On our final day of competition we faced Germany. We prepared as usual, our final buffet breakfast at the Hyatt Regency was emotional for Gavin, he demolished his usual stack of freshly made pancakes and waffles… We were keen to finish on a positive note and get the win. The final day is tough, the mood is always a little somber for all the teams outside of the final. However, it was nice to be in the club with most of the other teams. The divide between the mall and club left it feeling a bit empty and lacked atmosphere during the team event. The glass court set up in the Express Avenue Shopping Centre was really impressive but in our opinion, it did take away from the event and made it difficult to watch the top match ups. The glass court in the ISA would have been sufficient.
Playing order was 1,3,2. Conor, Scott, Sam. Conor was playing really good stuff, digging deep and focusing on the job in hand. At the end of the second, his German opponent had to quickly reel off three tins and make a runner for the WC.. Deli belly struck again. He impressively managed to get back before the ref call time, but Conor wasn’t troubled and ran out an easy winner in the end.
Scott continued his rich vein of form, he made light work of his opponent. Too much ball control, deception and won relatively easy in 3. That wrapped up the tie and our event.
Looking down through the final team positioning from 2 to 18, England to France, there really was not much to separate any of us. France, for example were two points away from beating Malaysia.. that could have landed them in the top 8, not playing Scotland for 17-18.. USA somehow managed a run to the semi finals (other teams injuries helped), Michael Creavan had beaten their no.2 player in the individuals. We had a shot at England that could have swung either way too. Egypt were head and shoulders above the rest, but really and truly, not much to separate the rest.
Some shocking news came as we finished our match with Germany, the South African coach, who was present for the tie previous to ours, had suddenly passed away just outside the venue. He was a real gentleman and his passing caused a wave of shock and sadness throughout the event. RIP Mr Graham Prior.
Egypt ran out winners over England in the final. The “formal” function was held in our hotel. A few speakers from WSF and the Indian Squash President said a few words and we headed back down to our final supper in the buffet. An over load of tandoori chicken and naan bread the past two weeks won’t be missed by lots of the guys. I might miss it a little.
All in all, it was some experience. The tough team losses were super hard to digest, the dept of every nation was impressive. Argentina’s no.1 player only losing one match the entire event and Czech Republic’s bronze medal were the stand out performances.
So many lessons learned for the full squad, very much a worth while effort! We will be tougher and we have gained a wealth of experience.
The long journey home has begun with a arduous trek through immigration in Chennai airport. Some tired bodies, tired minds. India is an experience like no other, the team were a pleasure to spend time with, great fun and their positivity was infectious! That’s certainly helps on a long trip such as this. Life long memories made.
Time to set some goals and get ready for the season ahead, this team and all it’s players have a lot more to achieve yet!
|Time:||Sun 29/07/2018 13:15|
|Draw:||Junior Team – Men’s|
|11-5 11-5 9-11 11-4||1-0||0:30|
|11-9 11-9 11-9||1-0||0:35|
Court 3, our home court at this stage.. We took on the formidable Colombians, the 7th seeds for this event. That means we’ve played our matches against the 3rd, 4th and 7th seeds. Tough going.
One of the reasons they were seeded 7th is because of their no.1 player. Mathias Knudsen. He has been a really outstanding player in this championships, he plays a very exciting and unusual brand of squash.
Playing order was 1, 2 ,3.. Our team had Conor, Scott and Gavin representing, Sam was still recovering from a virus.
Conor looked rejuvenated, playing really smart squash, causing all sorts of problems for the mega talented Colombian. He used height superbly well, some perfect lobs followed by quick counter drops. A few phases of play where Mathias was unplayable, the first game was close, but no cigar.
Similar story in the 2nd game, great squash from both, it was on a knife edge. Tight all the way but we lost it again, 0-2 down.
A valiant effort in the 3rd, a few outrageous shots from both players, serious retrieving but again, no joy. 3-0 Colombia.
Scott was on next. He has excelled in the past few days. A very professional performance after losing the first, he took down his tall opponent in 4. He had to work hard though, never easy, in the end he was just the better squash player.
Gavin had his debut for the team in the decider. Nerves weren’t evident in the opening games, he played the best I have seen him play! Massive rallies, full court coverage, clinical finishing, inspiring stuff. His error count was low, used height beautifully and controlled the pace.
He was 2-0 up, 15-13 and 11-5.
The third was quickly won by the Colombian, perhaps Gavin’s efforts were starting to show..
