The Women’s world Open has been saved by the same group that now organises
the British Open, – The Fablon Group. Latest news is that Fablon are on
the verge of signing an eight-year agreement with the World Squash Federation
and that this year the event will take place November 19-25, possibly
in Sheffield, England.
I forgot to tell you the silliest story to come out of the world junior
champs in Milan. Head racquets signed a contract with the FIGS (Italian
squash federation) as the official supplier of rackets with the stipulation
that only Head players could be included in the Italian team. Too bad
for the Italian number one junior, Andrea Bianchetti, who had signed a
domestic contract with Dunlop. And that is why, dear reader, the Italian’s
top junior did not play for his country in the world championships. And
you wonder why they couldn’t erect a glass court with two years’ notice?
IN THE HEAD
Saw a not-very-well Latasha Khan in Cairo – her stomach had a falling
out with some food – and I heard that she and her sister might not be
representing the US in November because they failed to attend the US team
trials that coincided with the Al Ahram and Heliopolis tournaments. Say
it ain’t true Joe, say it ain’t true.
IN THE HEAD
Noel Coward’s song about ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ going out in the mid-day
sun is, I’m afraid, true (and most of the Englishmen without hats!). Had
you been anywhere near the Pyramids on August 24 at high noon, you would
have witnessed WISPA’s head honcho, Andrew Shelley and a certain squash
journalist playing on the tournament glass court with a white ball in
40 degree heat (that’s 105 degrees F). The object of this game of squash
was to be able to see the ball with the bright sunlight streaming through
the glass walls. We had an audience of one, referee Tony Parker, who was
reduced to constant laughter at our efforts. Biggest laugh of all was
a back wall boast of mine which missed the back wall and went sailing
over the bleachers, way into the desert. We couldn’t find it, which is
why we were playing with a white ball. So, if you are on vacation in Egypt,
riding a camel through the desert and you come across a black double dot
squash ball, it’s mine. Please mail it to me care of Squashtalk.
It was on this same court that Peter Nicol won the Al Ahram title and
took home $9,975.00. Not all his memories are pleasant however. The morning
before we graced the court, he was practising on the court when a couple
of advertising panels that sit atop the court walls fell on to the court
narrowly missing Peter’s head and denting the floor badly enough that
parts of the floor had to be replaced. All other top ten players have
cast iron alibis.
If you think my hitting a ball out into the desert was unfair to the poor
ball, there were other incidents: both Anthony Hill and Jonathon Power
accused their opponents (Darwish and Barada) of wetting the ball before
serving so that the ball shot off the wall at strange angles. Referee
Bruce Kettle told Power that as players are in the habit of wiping their
hands on the court walls, there was no proving where the wetness came
from. Inexplicably David Palmer got a conduct warning for ‘Abuse of the
ball’ . Was he hitting to hard ? Swearing at it? Performing unnatural
acts with it? How do you ‘abuse’ a ball? Any suggestions from Squashtalk
subscribers will be perused with zeal.
I know you will find this hard to believe, but there is a squash club
in France that will be entering the European Club championships with a
team that reads: Jonathon Power, Simon Parke Peter Marshall, Paul Johnson,
Alex Gough and Mark Chaloner. I told you that you wouldn’t believe it.
But it’s true; I spoke to Jacques Fontaine, the owner of the St. Cloud
club in Paris and he assured me that all the above mentioned players have
told him they are available to play in Amsterdam Sept 21-24. (The last
time Power beat Peter Nicol was in the finals of the French club championships
a week before the Super Series finals).
I murmured something about a hefty
wage bill to Monsieur Fontaine and he replied: “You cannot catch mosquitoes
with vinegar.” Very profound, I thought, and then I thought again. Why
would anyone want to catch mosquitoes? He is very serious and passionate
about squash is M. Fontaine and desperately wants to get squash into the
Olympics. I shall be in Amsterdam to report on those championships (and
support Colets, the English club champions and the place where I still
try to master the little black ball in the white room.) I hope to meet
I shall report on both him and the
championships for Squashtalk.