>October 2000 Global Gallery
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2000 Gallery: Hoofddorp and Amsterdam… a foldable court … Carol Owen
NZ or Aus … Natalie Grainger which nation? …Simon Parke


Oct 5, 2000, London England.
© 2000


There were two reasons I went to cover the European Club Championships; one
was because my club, Colets, was representing England and two, because Amsterdam
was one of my favourite cities. Y’see, all the publicity said Amsterdam, but
when it came down to it, the tourney was being held in Meersquash Club in
Hoofddorp, a charming, sparkling, bustling little town 30 km outside Amsterdam.
As play started at around 10 am and finished in the evening, I actually never
got into Amsterdam and had to sit back and listen to the tales of players
and supporters who availed themselves of the Amsterdam’s good times. But it
was a great tournament. Except perhaps for my club which never lost a match
and still only came fifth. As soon as he got back to England, Colets’ team
manager Dave Peck signed up French number one and world number 13 Thierry
Lincou to head up his team for the new season.


Yeeees! Gotta hand it to the Dutch, when they run a tournament, they do it
properly. In fact the way they
are carrying on, you could almost imagine a squash boom is taking place. Strangely,
far from being a new squash nation, Squash Bond Nederland was founded in 1938.
They gave the world of squash Philip van der Ven, now chief honcho at the
European Squash Federation, but they have also given us the all- transparent
foldable court.

Erik Cooyman, the man who owns Meersquash,
runs a super club, ten glass-back courts and great food. It was he, with two
other club owners have shown great vision in financing the Dutch promotional
court, a marvellous contraption that can be folded up, stuck on a back of
a truck and delivered to a beach, a city square or a football ground. Within
two hours the court is unfolded, up and ready to play. And it is built like
a tank, metal girders all over the place. Now this does restrict viewing somewhat
and the lighting is a little weak, but as Erik told me: “It wasn’t built for
top squash. We use it to promote squash anywhere we can. Novices can play
in muddy boots and it doesn’t matter if it rains when we have it in the open

Despite Meersquash’s fine courts, the
organisers hired some indoor space in the neighbouring Arnoldspark tennis
facility and unfolded their unique court. Yes, the players said it had its
faults but to a man -and woman- they loved the idea of a showcourt for their
matches. If you are interested in the court, the Dutch Squash Association
will be happy to send you information. (31) 79 361 5400 or e-mail: squashbond@wxs.nl


The biggest squash club in England, as far as I know has got 12 courts. Patti
Pollard, one of the organisers in Hoofddorp, says that there are plans to
build a 21 court club in the middle of Amsterdam. Would this be the largest
squash club in the world? If you know of any club or centre with more courts,
e-mail me at Squashtalk. I would really like to know which is the world’s
largest squash club.


Carol Owens is the best Australian player on the WISPA circuit, but actually
lives and owns a house in Auckland, New Zealand. She likes the life there
and the fact that there are tournaments almost every weekend and she gets
to play and beat the men, keeping her sharp. After listening to her less than
favorable comments about the way she has been treated by the Australian squash
authorities, I can’t help but wonder whether she will give this upcoming World
teams a miss and take up New Zealand citizenship to play for New Zealand.
Leilani Joyce and Carol Owens as part of a 3-player team? Dynamite.


While we’re on changing flags, now that Natalie Grainger, world number five,
has found true love in St. Louis, Missouri, will the South African, who moved
to England just last year and is about to move to the US, continue with her
plans to play for England (she will be eligible in 2001)? Or come to that,
will she take US citizenship and play under the Stars and Stripes? Imagine
Grainger teamed with the Khan sisters…not a bad team for the world champs
in, say, 2002 eh?


In the October rankings Simon Parke has been rewarded for his terrific
form over the last twelve months by replacing Ahmed Barada as world number
three. Strangely, he lost to both David Palmer and Olli Tuominen in the
European Club championships and then jetted off to Robert Graham’s invitational
tournament in Santa Barbara, where he lost to Martin Heath. What sort
of preparation is this for
the British Open
? Don’t get me wrong Palmer and Heath are players
of enormous talent, capable of upsetting the best of them. But I just
wonder whether Parke is saving himself for a supreme effort at this most
prestigious of titles. While he has won most of the laurels in the sport,
he has yet to win the British or World Open titles. If he did repeat his
US Open feat of beating both Power and Nicol, and win the
British Open title
, there isn’t be a man or woman in squash who wouldn’t
stand up and cheer until they were hoarse.



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