2011 has undoubtedly been a fantastic year for Midlands Squash. Firstly I would like to thank all the MSU committee members for their tremendous effort and hard work and for giving so freely of their time in the service of squash. They are a remarkable team of administrators, and without their commitment and dedication to squash we would not have achieved so much. I am extremely proud of my committee and it has been a pleasure to have served along side each one of them.
Since my last newsletter a lot has happened in Midlands Squash which I would like to briefly update you on – a more detailed report of the year’s activities will be delivered in my chairman’s report at the MSU AGM. The AGM is scheduled for the 23rd January 2012 at 18h00 at the MSU offices at the Collegians Squash complex. Everyone is most welcome to attend and notice of this will in terms of our constitution be sent out shortly calling for nominations of office bearers. All the members of the 2011 MSU committee have made themselves available for re-election next year.
The MSU office will close for the festive season on Thursday the 15th December 2011 and will re-open on Monday the 09th January 2012. I think Rennisha is looking forward to the break and I would like to thank her for her loyal support and the contribution she has made to squash. The acquisition of Rennisha as the secretary of Midlands Squash has proven to be a wise choice and she continues to grow and flourish in this position. She is forever willing to assist where she can and is well liked amongst the Midlands players as she has such a cheerful and pleasant demeanour. I am hoping she will be able to take on even more next year and thus relieve me and other committee members of some more squash work.
If you are reading this email from your club’s notice board and would like to receive correspondence/ newsletters directly from the MSU office then please kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and squash club and we will gladly add you to the database.
Our sincere thanks to Angelos Christodoulou of Accpick for kindly agreeing to sponsor our website again in 2012. Our website address is www.midlandssquash.co.za
We sincerely appreciate the support Angelos gives to Midlands Squash. We are currently looking at an electronic format for recording the winter league fixtures directly on our website in future. Briefly it entails the captains of the home side inputting/recording the club names, together with the player’s names and scores of the fixture for that week, and once ratified by the opposing captain, it is then automatically captured and the overall log updated. The system is used in Gauteng, Northerns and KZN Squash. Incidentially KZN Squash have now elected to do away with handbooks as all the fixtures are on their website. If the MSU was to follow in the same footsteps it would save the MSU a great deal on printing costs, postage licence and paper, not to mention time and offers tremendous possibilities for advertising on our website. If we are to introduce this system in 2012 we will continue, for the time being, to have scorecards that can be dropped off in the official MSU post boxes, posted to our box number, faxed to us or scanned and emailed to the MSU office.
It was with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Ian Dixon after a long illness with cancer, an illness he fought with such courage and determination. Ian had dedicated his life to the service of squash and leaves behind a legacy in the squash museum he had the vision to create and establish. Ian’s funeral was well attended and testimony to the wonderful man and friend he was to so many squash players. Our sincere condolences to June, Lesley, Gill and all their families. I will miss our chats my friend - rest in peace you “old fart.”
DAVE SHORT MASTERS INTERPROVINCIAL TOURNAMENT
This tournament took place from the 3 - 5 June 2011. The entry fee was reduced by 25% from the previous year and this resulted in entries increasing from 34 teams to 42 teams this year. We had an additional 4 ladies teams participating from Midlands, South Coast, Easterns and Northerns. We also welcomed back Northern Freestate and Northerns had the biggest entry with 8 teams, one more than they had last year. In total 12 provinces participated. Midlands had two more teams than last year. Despite the reduced entry fee we still managed to make a 100% increase on the profit made from the 2010 tournament. This was a fantastic achievement and my thanks to Gail, Dave, Rob, Andrew and Rennisha for their contribution and hard work in ensuring the success of this tournament. Already we have had enquiries for the 2012 tournament from teams and players that did not participate this year, so we have decided in all probability to restrict the tournament to 250 players. The 2012 tournament will be held a week later due to the Comrades Marathon being held on the first weekend of June. The dates will be the 08th to the 10th June 2012.
JARVIS/KAPLAN CUP TEAMS
At the Jarvis/Kaplan Cup tournament in East London our Men’s and Ladies team were placed in 4th and 3rd position respectively in the B sections and Midlands once again won the Most Organised Province Award for the second year running. Well done Bugsy.
MASTERS SINGLES INTERPROVINCIAL
This tournament took place in Port Elizabeth from the 2 - 8 September 2011.
800 players in total participated. We took 4 men’s teams and 2 ladies teams, one more men's side than last year. Our congratulations are extended to our ladies 45B team (Linda Widlake, Cathy Jackson, Janine Talbot, Debbie Ralfe and Wendy Hoffman) on winning their section. It really was a most enjoyable tournament and our thanks to Gail Howes on putting this all together so magnificently as always. Yours truly was awarded the Leo Melville Memorial Award - an award for someone who in the opinion of the selection committee has significantly contributed to the development, growth and enjoyment of Squash in South Africa. A collage of photos from the tournament is on display in the foyer outside the MSU office.
MASTERS IPT SOCIAL
Prior to departing for the Masters Singles IPT, a Masters social evening and braai for all those playing in the Masters Singles and Doubles IPT’s was held on Friday, the 19th August at Collegians. We had 29 players participate and it was a most enjoyable evening of squash, with great camaraderie amongst fellow touring players.
