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HomeSquashSquash Junkies descend on Amsterdam for the sport’s final social gathering

Squash Junkies descend on Amsterdam for the sport’s final social gathering

The largest squash occasion on the planet on the Meersquash membership that Paul Coll and Nele Gilis name residence
By MIKE HEGARTY (Junkie addict and Squash Mad Correspondent)

Yearly on the finish of July, squash gamers from world wide collect in Amsterdam for the last word social squash match.

This 12 months was the return of the Junkie after a protracted enforced Covid break. Not solely that, it was additionally the delayed twenty fifth version of the match.

Amongst our rising neighborhood of regulars (addicts?) there was a desperation to get again on the market and get our repair. We knew this one could be additional particular.

Junkie is held at Meersquash and Exercise in Hoofddorp, a stone’s throw from Amsterdam. The membership is on the map because of Paul Coll and Nele Gilis, who famously name it residence.

Groups are shaped of six gamers, to incorporate a minimal two girls. This 12 months noticed entries capped at 24 groups nonetheless 31 have been seen beforehand.

It’s organised by Meersquash coach Jason and his spouse Mariska Morris, plus German Squash Affiliation President Michael Gaede and a staff of laborious working volunteers. The membership has a super setup, with 9 glass backed courts all sat round a horseshoe formed bar with plenty of room inside and outside.

The Junkie logos

I believe one of the simplest ways to hold this weblog on is to clarify it as my staff noticed it. We’re Staff Hermetic. We began as some mates from Scotland in search of a staff, ended up being paired with a gaggle from Glasgow Uni squash membership, having a blast and forming a staff from there. Alongside the best way someplace we met and purchased gamers from all around the world. After 9 years, Hermetic has grown to 4 full groups of all ages and talents.

Lodging is fairly versatile. Lots of gamers e book motels however so much select to camp within the membership automotive park for the total pageant expertise. It’s fairly noisy however you’re both concerned within the occasion or so able to sleep you don’t discover…

Gamers arrive via the week to catch up around the bars and canals however Thursday is when Junkie begins in earnest. Hermetic custom is boozy doubles on the courts earlier than the ‘completely satisfied hour’ begins. Junkie host Jason Morris delivers his customary welcome speech then rings the bell to sign an hour of free beer for everybody, all 170-ish gamers. Sensible welcome. The captains assembly adopted straight after that. Protected to say I didn’t soak up a lot data.

Friday morning begins with a qualification spherical involving Hermetic 3 and 4. Each groups qualify to the final 16. Hermetic 1 and a pair of have been seeded greater so averted the early begin!

Beth Grinsell (proper) in motion for Hermetic 1

The squash is all correct greatest of 5 matches till the Sunday morning, but it surely’s very a lot play laborious however truthful fairly than win in any respect prices. Only a few choices, respect your opponent, take pleasure in enjoying.

After one other spherical of squash matches on the Friday, the themed match occasion strikes out of the membership to a special location annually. We’ve had seaside events, boat excursions of Amsterdam, and a non-public rent of the higher flooring of Centraal Station amongst others.

This 12 months we have been on the Wereldrestaurant, which is an upmarket all you possibly can eat (and drink) buffet. That’s what you name a problem that each squash participant would relish! We have been then placed on coaches which took us into Amsterdam, the place a nightclub had been booked out for us.

‘Waking up in a tent within the automotive park, half-hour earlier than I’m due on court docket, just isn’t superb however the typical routine at Junkie…’

We have been handled to half time tour information Frank Goosens’ model of Amsterdam sightseeing, which was primarily abusing his team-mates, everybody else on the bus, and confessing to a love of aiming his bicycle at unsuspecting vacationers.

The evening in Amsterdam was sensible however messy. Membership Smokey on Rembrandtplein. It’s a packed, sweaty, rowdy little venue that nearly forces completely different teams to combine in with one another. It was all a bit an excessive amount of for organiser Jason.

We received the match bus again to the lodge / membership then stayed up within the automotive park until silly o’clock. I awoke the subsequent morning in a tent with a head like a home brick, half-hour earlier than my staff Hermetic 2 are enjoying the quarter finals in opposition to the highest seeds Casanovas pondering.. “Proper, this isn’t superb…”

Casanovas have been too robust regardless and took us out 4-2.

Hermetic 3 had a corker draw in opposition to German staff Stranger Hazard. The Hermetic pair of younger F&M Varsity participant Marco DiFilippo and lately former Wales junior Kieran Hillman performed Jaymie Haycocks and Luca Wilhelmi. Each drew a giant crowd as the standard of squash was superior.

Hermetic 1 gained within the morning then within the afternoon performed native staff Jason Morris Event Desk Please which noticed Nele Gilis enjoying No.1 place in each the men and women. One other huge crowd in the back of the court docket. Implausible to observe. Hermetic 1 win! Into the ultimate!!

Nele Gilis and Hermetic No.1 Sanjay Jeeva

Standings after Saturday have been that Hermetic 3 and 4 are proper within the thick of the spherical robin, enjoying for fifteenth and sixteenth in opposition to one another! Hermetic 2 are enjoying for fifth and Hermetic 1 are within the last!

Following on from the competitors matches we had a ‘lightning draw’ – three gamers from each staff, enjoying a single level per participant in a greatest of three factors competitors with a 100 euro prize for the successful staff. This was an awesome spectacle. The present court docket was packed out with gamers roaring and cheering each winner or tin. Someway, Hermetic 2 gained, beating Hermetic 3 within the last, with Hermetic 4 coming in third!!