He lost the fourth and went toe to toe on the fifth game for about 8 points. Unfortunately the South American was too strong in the end. Unbelievably good performance from Gavin, shame it couldn’t have been converted to a win.
Another loss, another lesson learned. Tomorrow is our final day and we’re playing Germany. Hoping to finish with a win..
|Time:||Sat 28/07/2018 14:30|
|Draw:||Junior Team – Men’s|
|11-7 11-8 11-6||1-0||0:32|
|11-8 5-11 9-11 6-11||0-1||0:36|
|13-15 5-11 11-3 11-7 11-2||1-0||1:02|
India is starting to catch up on us. We certainly have no complaints about our comforts here, it’s a top end hotel we’re staying at, that serves top end food. But no matter how great the surroundings are, it’s not home and it can be hard to be away from home for this long. Especially when most of our players have just turned 17.. This feeling of loneliness mixed with a groundhog day feeling is a little more on the surface the day after losing a close battle in the last 16..
Even still, every time you play for your country, it is a privilege and we tried our upmost to forget the longing for home and focus on our match against Switzerland.
There are no easy matches at this championships. The seeds from no.2 right down to no.17 or no.18 could honestly beat each other. It is amazing and a true testament to a healthy worldwide squash scene. This tie was one of those that could swing either way. Everyone needed to be on top form.
Sam was on first against Nils Roesch, whom he had beaten in the individual event. We were confident for this match but within the first 5 points, Sam was white as a ghost and his eyes were almost rolling in his head. He lost it quickly. Between games he took on some essential fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates.. He dug deep in the second, somehow finding the energy to get to 6 all, but lost it from there. He wasn’t himself and had zero energy. He finished out the match, but there was very little resistance.
Conor was up against Yannick Wilehmi. A tough test. Like all the no.1’s here, you don’t get much cheap and the battle runs a lot deeper than just playing a game of squash. Yannick’s a great technician, cuts down from a height on every ball and works the corners very well. He’s athletic and very resilient. A slippy start from Conor in the first, he lost it 11-3. He then started to played some great squash, each of the 2nd and 3rd games were close. 6 all in each is where the game ran away from him. There is a lesson in that for Conor and like all of his matches here, he’ll be a better player for this experience.
So with two 3-0 losses, the tie was over. So Scott didn’t play.
It was a tough day at the office.
We’re going to go to the mall to watch England play Pakistan and then go to the escape rooms, to get our mind off squash and have some fun. Top 10 is no longer possible for us, but we have a lot of pride to play for.
Looking forward to another test tomorrow.
|Time:||Fri 27/07/2018 14:30|
|Draw:||Junior Team – Men’s|
|3-11 9-11 6-11||0-1||0:33|
|6-11 7-11 3-11||0-1||0:33|
Malaysia for a place in 1/4 final, top 8. It was always going to be a big ask, a win would require top performances from all players and take all the experience and fitness we’ve built up over the past few months. Malaysia are traditionally one of the strongest nations at this championships but have been tested in their group stage by France. Their top string player just lost in the 1/4’s of the individual event, a close 3-2.
We fielded our strongest team again. Playing order today was 3, 1, 2. Scott, Conor, Sam.
Morning prep went well. Very light 0730 wake up gym session for Scott, just to get the body moving and the blood flowing. A champions breakfast of freshly made omelettes, apart from Gavin, who is devouring about 4 freshly made breakfast waffles everyday.. with cream..
We got tuctucs to the club, more convenient and it heightens the senses.. Perception and reactions are sharp after 15 mins on the roads in India.
With all supporters in place, the flag laid down, team photos taken, we were ready.
Scott was class in the opening game. Long, hard, high tempo rallies. He showed the Malaysian that it wasn’t going to be easy. It wasn’t. Scott took the first.
The 2nd was the same, really closely contested. It was a heated battle, plenty of argy bargy, mental and physical reserves were being tested. Scott lost the 2nd and 3rd, both players looking a bit punch drunk in the 4th, it could be anyones match.
At 6-10, match ball down, Scott put a really good string of points together and got back to 9-10. We thought that this might be going to 5, unfortunately it didn’t.
Scott played really well, kept his error count down and is playing better each day!
Conor had a tough one. Darren Rahul. Their no.1. He dominates the middle, holds his ground and sometimes takes excessive space. Conor needed to play tidy squash, maybe the best he’s ever played to win..
He started supremely well. Similar to yesterday, hit every corner at the right time, applied great pressure. He was one up in no time.
