... referees respond ... Cassie's back ...
Global Gallery, November
Martin Bronstein, the most respected Squash
Journalist today, reviews a new book on American Squash.
© 2003 All rights
reserved. photos © 2003, Suashtalk, D. Tessier,
ALL CREDIT TO PACE
Probably the best news John Nimick has had all year is the word that the
sponsor of this year's Canadian Classic, Pace Savings & Credit Union,
announced that they will take up the option for the next two years. This
means this is one tournament where Nimick can sleep easy, after the
difficulties of tying down name sponsors for the US Open, the Tournament
Champions and the British Open.
When this year's Canadian Classic
finished, Pace had sixty days to decide
whether they wanted to carry on; the event was so successful, that the
decision was made in about sixty seconds.
Despite the fact that Pace
was brought in with only two months notice,
Nimick and his very experienced crew got the show on the road in record
and such was the anticipation of Jonathon Power and Peter Nicol in another
face off, tickets flew out the window. The first night at BCE Place was
sold and after that you needed friends in high places to get tickets.
of that Power won a home-town victory sending the Canadians home in very
Next year the prize money will rise to $50,000 which means
that there will
be five days at BCE Place instead of four. And that means all first round
matches can be played on the glass court. This year half of them were
in clubs, which is not popular with the players who have to play there.
OPEN IN NOVEMBER?
Open could take place in November 2004; should this happen (and
Beddington and Nimick are in serious talks with a major sponsor) it could
mean a wholesale shuffling of dates with the Canadian Open moving to
mid-November and the Canadian Classic pushed into January 2005. Remember,
wrote 'could' not 'would'.
POWER, LAWYER AT COURT
One of my favourite bits of reading is The Squash Offical, from Squash
Canada, edited by Barry Faguy. He collects some fine quotes from various
games such as this one form the Canadian nationals.
"During the Power/ Viktor
Berg match, Berg is arguing with the referee Zal
Davar. As the discussion goes on, Power says to Berg 'I'm not the one
arguing the call, but if you want some help, I'm better at it'."
there's sportsmanship for you.
(Incidentally, throughout the
Canadian Nationals there were referee
announcements imploring people to run off their mobile phones. During
game, a phone rings and the owner answers it. The owner was the referee.)
DID NICOL LOSE IN TORONTO?
Blame it on the trains. Or perhaps lack of planning on the part of Nicol
and John White. They were in New York and thought they could just hop
plane to Toronto, a mere 40 minute jet ride. Well, seems they left it
last minute and rumours have it they were asked for $1500 for a one way
ride. So they told the airlines to stuff it up their jet pipes and took
train. Much cheaper. Except the journey took 13 hours. And the Brits think
their train service is bad!
My piece in last month's Gallery imploring referee's to move to the front
wall got Graham Waters, the Canadian referee, boiling. Oh, he agrees with
on the move but when I wrote that the refs should not allow themselves
placed so far behind the back wall, he blew his stack. "We don't
want to sit
so far back, but we have no option. The promoters tell us where to sit
while we argue the point, we finally have to sit where we are told."
He actually watched some of the Canadian Classic matches through the front
wall and while he agreed that there were a couple of points the match
referee got wrong, Waters still insists that the only way to officiate
squash match is high over the back wall, just like in the good old days
bricks and mortar. Ah well…..will I ever win this argument?
PROMOTER SHOULD HAVE A LOLLY GILLEN
What's a Lolly Gillen? It's actually the name of Event Engine's promotion
manager in Toronto. The fact is that the Canadian Classic almost didn't
take place this year. The YMG sponsorship had come to an end and John
had decided that without a name sponsor, the tournament would take a year
off. He was putting the trophy back into mothballs when he heard that
had found some lolly. (Cockney slang for money). She had approached Pace
Credit Union, who were sponsoring some minor Canadian stuff, and suggested
they get into the big time and they said yes. Just like that. So they
tournament was back on again, all due to the persistence of Ms Gillen.
me tell you, Lolly working with Melissa Winstanley make a formidable team.
COOL ON WATERS
Another quote from the Canadian Nationals with Graham Ryding trailing
in the first game of the men's final; he disagrees with a Graham Waters
decision and says "You cost me the game".
REDUCE DOUBLES BETTING
It has been nearly 25 years since I attended the Cambridge Doubles at
Cambridge Club in downtown Toronto. That year the Calcutta betting pool
reached $180,000. Owners of the winning team (Ralph Howe & Peter Briggs)
took sixty percent of the pot, that's a cool $108,000. The players normally
get 'rewarded' by the owners, at least 10% of their winnings. Which means
Briggs & Howe split around ten grand. Bet that was their best pay
In the mid-80's the Calcutta got up to nearly $300,000 and I can promise
you, when there is that much money on the line, the atmosphere during
final can but cut with an axe.
This year, the pot was a mere
$90,000. Some say it is the economy - although
the Canadian economy right now is very strong. The probably reason is
half the players in the six teams are from the PSA softball circuit. Now
the past, the players were all experienced hardball players, so the punters
knew the odds. But when you suddenly throw in the likes of Graham Ryding,
Paul Price, Mark Chaloner, Martin Heath and Joe Kneipp, nobody really
how they will perform. Last year Stu Boswell was on the winning team and
took home $8,000 his biggest pay day to date.
This year seasoned observers
watching the third place playoff, in which
Price and Chaloner featured, reckoned that the softballers performed better
than the hardballers, because they were doing more with the ball.
Winners this year were Gary Waite, the best player to come out of Canada
before Jonathon Power, and Martin Heath, who is now a Toronto resident.
Waite thinks Heath has a big future in the hardball doubles circuit (now
notching up about $750,00 a year in prize money).
Let me say this: If they every
buy their own glass court (longer and
wider than a normal court) hardball doubles could pull in the crowds.
fast, explosive with very few dull rallies.
OUT STELLA, HERE COMES WAITE
Frank Stella is a great American painter, who loves squash and has produced
some marvellous posters for tournaments. Gary Waite is a squash player
loves painting. Waite, ranked two on the doubles circuit behind his partner
Damien Mudge, now spends his time between tournament painting, He tells
that he hopes to have his first exhibition next year. I hope it coincides
with the Cambridge Doubles and the Canadian Classic - and that he gets
paint the posters.
CANADA, BOO WSF
Some of you may have noticed a distinct smell of maple leaf syrup to my
column. Which is why I am just a little cheesed off with the WSF. Both
Canada and the Netherlands bid for the 2004 World Women’s Team Championship
At the last AGM , the meeting and the delegates awarded the event to
Netherlands, by a simple majority.
What is wrong with those people?
The last Women's World Team champs was held
in Denmark. Netherlands is not that far away, so why in the same part
the globe on successive championships? And when was the last time Canada
hosted a world champs?
In the December rankings Cassie Jackman is back up to number two ready
take over from Carol Owens should the Kiwi make the slightest slip. Let
put on record how glad I am to see Cassie back up there; after two
operations on her lower back, and times when she thought she would never
a squashball again, Cassie has shown tremendous courage and determination
making such a successful return. Mark my words, she will win the British
Open before she retires.