FOR DISTRIBUTION TO ALL CLUB MEMBERS AND DISPLAY ON CLUB NOTICE BOARDS PLEASE!!
2012 has been another busy and successful year for Midlands Squash, and there has been a lot that has happened over the last few months, since my last newsletter earlier this year, to report back to you on.
TIME FREIGHT WINTER LEAGUE
The Time Freight Winter League ended on the 27th of September. I hope everyone enjoyed the squash and had as much fun as I did. It was good to welcome back a side from Cedara, as well as for the first time a girl’s school team from St Annes and a ladies team from Protea Squash Club. Other than a few problems here and there I think everything went off exceptionally well. My congratulations are extended to all the winning league teams. Remember for next year, that there is no automatic promotion or relegation between 1st and 2nd league, but that in terms of our rules the top two sides in every other league are eligible for promotion should they elect to move up, in which event the bottom two sides of the leagues above face relegation. The Time Freight winter league prize giving diner and dance was held at Collegians Club on Friday the 12th October 2012 and my thanks are extended to Collegians Squash Club for hosting yet another memorable evening. Some 160 people were in attendance. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Etienne Van Ravesteyn and Time Freight for their valued support and sponsorship, and trust that through the league book, scorecards, newspaper reports, MSU website, emails, hand towels, water bottles, licence disc holders, tog bags given to the Masters IPT players, Dave Short tournament shirts and the prizes they sponsored for all the winning league teams that they have got the exposure and coverage they so richly deserve, and I look forward to our continued association in 2013 to our mutual benefit. Our congratulations are extended to Collegians Squash Club – Club of the Year 2102, Ricolyn Govender - Most Improved Male 2012, Kay Meyrick - Most Improved Female 2012, Rory Whitfeld - Ian Dixon Award for Service to Midlands Squash 2012 and Epworth - Best Overall Performance by a Club 2012.
During 2012, it is a requirement of the MSU that two players from every team entered into winter league must attend a marking clinic in order for that club to gain their team entries into the 2013 winter league. In an effort to improve marking and refereeing even further, the committee decided that should two players from each team not only attend a marking clinic but also write and pass the level 2 marking exam, then in such an event that team will not only receive entry into the 2013 winter league season but will pay the same league fees in 2013 as is applicable to the 2012 league. In other words such team or teams will not be subject to the league fee increase for the 2013 season.
The MSU marking clinic was held on Monday the 14th May in the gallery at the Collegians Squash complex, and was well attended by some 214 league players, of which 126 players wrote the level 2 marking exam. Regretfully there are still some clubs that have not fulfilled their marking clinic requirements for 2012, and unless this situation is rectified in the next month or two, such clubs will be unable to enter those teams into winter league in 2013. The good news is that Craig Sadler will be holding a final marking clinic towards the end of October/early November, so I suggest those clubs that have not qualified contact him (Cell: 082 491 4053) so that they can rectify their situation and qualify for league next year.
MASTERS SINGLES IPT
This tournament was held recently in East London from the 07th – 12th September 2012. Some 700 players participated and Midlands sent 4 men’s teams and 2 ladies teams. As always the squash was competitive and a lot of fun was had amongst the Midlands players. Midlands Squash were awarded the most organised province for the third consecutive year, a notable achievement, and my thanks are extended to Gail Howes who put this all together so magnificently as usual. Next years tournament will be held in Pretoria.
Prior to departing for the Masters Singles IPT, a social evening and braai for all those Masters players playing in the Singles and Doubles IPT’s, was held on Friday, the 17th August 2012 at Collegians. We had 30 players participated and it was a most enjoyable evening of squash, with great camaraderie amongst fellow touring players.
The senior ladies and men’s inter-provincial tournament, known as the Jarvis/Kaplan Cup was held in Pretoria during the month of July. Unfortunately due to regular players within our ladies team being unavailable as a result of either being pregnant, preparing for an impending wedding or studying, it was felt that we would not be able to field a competitive ladies team this year, and so a decision was taken not to send a ladies team. Two weeks before the start of the tournament, Mick Gouweloos injured his shoulder, and had to withdraw from the men’s side. This proved to be a big blow, and his presence at the number three position within the team was hugely missed and despite a valiant effort by the remaining team members, Midlands face relegation to the C section next year. Given the tremendous support Midlands Squash have given these players over the last few years, I hope the team will rally together and fight to restore Midlands back to the B section again next year. The team was Justin Gouweloos ©. Alan McGuigan, Mark Gouweloos, Steve Darch and Andrew Brown. The team manager was Craig Buxton-Forman. It was not all gloom and doom, as Midlands Squash were awarded the trophy for the third consecutive year, for the Most Organised Province, testimony to the great work that is done by Bugsy within Midlands Squash.
