Over 40’s Ladies off to County Finals!

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The over 40’s ladies county team have reached the finals again this season having only dropped 2 points in their 4 matches. So, wins over Hertfordshire (4/1), Surrey 2 (5/0), Essex (5/0) and Cambridge (5/0), mean they’re on track to attempt to retain the title they picked up in the 2016/2017 season. The team are made up of, Keeley Johnson, Catherine Ruffle, Mandy Akin, Candy Wilton, Karen Hume and Angie White, with Marci Brittain as reserve. The finals weekend is at the end of March 2018.

Ladies O50s

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Last Sunday saw the Kent ladies O50s team (les Dorrises) begin their quest to retain their national title won last year.

So far so good- one match played against Cambridgeshire and one victory duly recorded.

First on was captain Karen Hume, who nursing a flourishing cold, managed to record a 3/0 win over Rebecca Moore.  She was followed by number one string Mandy Akin, who despite having a swollen thumb following a fall from her bike, sustained victory over England international, Sarah Howlett, by the same score. Finally Candy Wilton, exhibiting all the flair and grace that we have come to expect from her, completed the hat trick of 3/0 victories for the team.

The second stage of the event will be held at Nuffield Health Bromley on Sunday November 26th, with Kent playing at 10 30am and 3pm and we look forward to seeing you there should you wish to come along and support.

Karen Hume

Aviva Community Fund. We need your help!

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Kent Squash and Racketball Association has applied for funding from Aviva, the Insurance Group,  for community based activities.

We hope that your vote will reinforce our message to Aviva that we bring healthy squash and racketball to all age groups, genders and throughout the county. Funding will help grass roots development and bring long lasting benefits to our community.

You can cast 10 votes, which can spread between different projects or all given to Kent SRA as you choose.

You can view our project and secure your votes HERE.

The more support the project gets, the better our chances of securing funding.

Please take a moment to vote for us.  Thank you!

O35s County Squash Stage 1 Playoffs 2017

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Many thanks to Ian for this report.

The weekend of the 30th September saw Suffolk play host to Kent, Essex and Norfolk in the 035county squash playoffs. The top 2 would progress to the finals in March.

Kent fielded a weakened team with debutants Dean Newberry and Ian McMeckan at 4 and 5 respectively. Lewis Ryall, Sam Stabler and Jolyon Head made up the top of the batting order.
Keen to ensure that they could have a good warm up before the matches started Ian and Lewis set off at 7am for a 1pm kick off. As they arrived into Ipswich town centre, Sam Stabler called to say that he hadn’t even left yet!! Something about a migraine and a dodgy stomach – getting the excuses in early.

Dean and Jolyon travelled up in a rust mobile and duly called at 12.30pm to say they were still half an hour away. All in all a good start to proceedings.

Match 1
Kent vs Essex
#5 Ian McMeckan vs #5 Essex (obviously)

Having had a good 2hr warm up and got rid of any pre match nerves, Ian started steady against an unorthodox but effective player. Moving him around easily and forcing him into mistakes and strokes, Ian raced into an early lead and closed out the first game comfortably.

The 2nd started in much the same vain, however at 8-3 up, the shots that had proved so effective became errors and the mistakes by the Essex player became winners. The Essex player clawed his way back to 9-9, but with one final push Ian had game point at 10-9, only to lose the next 3pts and the game 12-10.

The 3rd and 4th games were very close affairs, up to about 7-7, but a lack of fitness and lack of confidence in some of his shots saw Ian falter and the Essex player take each game 11-8.

#1 Lewis Ryall vs #1 Essex (obviously)

Watching from the balcony this was a game between two players of very contrasting styles. Lewis ran all day, pushing his opponent to all 4 corners of the court. The Essex player, despite carrying a bit of weight had unbelievable touch around the court and pushed Lewis very hard. The close score line reflects this, but the 5th game appeared to be one game too many for the Essex player as the superior fitness of Lewis allowed him to close out the match comfortably.

#4 Dean Newberry vs #4 Essex (obviously)

Making his debut for Kent and in his customary long johns, Dean ran his heart out against a very good #4. The first was a close affair as both players struggled to find their range but it was ultimately the Essex player who ran out the winner. The 2nd game, and at 5-0 (and in Dean’s words) Dean decided to take a breather and force his opponent into a false sense of security. He lost that game.

