Smiles, groans, aches and cheers were the currency of the day when the Off The Wall Squash Academy staged its Grand Opening Family Day tournament at The Colchester Garrison on Sunday.
To celebrate the official launch of the exciting new Essex squash venture, Off the Wall Squash invited not only the usual band of young, fit and competitive players seen regularly on the squash courts of Essex, but their (in some cases) not so fit and experienced mums, dads, siblings and friends for a not-so-serious day’s competition and fun.
Over 70 players of all standards were split into 12 teams of six players and battle commenced over three memorable hours of competition. Amid some competitive and keenly contested matches, there were sights and unorthadox techniques not regularly seen on a court. The sound of parents being heckled and chuckled at by their own kids was not uncommon.
The ‘James Willstrop’ team of Will Southworth, Charlie Martin, India Webb, Denny, Adrian Dibattista and William Moxon emerged victors on the day but the seedings committee had done their job ensuring that every team were in with a shout right up until the final point.
The family action was followed by two exhibitions of ‘proper’ squash with Off The Wall Squash professionals Daryl Selby and Lauren Selby teaming up for a doubles match against Will Southworth and Rob Dadds. The crowd were enthralled to watch the players compete in the pairs contest, not something we get to see on a regular basis.
Team Selby came through 2-0 winners and that set up the showpiece event of the day (if you exclude Paul Selby’s high-octane team match against rising star Jahangir Horton) a match between two of the world’s top players.
Daryl, the world number 10, took on world ranked 27 Adrian Waller in a thrilling best-of-three match that again thrilled the packed Garrison crowd. Clearly inspired by some of the team squash he had watched earlier (not), Daryl nicked a close 2-1 win to the joy of the home supporters who were left mesmerised by the standard and quality of the play.
The players then staged an open Question and Answer session capping a brilliant day and highly successful launch of Off The Wall Squash.