Squash club at the top of its game from the grassroots up

SQUASH SQUAD Tournament winners and sponsors at the club

THE LOCAL squash club’s top player, who travels from Brighton to play in Tunbridge Wells, recently won against an international player ranked over 100 places higher than him thanks to club support from the ground up.

Hosting the Colin Payne Kent Open on January 11-14, Tunbridge Wells Squash Rackets Club was treated to a high standard of international play.

The event, which was part of the PSA (Professional Squash Association) Challenger Tour Open, brought 32 professional players from 16 nations to the town.

Noah Meredith beat Temwa Chileshe of New Zealand in the quarter-finals and the top-seeded Valentin Rapp of Germany in the semis, before finally losing to Wales international Owain Taylor after a five-set battle.

But he stressed that it was fan and financial support from club members that got him to that final against very stiff opposition.

“The support from the gallery definitely helped me across the line in some tough battles against world-class players,” Mr Meredith said.

“Some of my Tunbridge Wells team-mates are supporting me financially and helping me to compete in more international tournaments.”

With the Tour mostly taking place in squash clubs – which are in decline nationally – the local environment, from young players to serious players and sponsors, is ‘crucial’, said the organiser, top national promoter Alan Thatcher.

“Traditional clubs are just about hanging on,” he told the Times.

“As a promoter, my job is bridging the gap between the grassroots and the professionals.

“It’s lovely to see Tunbridge Wells working so hard on the game, and lovely to see the young players engaging with the pros.

“Tunbridge Wells has a thriving junior section with more than 50 youngsters,” he added.

Underlining the local contribution made by sponsors Kent-based 501 Fun, Alan said another tournament he had tried to organise in Brighton fell through due to lack of funding.

One of the club coaches, Phoebe Colman also competed in the women’s tournament, which was won by Torrie Malik from Sussex, who beat Scotland international Alison Thomson.



TUNBRIDGE Wells Squash Rackets Club is continuing to invest in its players from the early years by becoming part of the new England Squash Stars programme, which is aimed at children aged between five and nine.

The London Road-based club starts offering the six-week programme from this February, teaching children the fundamental skills for the game.

Coaches will help them improve their hand-eye coordination and all-round physical literacy, as well as working on important life skills such as resilience and teamwork.

According to England Squash, the game is widely considered the highest intensity participation sport played anywhere in the world.

Joanna Rowbottom, England Squash’s head of partnerships and programmes, said: “Squash is a fantastic sport and a great way to help young people get active.

“Squash Stars is suitable for everyone – it doesn’t matter how much or how little sport children have done before. There are friendly, welcoming clubs and coaches ready to help your child get started and enjoy the benefits of this amazing sport.”

The six-week programme costs £42 and includes a free racket, Squash Stars t-shirt, ball, goggles and kit bag.

Squash Stars booking is open at: squashstars.co.uk

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