Women’s and children’s squash players bring new life to Woking club

WOKING Squash Rackets Club chairman Stewart Perry is delighted at the “change in dynamic” that has come from increasing numbers of women and children joining the club.

Perry, who is nearly a year into his role at the Horsell Moor-based facility, has built on the work of his predecessors to make the changes reality.

Woking Squash Rackets coach Chris Bartlett sporting the club’s logo

“In the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, squash was a really popular sport,” he said.

“There were 300-400 members here and as many again on the waiting list. That was really the heyday.

“When I joined, in 2004, it was at a bit of a low point. Membership numbers were going down but a few previous chairmen began to turn things round again.

“We’re really proud we’ve attracted so many female members. Two of our coaches started running Friday morning coffees and socials alongside some sport, and the numbers have mushroomed. It’s changed the dynamic of the club.”

The club, who also cater for racketball, had success growing their junior section too, and recently brought on board Rob Beaumont – a Surrey Squash coach – who will be charged with continuing this evolution.

Perry has also been hard at work improving the facilities over recent times, with significant investment going into the changing rooms and court maintenance.

Coach Paul Reilly, ready to serve

He is rightly proud of all the incremental developments since then and excited by what lies ahead.

“You can come down here on a first-team night and watch some really high-standard squash.” the chairman said.

“Squash has struggled in the television era as you can’t really follow the ball or appreciate just how fit the guys are and how fast it is. But when you see it live, it’s fantastic to watch.”

“In general the club’s just starting to do really well.

“It’s a nice, friendly place with a very broad range of members. There are builders and solicitors and we all get on really well.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our first team play again – we have a strong team in the winter. There’s a lot I’m excited about.”

For the full story get the 12 September edition of the News & Mail

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