11-0. It did work though as Dean played a blinder in the 3rd and pulled a game back. Dean looked to try this tactic again in the 4th and went 10-2 down. Dean forced his way back into the match as his opponent got increasingly frustrated at his inability to close the game out. He did however have just enough and put Essex 2-1 up.

#3 Jolyon Head vs #3 Essex (obviously)

A great match between two very evenly matched players. Long rallies, tight drives up and down the wall, fantastic retrieving by both players and all played in a great spirit. This match was a lot closer than the 3-0 score line to Essex suggests, but ultimately Jolyon was unable to kill his opponent off when given the chance. Essex now 3-1 up.
#2 Sam Stabler vs #2 Essex (obviously).

Now Sam loves an excuse, but to be fair to him on this occasion he did have a valid one. When he rocked up he was white as a ghost and was duly sick in the toilets… and during each rally he looked like he was going to throw up again or keel over with stomach aches.
He lost comfortably 3-0 but his bout of sickness never really gave him a chance to play his best squash.

Essex win 4-1.

Match 2
Kent vs Norfolk

Lewis, Jolyon and Dean ran out comfortable winners in this match, although Lewis needed to use all his guile to outfox a very good opponent who cracked the ball at 150mph. A real contrast from his first match opponent.

Ian and Sam did their best to avoid winning, with Sam 2-0 up, and then going AWOL for the next two games before pulling it out of the bag and holding on to win 3-2.

Ian did win his first match for Kent 3-2, having gone 1-0 down, he then worked out what to do against his aged opponent (more on that later) – hit hard and drop – and won the next two comfortably. He then took a dose of Sam’s medicine and lost the 4th before returning to what worked in games 2 and 3 to close out the match 3-2 and give Kent a 5-0 win.

In the changing rooms Ian was introduced to his opponent. A bit of small talk and his opponent mentioned playing down in Whitstable. “Oh do you know Duane Harrison?” Ian asked, “Yes I do, I used to play with his dad”. Now Duane is a good 10yrs older than Ian!!!

Anyway as Ian made his way to the court the Norfolk team were all huddled around the awards board at the club taking a photo of the #5 who was pointing to when he won back to back club championships at the Ipswich club – back in 1986!!!!

Having won 1 and lost 1 match on the Saturday it meant the Sunday rubber against Suffolk would determine who would join Essex in the March finals. It did create a moral dilemma for the team as to whether to hit it hard on the Saturday night.
Common sense prevailed and a civilised evening in Pizza Express ended at 11pm.

Match 3
Kent vs Suffolk

The Suffolk team were weaker on the Sunday but Kent would still have been too strong.
Needing to get home to his wife and kids, Sam went on first and won comfortably 3-0. The migraines and sickness had now been fully flushed through.

Jolyon had an easy 3-0 win, and Dean in his laid back style managed to sneak a 3-1 win.
Ian had a real ding dong at #5 holding game balls in both the 1st and 2nd games but ultimately lost 3-0 – 13-11 in each.

Lewis as #1 was looking to preserve his unbeaten record for the weekend. The first game went to the Suffolk player and he looked to have the better of Lewis during the early proceedings of the 2nd, however Lewis used his brain and started to work out where his opponent was weakest, allowing him to nick the 2nd . He continued these tactics into the 3rd and 4th and won comfortably 3-1 after what had seemed would be a very close affair.

Match to Kent 4-1.
All in all a great weekend, with a bare 5, Kent qualified for the next round. Hopefully the big boys will be out for the next round and Sam does not have another sickness episode.

Star Man – Lewis – unbeaten

Women’s Over 40 County – Stage I

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The women’s over 40 team got off to a good start in their bid to retain their county championship title by beating Hertfordshire 4/1 and Surrey 2 5/0 last weekend in Hertfordshire. We managed to put out a pretty strong team, Keeley Johnson, Catherine Ruffle, Mandy Akin, Candy Wilton and Angie White. This puts us in a very strong position now with just Essex to play as the other team, Cambridge, have withdrawn. Stage II will be on 29th October.