REALISE ACADEMIES MIDLANDS CLOSED CHAMPIONSHIPS
This tournament was held from Sunday the 06th May to Thursday the 10th May 2012. Our goal prior to the tournament was to not only maintain the Men’s A, B & C and Ladies A & B sections from last year, but to try and re-introduce a Men's D section this year for the lower league players, which would be specifically for players from 7th, 8th and 9th league. Well I am pleased to report that we not only achieved this goal but we had enough players to have an eight man E section draw. In total we had 104 players participate. This truly is encouraging as this represents a tournament encompassing all Midlands players and not just the top players. An interesting fact is that with 106 league teams this year and 104 players playing in the champs, means that nearly 25% of all league players participated in this tournament – absolutely fantastic. Andrew Pratt and Tracey Schwegmann are to be commended on a brilliant effort in putting this tournament together, as well as for their comprehensive daily reports.
What was also encouraging, was not only the sporting manner in which the games were played, but the huge turnout (80 players) we had at the braai on the Wednesday evening after all the runner up and plate finals had been played at Collegians and the almost full gallery at the finals on Thursday night, followed by the prize giving and a most enjoyable cocktail party thereafter. Our congratulations are extended to Justin Gouweloos and Nadia Ramchandra, the men’s and ladies Midland’s champions for 2012. I would like to thank Richard Knowles of Realise Academies for sponsoring this tournament once again, and look forward to his involvement again next year.
Congratulations to both Michaelhouse and Epworth on winning the boys and girl’s section respectively of the SA Top Schools tournament, held at the beginning of August at Epworth School. This is the 1st time Michaelhouse have won this tournament, yet the 19th time Epworth has won this tournament in 28 years, since its inception – a remarkable achievement I am sure Epworth are very proud of. Of the 6 KZN Schools boys and girls teams selected to play in the U14, U16 and U19 age groups at the Schools Inter - Provincial tournaments, 67% of the players, being 14 boys and 26 girls, were from Midlands Schools. Our congratulations are extended to Daniel Smith and Nadia Ramchandra in the U19 age group, Kenyon Smith and Michael Greig in the U16 age group and Anele Ngubane, Noel Lee and Ana Chemaly in the U14 age group on obtaining SA Schools rankings.
Midlands Squash paid out just short of R33000-00 in junior player assistance this year, sponsored not only Imbali, but also the Protea ladies team within our winter league, and sponsored our men’s and ladies team to playing in the Durban 1st league.
DAVE SHORT MASTERS INTERPROVINCIAL TOURNAMENT
This year marked the 25th anniversary of this tournament. Due to the Comrades Marathon being run on Sunday the 03rd of June, the DSIPT committee decided to stage the tournament a week later and it was played in Pietermaritzburg on the weekend of the 8th – 10th of June 2012, and once again was a resounding success. As the entry fee was kept the same as last year, this resulted in a further increase in entries from 42 teams last year to 48 teams this year, being some 243 players from 14 provinces throughout South Africa. We welcomed back Freestate to the tournament and North West Province for the first time. Midlands had the most teams, with 10 teams, three teams more than the previous year. To mark the 25th anniversary, the founding committee and past committee members who have served on previous DSIPT committees, together with the President of Squash SA were invited to the formal dinner on Saturday night. Time Freight also partially sponsored the shirts, which have been so well received they we seen being worn by players not only at the Masters Singles IPT in East London, but by players playing in the World Masters championships held in Birmingham, London the week before the start of the Olympic games in July. Despite keeping the entry fee the same as last year, I am pleased to report that we were still managed with some careful budgeting to make almost the same profit to what we made in 2011, which is another fantastic achievement. For next year the committee has decided to restrict entries to 250 players or 50 teams. My thanks are extended to the DSIPT committee, comprising Dave Short, Rob Van Heerden, Andrew Pratt, Gail Howes and Rennisha for all their time and hard work in ensuring the success of this tournament once again.