Very exciting for us, he was close to taking the second and it went to the wire. The Malaysian took it and carried the momentum through the 3rd. Conor’s fitness was now becoming an issue, usually his strength, it was unusual to see him deprived of oxygen. Being exposed to this level of squash is one of the many reasons a trip like this is so worth while for player development. Conor was pushed to the edge, mentally and physically. He did extremely well for 95% of the match, but just couldn’t push past that fatigue. A great lesson and will inspire future training sessions.
With Conor losing 3-1, the choice was made not to play the dead rubber match. Sam practiced with the rest of the squad in preparation for tomorrow’s tie against Switzerland. They lost out to a strong Czech team. We play at 1430, again on court 3.. no streaming.
Our team spirit is still high, we had a good laugh in the hotel, watch Pakistan beat India in the mall and were treated to a high class meal thanks to Henry. Very generous. Very enjoyable.
The highest we can finish now is 9th.. that’s the goal and we’ll do our best to execute.
|Time:||Thu 26/07/2018 11:00|
|Draw:||Junior Team – Men’s|
|5-11 11-6 11-4 11-9||1-0||0:50|
|7-11 13-11 11-7 11-8||1-0||0:46|
We played South Africa in a must win tie today. The winner would go through to the last 16, the bare minimum of what we expected as a team. So even though we prepared for the match telling ourselves performance was key, there was some underlying pressure.
Playing order was 3, 1, 2.. meaning Scott was on first again. His opponent was full of confidence having taken out the English no.3 in straight sets yesterday. This kid was quick, fit and quite frankly a bit of a handful. Scott was managing the situation perfectly, working hard in the opening exchanges and controlling the tempo.
He won the first 11-9, lost the second 9-11 and in the third was 8-9 down. We’re about 45 minutes in at this stage, hard work in this humidity. It could have went either way. Scott played a masterful 3 points, taking the all important 3rd game. He carried that moment into the 4th, mostly controlling it, keeping his lead right to the end and finish the match in 4.
A really important win.
Conor played no.1 next. This match was his time to perform, on the glass and to take us into the last 16. He didn’t disappoint.
Definitely played the best squash of his time in India. Conor pulled his opponent in and out of every corner and took all his time away. The SA player comes from altitude, would have a big set of lungs. Even still, Conor had him working so hard he was keeled over after many rallies. He managed to apply the pressure from start to finish. Very positive squash, a delight to see. We knew it was coming from Conor, very glad for him that he had this performance!
So we have the tie won. We’re in the last 16. Sam still had to play. It’s not easy to motivate yourself for this type of match, when the result is not important and relief has set in over the team.
An up and down performance from Sam. The match wandering its way towards a 5th. Trading point for point, its 6-6. The SA player really wanted this and had raised his game to play at this level. Sam, understandably not as hungry considering the circumstance, let it go, losing 11-6..
Not an issue for the team, and good to get the not so good squash out of the system..
We anxiously awaited our draw, took a few enjoyable hours to stretch, chat and watch Gav and Mick try (and fail) to beat Brian in 2 on 1. Its was good team bonding, a good laugh. After dinner, back at the hotel, we found out we play Malaysia at 11am tomorrow. We did expect this and we’re ready. It won’t be streamed, we’re on court 3. Our team photographer will no doubt capture the mood and hopefully the ecstasy after our win…
|Tue 24/07/2018 11:00||England ||–||South Africa ||2-1||ISA – C3|
|Tue 24/07/2018 18:00||England ||–||Ireland ||3-0||ISA – C2|
|Wed 25/07/2018 14:30||Ireland ||–||South Africa ||2-1||ISA – GC|
The team event started today. We couldn’t have asked for a harder opener.. our old foes, England. In many ways we were really looking forward to this test! We have a talented enough team to beat them and we have worked hard!
The first pool matches were at 11am, then 2.30pm.. we had to wait until 6 pm to play. That’s a long wait in Chennai.. We spent the early morning practicing. Took our time over breakfast and had a small snooze.. The PlayStation got some use during the down time, Brian supposedly took down Gavin in a game of FIFA, not good for Gav considering it was Brian’s first ever game. Matches commencing against the Egyptians tonight for the big players like “Mick the Nick”..
We were glad to get to the club and settle into our rhythm and warm ups. Scott was on first against Sam Todd, the U15 British Open Champion. He is a tall, strong lad for 15 with some serious racket skills and relaxed temperament.. From the early exchanges we knew it’d be tough. Scott was playing well, fighting hard. The level was very high, full court being used and fair play was evident. They shared the first two games, the growing Irish supporters club were getting excited.