MEDI CLINIC WINTER LEAGUE
The winter league prize giving was held at Lynwood Squash on Friday 14th October. It really was a fitting end to the season and our congratulations are extended to all the winning teams. All the trophies have been sent for engraving of all the 2011 winners names. We had about 170 players in attendance and the décor and food was outstanding. In particular I would like to thank Cathy Jackson, Andy and Kelly Bone and Sandy Pieters for all their hard work in ensuring the success of the evening. A lovely atmosphere prevailed and was a wonderful occasion to acknowledge yet sadly bring down the curtain on over a decade of support and sponsorship from Medi Clinic. We presented them with a stunning piece of art from Andy Bone which we hope will take its proud place in the boardroom or reception of Medi Clinic. It was also an occasion to acknowledge the input made by past administrators for years of service to Midlands Squash and certificates were presented to Sharon Potgieter, Garth Douglas, Graham Rusk and a special mention of Warwick Weedon for 25 years service to Midlands Squash – he richly deserved his standing ovation. Our congratulations also to the following prize winners for 2011:
Most Improved Female Squash Player – Kerry Koller
Most Improved Male Squash Player – Ryan Neumann
Club of the Year – Collegians Squash Club
Ian Dixon Award for Service to Squash – Mike Short
Gill Weedon Award for the Best Overall Performance by a Club – Greytown.
Squash SA Honors Award – Ravi Govender and Bongani Khumalo.
A collage of photographs from the evening is also on display in the foyer outside the MSU office.
Our Midlands ladies team are to be commended on winning the Durban Ladies 1st league. In addition they won the award for the best overall performance by any team in all the Ladies leagues.
MASTERS DOUBLES INTERPROV
This took place in Durban from the 9 - 12 November 2011. We had a record number, a total of 38 players participate. It too was a most enjoyable tournament although the prize giving was a little long and tedious. My thanks are extended to Trevor Fryer for spearheading the organisation of this event, together with his committee of Cathy, Gail, Andy and Rory – well done everyone.
MASTERS SPRING LEAGUE
This tournament was a resounding success and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who participated. We introduced a doubles component to each team which saw entries increase from 60 to 72 players. It was held every Monday night from the 24th October to 28th November 2011 at the Hilton College squash courts. The MSU ran the bar and I would like to thank Greg Walters for assisting in this regard and also to thank Angelos Christodoulou for providing a superb meal each week at what I think is a very affordable and reasonable price. As I mentioned earlier Angelos is always only too happy to assist us where he can and has got this catering down to a fine art, and I firmly believe this tournament would not be the same were it not for his input and contribution. It was therefore only fitting that Angelos be awarded the Bert Rice Memorial Award for service to Masters Squash. Congratulations Angelos. We had 68 players attend the prize giving dinner in the cricket pavilion at Hilton College, which Midlands Squash subsidised – a jovial spirit prevailed amongst all the players and already it seems there is going to be a greater demand for entries next year. Preference will be given to those members that have paid their Masters subscription for 2012. All this would not have been possible were it not for the huge effort Cathy Jackson put in to ensuring everyone had fun and enjoyed themselves. It really was a showcase for Masters Squash so well done Cathy.
REPS MEETING - 2012
This will be held on Monday the 20th February 2012 at 18h00 at the MSU offices at the Collegians Squash complex. League entry forms for 2012 will be sent out next year on the 09th January 2012 and will be required to be returned to the MSU office by Friday the 10th February 2012. The deadline for player clearance certificates is the 31st January 2012.
In 2012 two players from every league team entered into the 2012 winter league must attend a marking clinic in order for your club to gain entry of such teams into the 2013 season. Craig Sadler in conjunction with Squash SA is in the process of organising a marking clinic for Monday the 27th February 2012. More details will follow shortly. Craig Sadler is to be congratulated on receiving his national colours for marking and refereeing and being invited to attend the World Squash Marking and Refereeing Conference in Germany in August this year.
At schools level 2011 saw Epworth School winning the girls section of the SA Top Schools tournament for the 18th time out of 27 appearances – a remarkable achievement. Of the 6 KZN Schools boy’s teams selected to play in the Schools Inter - Provincial tournaments, 16 boys were from Pmb, whilst of the 6 KZN Schools girls teams all but one was from Pmb. Our congratulations are extended to Daniel Smith, Jonno Esteves, Julie Lee, Cayleigh Conradie and Nadia Ramchandra on obtaining SA Schools rankings in their relevant age groups and a special mention of Julie Lee who was selected to represent South Africa at the World Junior Squash Championships in the USA in July.
Incidentally Midlands Squash paid out nearly R20000-00 in junior player assistance, sponsorship of Imbali within our league, not to mention another R14000-00 received from the Department of Sport and Recreation for development programmes at Imbali and Protea Squash Clubs this year.
Imbali Squash Club have found a new home at the Alex High School squash courts and at the beginning of 2012 the courts walls will be cleaned, the floors lightly sanded and all the light tubes and fittings repaired. We are hoping that Summer League will use these courts and Bongani Khumalo is to be congratulated for his vision, dedication to the upliftment and continued coaching of previous disadvantaged pupils and for securing this facility. Midlands Squash continues to support the development and promotion of squash wherever we are able to.
I am pleased to report that Richard Knowles has agreed to sponsor the Midlands Champs again next year. We are currently looking for a sponsor for the winter league and are in the process of approaching some potential sponsors but should you or your company be interested then please contact the MSU office on 033-3422204. The Masters Singles IPT will be held in East London next year, the Masters Doubles IPT in Eastern Gauteng and Jarvis/Kaplan Cup in Pretoria. All the dates will be ratified at the Reps meeting before being distributed to everyone.
Finally I would like to thank all the squash players from the Midlands Squash fraternity for your continued support and participation in our tournaments etc. It is you the players that makes this all worthwhile and contributes to make the game of squash that we all so love so great. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a blessed Christmas with family and friends and a Happy New Year.
I look forward to seeing you all next year at the start of the season with Summer League starting on Thursday the 19th January 2012.
Yours in Squash
Chairman - Midlands Squash Union