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Score
revisited:
… and WISPA doings …

GLOBAL GALLERY March 2002
Martin Bronstein’s astigmatic view of the world
of squash.

© 2002 All rights reserved.
photos © 2002, D Tessier, R Beck and V Winchell


WHAT IS THIS WITH WISPA AND THE UNITED
STATES?

It suddenly struck me: there were a lot of WISPA results coming out of
the US. Well just how many tournaments are there for the world’s top women
players ?

Carol Owens has been
hot on the USA leg of the WISPA tour © 2002 D Tessier

For the first ten months of this year I counted
ten WISPAS tournaments covering a whole lot of miles: Philly, Hartford,
Southport, New York, Houston, Vasser, Salt Lake, San Francisco, Las Vegas
and Seattle. Total prize money being close to $250,000.

Now for a country that ain’t reckoned as a
squash country, that is really not bad going. England, the home of squash,
can’t even hope to compete with either the number of tournaments or the
prize money. Was the USA, I wondered, the leading country for WISPA tournaments?
I rang WISPA’s head honcho Andrew Shelley to find out. He wasn’t there.
He was in the States.

KNOWING THE SCORES
It was back in 1998 in Princeton during the world junior men’s champs
that Lawrence McGrath, the Brazilian coach, said (and I paraphrase his
words) ‘How can squash expect to be taken seriously when we use two different
scoring systems, two different tin heights and we run world championships
where only half the teams can win the title?’

Well it was during a managers’ meeting in Princeton
that the last point was firmly addressed. They voted unanimously to change
the format of world championships so that any team has the possibility
of winning the title, regardless of ranking. Simply any team that wins
all its matches becomes world champion.

Before then, countries ranked in the lower
half could not. From that recommendation in 1998 the WSF went through
all the motions and the format has now changed. As for the height of the
tin, well, that is the easiest part of the squash court to change – just
add or subtract a two-inch strip of wood.

But the scoring.

Ah, the scoring.

The debate has been going on now for almost
90 years and while the PSA has changed to point-a-rally, almost everything
else is still being played in the traditional hand-in method. (WISPA members
are very firm about wanting to remain in the traditional mold.) But the
World Squash Federation are worried and they are anxious to ‘act as positively
as possible to unify scoring sytem for squash worldwide as the use of
both point-a-rally and standard scoring are creating confusion in the
world of squash.’

So they have set up a Task Force under Joyce
Buckley who will consult with WISPA and PSA to make recommendations for
the 2003 AGM. Nobody, it seems, bothers to mention doubles, which is also
p-a-r to 15, a system which has always been used both in the US and the
rest of the world. Now it is unlikely that doubles will change, and to
unify the entire game of squash, it seems logical to opt for the p-a-r
system.

Any differences in play using the different
systems are imaginary. The Cardiff Institute under Mike Hughes did a study
analysing a number of matches under both systems. Neither system used
more attacking squash; there was very little difference in the number
of shots per rally, although he did find that p-a-r produced more winners.

I wonder if Ms. Buckley and her Task Force
will bother talking to Mr. Hughes, or look at his findings… or talk
to NISRA, the USA college organization — they’ve just switched back
to the nine point system after several years of p-a-r play.

WHY TWO SERVES?
And while we are at the rules thing, the final rules for Doubles will
be circulated by the WSF this month. Server still gets two chances – another
variation from singles. When we all started playing singles squash, hand
in had two chances at a good serve, but they changed that rule. Why, I
wonder, did they not change it for doubles? And one more point: if tennis
changed to one serve, just look how much time would be saved as well as
ridding the game of two-stroke rallies.

HAIKU? HAIKU YOU TOO
Very disappointed at the entries for my Squash Haiku competition. There
I was thinking that Squashtalk readers were literate, creative and imaginative
and would jump at the chance of showing the benefits of Engl. Lit. degrees
and all I get is three entries.

There has to be at least ten entries to make
a competition of it. So…here are the rules: Three lines, 17 syllables.
Five syllables in the first, seven in the second and five in the third.
Here is another example from my Japanese-type computer. This one rhymes,
but Haiku is usually blank. A match I must win I tell my foe, it’s no
sin To hit ball at tin. Entries close March 31st.

CORBY VS PSA
The stand-off between Mike Corby and the PSA continues. He refuses to
pay the registration fee to PSA and WISPA to ensure that the British Open
are ranking tournaments. The PSA has advised members not to play. The
members are going to play anyway. Shrewd Andrew Shelley has taken a different
tack giving Corby his full support and writing in the WISPA newsletter:
“WISPA has played its part by moving forward with a full ranking event,
and placing any issues of payment on the back burner until everything
is in place.” That’s a very clever move: even if the registration never
gets paid, Shelley can always mollify other promoters by saying it is
the British Open and deserves a helping hand.


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