Sam Todd’s class started to shine in the 3rd but Scott came right back at him in the 4th, getting it to 9-10.. never to blame a ref, but some no lets were hard to take, a fifth would have been interesting but it was not to be..
Ireland went 1-0 down.
Sam Buckley up next against James Wyatt. Two tall athletic players, the battle for the ‘T’ was going to determine a lot of how this one went. Sam got off to a flyer, taking all of the tough opening exchanges, not giving the Englishman a sniff. Found himself 9-1 up and duly closed out the first game. The next two, James slowed the pace right down and picked off Sam’s crosscourts very well. Some sharp volleys, quick movements onto the ball, life was becoming difficult for Sam. Tirelessly trying to find the straight shots that dominated Wyatt in the first, Sam claimed the 4th, again comprehensively.
All to play for in the 5th, a betting man would back Buckley! He was carrying the momentum and was confident. A few lucky shots for Wyatt, some unlucky shots and near misses for Sam, the gap widened to 6-1 for England. That’s a massive gap to peg back, too much on this occasion.. unfortunately Ireland lost the tie after Sam’s loss.
Conor still had to play his dead rubber against Nick Wall. A quarter finalist from the individuals. This was a good test for Conor. Nick loves taking his space on the ‘T’ and is very clinical when he has an opportunity. He made it really tough for Conor in the first two, taking them with ease.. The third was much better from Conor. He pushed hard, going all the way to 9-10. Another no let to finish the match.. disappointing. Conor will have it tough for the week at no.1, but he will settle in well over the next few days. Tomorrow against South Africa will be a great chance to push on a get the winning streak started..
We play South Africa on the glass tomorrow at 14.30, that’s 10am Irish time and it will be streamed live.
Looking forward to making some noise behind the court and supporting the lads in a battle to progress to the last 16.. keeping the dream alive…
|Tue 24/07/2018 11:00||England ||–||South Africa ||2-1||ISA – C3|
|Tue 24/07/2018 18:00||England ||–||Ireland ||3-0||ISA – C2|
|Wed 25/07/2018 14:30||Ireland ||–||South Africa ||[2-0]||ISA – GC|
No matches for our Irish players today. Just a rest day with some light practice on the glass court. It was a nice early one, on court by 0930 to free up the day.
The finals were all taking place in the shopping centre, we were keen to watch ‘Moustafa Asal’ play. He is quite the impressive player.. a giant of a 17 year old with every shot in the book. Athleticism, intensity, the whole package. Certainly one to watch for the near future, already world no.71!! He played the defending champ, ‘Marwan Tarek’. A competitive 2nd game but Asal was too strong, winning 3-0 and becoming world champion!!
The womens’ final was a real duel, a repeat of last years final in New Zealand. ‘Rowan ElAraby’ took out ‘Hania ElHammany’ 3-1. It was really competitive, could have went to 5.. but El Araby will be very pleased it didn’t. She’s a double world champion now, impressive to say the least. Also won the Irish Open last April. A top 10 player very soon!
Brian Byrne was a welcome new face today too! He arrived with his fresh coffee beans, coffee bean grinder and an aeropress coffee maker, some effort. But he has visited Chennai before for his own world juniors and would have know the difficulties in finding a decent coffee… or a normal coffee..
Our group stages start tomorrow. We are pumped..
England and South Africa.
Kick off for us is 6pm tomorrow evening, on normal courts, what a relief. But still no streaming apart from the 2 glass courts. We face England, a tough opener. But we cannot wait.
Hopefully some good news to report tomorrow!!
We’re not going to the mall.. Sunday here in Chennai had a bit of a gloomy feel about it and we unfortunately took some of that mood to the courts with us this morning. The club was not quite its usual buzzy self, a lot of the competitors were off on the official tournament excursion, a day trip to feed crocodiles and experience some Indian culture.. We didn’t have such luxuries as we had matches to play. 3 of the lads in 3 different 1/4 finals.
Scott faced a fit, strong Aussie who loved to batter the ball to the back corners, not the kind of player you want to play on a day like today. But it is the world champs and Scott did try and fight the lull of the dreaded back courts. He fought for each game but fell short in all 3, losing a match that I’m sure if the occasion was different he would could have reversed the result.
