Juniors inspired by playing squash with World Class players
The ‘Beast from the East’ tried it’s best to disrupt our event, but it wasn’t enough to put the members of Racquets Fitness Centre off making their way down to their squash club to watch the world class squash exhibition match. On Friday 2nd March, two full time squash professionals spent the afternoon at Racquet’s demonstrating their talents against the members, offering up their time to play against the club players. The club welcomed World Number 63 George Parker from Leicestershire and local boy, now pro, Alex Noakes, who has reached a personal best world ranking of 127 and who travelled all the way from Barcelona.
The first part of the afternoon proved particularly popular with the young junior players at Racquets, including siblings Myles, Alex and Silas Glover who got the opportunity to play against both professionals. The youngsters tried their best to trick the pro’s with their sly boasts and delicate drop shots to the front of the court, some of which were a success!
8 year old Myles commented “It was amazing! It was hard work because they are so accurate with the ball. I’m definitely going to try to be as fit as them one day!”.
Greer Glover, mum of Myles, Alex and Silas, said ‘’All three were on a high after playing George and Alex. They had a fantastic time on court and managed to win a few points, which was lovely to see. They have come away so inspired. It’s great for children to realise that professional sports people are regular people who have worked unbelievably hard for a long time and have learned how not to give up.’
24 games later George and Alex had earnt themselves a short tea break to re-energise before the big exhibition match. Snow covered boots filled the viewing gallery in anticipation to watch the two pro’s battle it out on court, demonstrating what world class squash talent looks like in real life ! The event was live streamed via the Racquet’s Facebook page allowing members who were unable to conquer the icy roads to watch from home, and for some of our other members to keep the bar warm and watch via the bar television.
As predicted, the game was high intensity and high energy from the very start. Alex Noakes, who had flown in from Barcelona, showed off his athleticism moving quickly around the court, chasing down every ball and looking for any opportunity to attack and put George Parker, based in Leicestershire, under pressure. This was working well for the Thame born player and caused Parker to play a number of errors at the front of the court. Forcing errors and keeping the ball tight created a 2-0 lead for Noakes, giving him a confident lead. The third game saw a complete change in tactic from the world number 63, taking the ball much earlier and adding exaggerated deception to all of his shots. Being difficult to read and removing his errors saw the Leicestershire player fight back to 2 games all, awarding the crowd with a 5th game decider. By this stage Parker definitely had the edge and was sending his opponent the wrong way on many occasions. Fantastic touch on the ball created a number of short winners which eventually lead to a 3-2 victory to George Parker. It was a well fought and entertaining match, both players a pleasure to watch.
Racquets Fitness Centre would like to thank everyone who came down to support the event. Racquets owner Simon Martin said “these two players are worth watching over the next few years. They will soon be seen on the TV in big squash events especially as George Parker heads into the top 64 of the world. His talent is obvious and is only set to grow. Alex, who is a local Thame lad now training in Barcelona, is also surging up the rankings. We hope that all the juniors who played the pros will be inspired by them.”.
We hope that all the members who managed to travel through the snow enjoyed the evening and hope that more of the new players will take the opportunity to play the pros. We intend to have more of these events throughout the year as we have been seeing an influx of squash players recently. Some who are brand new to the sport and others who ‘used to play’ when they were younger – either at school or university. We welcome all players regardless of standard or talent or fitness. We help them all the achieve whatever goals they may aspire to.