INTER TOWN SQUASH
We again in conjunction with KZN Squash and KZN Masters Squash held the Inter - Town Squash tournament at Westville Squash courts on Saturday the 24th March 2012. The players participating increased slightly from 35 players last year to 42 players this year. Despite losing to Durban again, what I think is more important is the good relations that have been formed between our two provinces, and the great fun that was had both on and off the squash court and as always the supper afterwards was superb.
MASTERS SPRING LEAGUE
Due to the popularity of this tournament last year, it came as no surprise to me that we were oversubscribed this year. I thought what with the venue and limitation with courts we would be unable to accommodate anymore players, but to my surprise Cathy has created a stronger A section with 4 single matches and a doubles pairing and a slightly weaker B section with 5 singles matches and a doubles pairing, being a total of 78 players. Were we to play at two separate venues, we feel this will detract from the great time and fun had by everyone being all together. This tournament will be played on Monday evenings at the Hilton College squash courts, from Monday the 15th October until about the 19th November 2012, maybe even a week later? After match socializing will be at the courts where food and drinks will be available, and my thanks to Cathy Jackson for sorting out the teams, Greg Walters for assisting with the bar and Angelos Christodoulou for agreeing to handle the catering aspect once again, something that over the years he has perfected.
MASTERS DOUBLES IPT
This takes place in Eastern Gauteng from the 07th – 11th November 2012. Accommodation has been booked and paid for at the Birchwood Hotel where most of the functions will be held. We have 36 players participating and trust they will play good doubles squash and have a most enjoyable tournament. Next year marks the 10th anniversary of this tournament, which will be held in East London, where it originally started. My thanks to Trevor Fryer and his sub-committee for sorting out the pairings etc.
Many of you may not be aware that Mick has been selected for the 26th SA Knights Squash team to tour Scotland and the UK in December 2012 and January next year. Mick has been busy raising funds for this tour over the last few months, and I am certain knowing Mick as well as I do, that he would have thanked all those people personally for their generous contributions, which I know Mick is most grateful and thankful for. Whilst it is a very intensive tour with a lot of squash, I am sure the experience will stand Mick in good stead for his future squash years and that he will have an absolutely wonderful time. Bon Voyage Mick.
WORLD SQUASH DAY
This is an international event organised by the World Squash Federation, and is intended to show the popularity of squash worldwide, in support of squash’s bid to be included in the 2020 Olympics. This event will be played this Saturday at Collegians from 9am to 4pm. Clubs participating include Hilton Village, Collegians, Lynwood, VCC, Eston and MGC. Teams of 20 players will compete against each other in a match, including any warm up lasting 20 minutes. It should be a fun day. Midlands Squash will sponsor the court hire and lights.
Last week saw the start of the Gill Weedon Spring league with some 220 players participating every Wednesday night for the next 7 weeks until the 28th November 2012. Well done to Warwick, on this his 24th spring league tournament. I have no doubt it will be well run and a lot of fun will be had by everyone. I hope if you are playing that you will support your team and I look forward to seeing you each week at MGC for the after squash socialising.
I would also like to record my thanks to Angelos Christodoulou, Cathy Jackson, Janine Talbot and their respective companies for their support and sponsorship of various aspects of Midlands Squash.
I would also like to thank Rory Whitfeld for organising not only the Inter–club doubles tournament, but two other doubles tournaments all of which were played over a period of about 8 weeks each. Doubles certainly has gained in popularity over the years and played under the right conditions, particular where the teams are evenly matched, can prove to be as rewarding and in some cases longer in duration than a singles match. Well done Rory.
Finally the end of this year will see the conclusion of my term as Chairman of Midlands Squash. I appreciate the confidence you entrusted in me in electing me your Chairman, and I am pleased to have served Midlands Squash to the best of my ability. However I will be the first to admit that the successes we have achieved would not have been possible without the tremendous support of my committee. They are a remarkable team of administrators, who have worked hard, given freely of their time and always done everything with the best interests of Midlands Squash at heart. I believe your committee has created a strong foundation, set in place good business practices, and together with Rennisha as the MSU secretary, are well poised under new leadership next year to continue to take Midlands Squash from strength to strength.
Yours in Squash
Chairman - Midlands Squash Union