Sam played a skilful Hong Kong player. Someone he might face again at the no.2 position, should we meet Hong Kong in the teams.. He started as well as he has all week. Played almost perfect squash, winning 11-3 in the first. As the second game started, a few more cross courts crept in which allowed his opponent show how quick he was, cutting them off very early and clinically.. this trend continued and Sam found himself 1-2 down. The 4th was competitive, tactically better from Sam, but the volleys kept flying in, no matter how tight it was. Confidence prevailed, too many great shots, too quick.. but again, I would have every confidence that Sam can turn that result around if necessary..
Gavin, again had to wait an eternity for his court to become available. So much so that when his match went on, it was the only official game in the club. A very difficult situation for Gav. To add insult to injury, he was on court 6, with the ridiculous giant nicks and swinging walls. He played an Iranian who had great hands. Very tall also, liked to volley and could cause a lot of trouble for his opponents. Much like our previous matches, Gavin’s form was slightly below par. He struggled to move the Iranian from the middle, always defending, being reactive instead of proactive.. Gav is a fighter and he fought well, but could not get over the line in any game today.
So unfortunately, the only players playing in the showcase court at ‘express avenue mall’ are the Egyptians and our victors from today. It might be a blessing in disguise, as the team event starts on Tuesday and we could do with a day off to recuperate, relax and do bit of practice.
Tonight we were treated to a slap up meal in a beautiful 5 star hotel on the coast of the city, thanks to our team mammy. It was a much welcomed change of scenery, good fun and much appreciated. Early night for team, now we can really get focused for the main event.
Quarter finals day. No Irish competing in the ‘Express Avenue Shopping Centre’ unfortunately.. We were still back in the Indian Squash Academy complex. We did manage to catch a few games in the mall, impressive set up! Some massive matches, but as predicted the Egyptians dominated and feature 7 out of the 8 semi-final competitors. Lucy Turmel, from Ipswich England, the only non Egyptian. It wasn’t from lack of support from our lads though, who really got behind the Mexican, Leonel Cardernes, and made some noise to the delight of the crowd. Mick even had a bit of an interview in front of the pack crowd, he handled himself like a true pro.
Before we were spectators we had some business to take care of. Scott was up against another tricky opponent from South Africa. He needed to be sharp and focused, only losing concentration for a brief time in the 3rd game, which he lost. He made up for it in the 4th, winning it comfortably in the end. His squash was excellent, accurate and deceptive, too much for even the quickest South African. Momentum building!
Sam played the Swiss no.2, a good test to check his level. A slow start, he found himself 1-0 down and 9-5 down. He showed his metal, clawed back the 2nd, and put some heavy work into the Swiss’s legs! A battle in the 4th, Sam started to play a much more structured game. Executing the plan. He won the 4th, kept the momentum going, working hard! Hard work pays off, he was 9-0 up in 6 or 7 minutes. The gap was too big for any comeback, Sam sealed it 3-1. Classy performance.
Gavin was on the glass again, they love watching him play! He wasn’t really tested, struggled with his own focus a little, but he was far too good for his Saudi Arabian opponent. He’s on a run! We’ll get to the mall yet!!
A few more Irish join us over the next few days. We have Henry Gillanders, Ireland’s no.1 photographer and glasses cleaner, Brian Byrne to help us be at our best for the teams event and Rhonda Moran who has arrived already, our team Mammy.
Everything going as well as possible. A welcome change of scenery in the shopping centre today! Subway a welcome sight to the lads, albeit a not so tasty subway.. Things looking good, as our team expands, we hope to rise to the occasion come Tuesday’s team event!
Day 3 in Chennai. 4 out of the 5 guys were playing today. The main draw heated up and the glass court in the shopping centre was erected and ready for play. An exciting venue which remains in place until the end of the event. As a team we were treated to watching many different styles of play in the men’s last 16. Exciting South American players from Mexico and Columbia were refreshing to watch. The ever present Egyptian and English were there. Unusually there was a strong Canadian presence, so many inspiring matches for our guys to learn from.
The first three Irish matches were varied in standard again. Scott played a tall, talented Iranian. Scott worked hard to close out most of the points, stayed on top from start to finish. He had too many weapons and ran to a 3-0 win.
Conor started against a local Indian player, not knowing how tough it ended up being. Both players really lay into each other from the start, pushing the limits of the physical capabilities. Too many long tough rallies to count. After an hour and fifteen minutes Conor lost the nail biter. He gave everything he had, didn’t get the rub of the green, tough decisions going against him, he even lost on a back wall nick!! Some effort from Conor, but losing 2-3.
Sam was on and off while conor was still playing in the court next door.
