cold canapés, were served with wine for both players and the guests who came to support their teams. Finally, the GB Vets Chairman,Tom Hendry, thanked James Dubois and the RAC for their generosity in making it possible for the event to take place in such fine surroundings. Tom then thanked Jane and Di for their hard work orchestrating the matches for the four courts throughout the day. He also thanked Berge Kay (Escorts), Phil Croager (The Army), Nigel Belle (GB Vets) and James Dubois (RAC) for assembling their players and congratulated everyone for both turning out and exemplifying the spirit of the event - that participation was much more important than the result!

The Festival of Squash Trophy for 2019 was then presented to Phil Croager. Finally, Phil thanked his players, opponents and the organisers for another great event and spoke for all present, stating that they could not wait for the next festival when we can celebrate our great sport.

See you all on Sunday November 1st 2020. Put it in your diary!

Tom Hendry
Chairman, GB Vets.


Tom Hendry presenting the Trophy to Phil Croager of the Army The GB Vets team: Alan Thomson, Mandy Akin, Dave Clarke, Karen Hume, Nigel Belle, Robert Smith, John Goodrich, Nick Sheppard.