The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain

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GB Vets Tour to York
25-27 October 2019

This year’s tour was scheduled to coincide with the Wigginton Club 40th Anniversary Dinner held at the York Race Course.

Unfortunately, from a starting line-up of 23 or so, we finished up with 3 old hands, who know what a good weekend it usually is, and fortunately Allen Barwise and Polly Woodward who showed extreme enthusiasm from the start. Without these 2 it is unlikely that tour would have gone ahead. The weekend was dampened slightly due to the atrocious weather on the Saturday.

I intend starting the story at the end rather than the beginning, because the last match on Saturday afternoon proved to be the deciding battle as whether we became outright winners or not. Possibly having to resort to a countback. Having won 3-2 on Friday night, The Friday Night’s winners were losers and the losers, Winners, so the Last Saturday tie was at 2 all With Nick Clifford scheduled to play Martin Wright. On Martin’s first appearance at the York venue he did lose to Nick when I had won about 5 years ago.

But when I do rarely get the chance play my son these days there is usually only one winner, and I had confidently stated to a member of the opposition that I felt that Martin would be too strong and we would win. I was later forced to eat my words. Having lost myself on Friday night to Nick, for the first time I did not give Nick enough credit. Apparently out for 12 months and only having had 3 games since, we perhaps underestimated him. His game with Martin proved to be the game of the weekend. Losing the 1st drastically being well down, Martin then recovered but lost 11/9 .He then took the next 2 only 2 lose the 4th and left the tie hanging in the balance. Nick had beaten me with some superb lob serves, never far away from being perfect. And Martin had the same trouble, but in the end he just had the edge to finish off a cracking game, many of whom thought was the best of the weekend.

Polly’s debut on Friday night got off to a brilliant start going 7 up in the first to a very strong looking youngish Chris. Polly managed to hang on and win that game and had some deft finishes to keep in the next 3 but eventually lost.

Allen on at the same time took on another fit looking and younger Angus. This was a very close game with some excellent squash by both players Allen winning in the 5th.

Tommy the Elf had 4 close games before edging out Mark. Martin had his first 5 setter after going 2-1 up before winning the 5th 11-7.

With the pressure off, were winning 3-1. My regular game with Nick was the end of the tie. A struggle in the 1st but then 2-1 up I made the mistake of underestimating my opponent when he was finishing stronger and l Iost the 4th 12-10 which proved the end of me in the 5th. But still A 3-2 win for the vets.

On Saturday Allen came up first against the current club champion. After losing 3-0 Allen admitted that he never comes across anyone that could hit the ball so hard. A very strong 40 year old who I thought might do well on the circuit. No disgrace for a 62 year old to lose.

Polly had a lady to play for her match and she reversed her defeat on Friday with a 3-0 victory. I again missed Tommy’s game to a much younger player to whom he lost 3-0 and I managed to reverse my Friday defeat beating Mike 3-0. Which left Martin to bring us home winning both days 3-2.

Nick did a splendid job matching up the players as well as organising the weekend. I think it was Rob Cooper and his wife who prepared the Friday meal of Chilli and rice finishing off with 2 superb sweets. I selected the barrel of beer for the night “Yorkshire Terrier” – This had gone by time we got back to the club on Saturday for a pre-dinner drink – had to make do with Guinness. The first time a barrel had disappeared in a day I was told. A preamble by Nick Clifford to the assembled 140 dinner guests, in which the GB Vets got a mention, was followed by 2 buses operating to the Race Course for the Annual Dinner Celebration.

There were numerous raffles and speeches, all proceeds going to local charities, one of which was to Parkinson’s disease. Appropriate as Nick’s wife Shelia has recently been diagnosed with it. In private on behalf of the GB Vets I passed on our sympathy and best wishes for which inevitably will be a strain on both of them. My wife’s sister had it for nearly 30 years before passing away last year unable to speak, walk and bent over like a hunchback in the end. An awful disease. The dinner dance went well and dancing by some, allowed the joys of relative youth to flourish. Personally, I could not stand the noise and showed my age by moving to the back of room.

Allen Barwise and Polly enjoyed the event so much he felt a desire to express his own thanks and on behalf of the GB Vets as part of the speeches. I have expressed my wish and now confirm my desire to stand down from my duties in respect of this tour and hope that I have primed Allen to take over.

One suggestion was not to overkill the event by making it bi-annual.

Adrian Wright


Adrian Wright (lt)& Nick Clifford (rt)

Alan Barwise (lt)

Polly Woodward(rt) Tommy Elves (lt)