The Saturday evening is a BBQ organised by Jason adopted by a elaborate costume occasion within the membership. They create in a DJ and this 12 months a saxophone participant. This man was cool, neon-lit saxophone, getting concerned on the dance flooring. The occasion theme was black and gold (observe to Squash Mad columnist Orla O’Doherty to convey her gold jacket subsequent 12 months).

We had Adam and the Ants, pirates, a great deal of physique paint, retro glam, ninjas, pharaohs (Rameses Ashour), Ali G, a bubonic plague physician, the lot. Our 100 euro prize was properly spent on 40 photographs, and the final of the partiers received to mattress after 6am…

Junkie fiend Lee Horton and organiser Mariska Morris

As I discussed, a weblog can’t actually do the occasion justice. All 170 gamers share an actual sense of camaraderie, it’s all pleasant, enjoying for enjoyable and a shared love of sport. You get to know everybody there and when you go, all the time wish to return.

‘Hermetic 2 performed Jason Morris Event Desk, who have been with out Nele, or anybody sober’

Sunday is finals day. Better of three video games for everybody besides the highest 4 enjoying for locations.

Journey chaos struck once more – our a lot anticipated Hermetic 3 vs 4 conflict needed to be referred to as off as flights have been moved ahead and most of Hermetic 4 needed to go away.

Hermetic 2 performed Jason Morris Event Desk, who have been with out Nele, or anybody sober. We ended up successful in a battle of who may maintain breakfast in for longer. End result: a fifth place to Hermetic 2.

Staff Dikke Tammo’s

Then it was the large one. Hermetic 1 vs Casanovas for the match win! It’s a social match and everybody performs it for enjoyable, however as a result of it has a particular place in gamers’ hearts it makes successful it extra particular. This is the reason in earlier years we’ve seen totally PSA-ranked groups battling it out for the ultimate.

First up was Hermetic 1 Captain Neil ‘the Dilf’ Cross vs Roel Zwagerman. This was a hack fest. Each are huge lads and hit it stupidly laborious, which at 10am on a Sunday I can consider nothing worse than. Sensible for the spectators within the rowdy crowd, possibly not for the purist. Crossy takes it 3-1: 11-7 5-11 11-2 11-5.

Subsequent was late substitute ‘Superboy’ Mikey Tallentire vs Casanovas’ resident tour information Frank Goosens. Not gonna lie, I didn’t watch it. I went away for quarter-hour to test on Hermetic 2 and got here again to search out Mikey sat outdoors saying ‘yeah I received pumped’ – 3-0 to Frank. Truthful play: 11-6, 11-9, 11-1.

Hermetic’s No.2 Craig Valente-Wallace took on Casanovas captain Tom Lucas. Each are very, superb gamers, nonetheless Craig was ridiculously hungover. What adopted was an unbelievable show from Craig, playing on each shot (and the contents of his abdomen).

The ball both rolled out of the nick on the volley or he’d fully miss it.

The group have been completely gripped. We knew Hermetic 1 would want video games in case it went to countback. Craig gave it all the things particularly within the third however Tom was too good. 3-0 Tom: 11-7, 11-7, 11-9.

It was the flip of the No1s. Hermetic’s WR 183 Sanjay Jeeva vs Casanovas WR 289 Marc Ter Sluis. This was Sanjay’s first 12 months with Hermetic having joined us via a mate already on the staff. Holy crap, this child can play. In all my years as a PSA promoter and squash fan I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen anybody so naturally proficient. Flicks, methods, holds, at no level trying critical, all whereas dealing with a critically good opponent. 3-0 Sanjay: 11-6, 11-4, 11-0.

It was 2-2 in matches however Casanovas had two 3-0 wins whereas Hermetic had dropped a recreation. Even when girls’s No.2 Beth Grinsell gained 3-0, at No.1 Hermetic’s WR330 Audrey Berling wanted to take not one recreation, because the match could be determined by the Males’s No.3 within the occasion of a tie, however two video games from WR67 Tessa Ter Sluis.

A implausible athlete, Audrey made some unbelievable retrievals and put Tessa below critical stress at instances, however in the end she couldn’t reside with Tessa’s laborious hitting and correct shot play. Elegant from the Dutch girl making amends for her brother Marc’s defeat to Audrey’s companion Sanjay.

3-0 Tessa, 11-5 11-4 11-3 and Casanovas the deserving champions.

It’s testomony to the individuals and the place that there have been 25 years of this loopy occasion. My final dialog with Jason concerned him telling me “Junkies 40? I believe we may do it”.

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A number of particular shout-outs:

Jason and Mariska Morris, Meersquash – Event Promoters

Michael Gaede, President, German Squash Affiliation – Event Director

Hermetic gamers from the next golf equipment: Lexden Rackets & Health, Colchester, England – Daisy Newton, Neil Cross, Mikey Tallentire, George Goodhew, Oscar Birch, Kieran Hillman, Mark Liversidge, Mike Hegarty
Meersquash & Exercise, Hoofddorp, Netherlands – Guido Ploem
Hamptons, Chelmsford, England – Susannah Martin, Daybreak Robinson
Wolverhampton Tennis & Squash, Wolverhampton, England – Beth Grinsell, Stefanie Walczack
Surrey Sports activities Park, Guildford, England – James Irving, Joe Ross, Piotr Cackowski
Glasgow College Squash Membership, Glasgow, Scotland – Dan Stuart, Jesse Mills
Franklin & Marshall Faculty Varsity, Philadelphia, USA – Audrey Berling, Sanjay Jeeva, Petr Nohel, Marco DiFilippo
Burke Squash Academy, Wortegem-Petegem, Belgium – Dries Verhaegen
Edinburgh Sports activities Membership, Edinburgh, Scotland – Ross McHoul, Craig Valente-Wallace

Photos courtesy of Mike Hegarty 




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