• In how many sports can such diverse people compete fairly against each other ?

    Racquets Fitness Centre in Thame held the ‘Oxfordshire Open Graded Tournament’ on the weekend of the 2nd June.  Players came from all over the country including Essex, Nottingham and Cambridge as well as from the local area.

    How often in sport do you see girls playing against boys and children playing against adults, perhaps an 11-year-old girl competing against a man his 20’s? This is the beauty of a squash graded tournament, where all ages and standards can take part and you’re never quite sure who your next opponent will be – but the standard of player you’ll play will always be similar – so great close games are guaranteed !

    The event at Racquets was made up of grades A-E, grade E exhibiting high performance players through to grade E which was made up of beginners who have been playing squash for less than a year.

    11-year-old Alex Glover who is part of the Racquets Junior Squash Academy in Thame, took part in the D category at the Oxfordshire Open playing 4 matches across the day. One of his opponents was 27-year old Matt Rustage who started playing squash earlier this year. The pair had a close battle on the court, with Alex’s quick movement constantly putting Matt under pressure. Crowds watched on as little Alex narrowly snuck the win over his older (and much taller!) competitor. This was just one example of a fantastic match where standards were matched rather than age. Each grade featured a wide array of ages and experience, with females featuring in every bracket. Luis North from Cambridge was the eventual overall winner of the A grade, well done to Luis!

    “A close community spirit and inclusion for all is just a small part of what makes our sport great” said Chloe Marshall, Oxfordshire Squash Head Coach.

    Due to their growing popularity amongst players, squash clubs across the country host graded events at their facilities to give all standards of players the opportunity to practice their match skills in a competitive environment. Outside of graded tournaments most other competitions are aimed at elite players which excludes your everyday club player from the amazing buzz of a tournament.

    Racquets Fitness Centre are no strangers to hosting graded tournaments with owners Sue Martin-Downhill and Simon Martin holding over 30-years of experience each running these inclusive events in various clubs around the country.

    Sue commented “Every player who has ever tried playing a graded tournament has always enjoyed themselves.  One tournament we had a young man who had never played squash before – just joined in because a friend had entered.  He played 3 matches and was seriously on a high at the end.  It’s more to do with the camaraderie you gain playing people you’ve never met but have an affinity with because you are the same standard.”

    If you would like to view the results from this last tournament please view https://www.sportyhq.com/tournament/view/OXFORDSHIRE-One-Day-Graded-Squash-Tournament.

    We suggest everyone gives squash a try.  Racquets Fitness Centre can you offer you the advice and information you need to get started. Pick up a racket and let’s get fit this summer!