Too strong for his South African opponent, he’ll look forward to tougher test in the coming days.
A long day ended with Gavin, the last player to play. He was on the glass for the graveyard shift. Tough going against a Swiss player. He dug deep, playing out of his skin and got the win, 12-10 in the 5th.
That capped off our day, team spirit and moral is high. We’re all enjoying India and the people have been treating us Irish like their own. Resting up for another day of intense squash tomorrow.
Day 2 at the WJC, not quite as busy as the first. Sam had a rest day before the special plate, 33rd-64th placing, where he’s hoping to get some good testing matches before the team event.
First off today saw Mick come up against Nick Wall for a place in the top 16. He played well but the Englishman was too strong in all departments. His ball control, length and dominance of the T made it tough work for Mick. Nick 3, Mick 0.
Gavin was up against a South African player who had some seriously good retrieving skills. Evenly matched in their playing ability, Gavin was forced to play about 4 winners to win a point. Each game was close, Gavin played very well, could have went either way really, but not to be. 3-0 RSA..
Scott had an easy run against a Qatari player on the undesirable court 6.. the nick on this court is gigantic, you can slide a racket onto the next court! He was glad to get out in 3 games.
Conor was on the glass court, also against a player from Qatar. He was talented, could definitely finish off a loose ball. Conor won the 1st and 3rd well, had a 12-10 contest in the second. Conor was the classier player, looking forward to seeing him perform to his higher level in the coming rounds.
Day 1 of tournament play in Chennai proved to have mixed fortunes for Irish players. Rd1, the round of 128, had only 16 seeds.. Luck would have a huge role to play for anyone outside of the top 16.
Conor Moran drew the Canadian national champion, which is a stern test! He unfortunately went down in 3 but now competes for the plate and will be a strong contender to go far in it.
Similar fortune for Scott Gillanders, coming up against the kiwi no.2 who recently pushed Paul Coll (PSA world top 10) to four games in the NZ national semi-final. A tough 4 game encounter but Gillanders coming out the wrong side of it, he will also be looking to push deep into the plate event.
Gavin L’Strange played an evenly matched opponent from Argentina, they had a real ding-dong battle! The high humidity and lack of oxygen took its toll on Gav, who at one game all let a 7-2 lead slip, and eventually went down in 4. A great display but fell just short. Gavin also competing in the plate.
Sam Buckley got off to a flyer. Dispensing of his opponent from Singapore in about 20 minutes. This set him up with a match against the 9/12 seed from Egypt.
Sam put in a valiant performance but the Egyptian’s class shone through, winning 3-0. Lots to be learned in this match for Sam! He now competes in the special plate, starting Friday.
Mick “the Nick” Creavan found himself 0-2 down against an Aussie player in the round of 128. It wasn’t looking good. But out of nowhere Michael strung together an amazing game, taking the 3rd and blowing the lungs of the Aussie. He kept applying pressure throughout the next two games and was victorious in just under the hour mark.
His next opponent, the no.2 ranked American. Full of confidence, Mick stretched his opponent from corner to corner, whipping in beautiful boasts, very enjoyable squash to watch! As the underdog started to shine, Michael’s shoulders started to broaden and his racket became loose, flying in winners at the end of gruelling rallies. The team we’re going bananas behind the glass, inspiring Mick to take the victory, a tough 3-1, and send himself into the last 32.
Michael’s win lifted spirits at the end of a tough day. We have to regroup and focus on our remaining matches. The team event, as it always has been, is our priority and we hope to rustle a few feathers next week!
India so far, as an experience, has been superb! The hotel is top notch, amazing spread of food for our daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner! Exciting, slightly death defying , tuc-tuc rides to collect our daily 40 litres of water have been a highlight.
Looking forward to some success over our next few rounds!
Perhaps one of Ireland’s strongest ever U19 men’s teams will compete in Chennai, India from July 17th-29th 2018. Our team consists of Conor Moran, Sam Buckley, Scott Gillanders, Gavin L’Strange and Michael Crevan. The team will be coached by David Noone.
It it has proven to be a long but successful season for this bunch of young talented individuals, many European titles collected at U17 level and a semi-final appearance at the U19 European Championships in Poland. A very impressive result considering the same team are still under age next season.
A small break was needed, a few weeks off to recover and revitalise before our preparation began for the world championships. Knowing it will be a testing time in India, long hard matches awaiting, some great quality training camps and squads were devised.Irish Squash Vetting Invitation NVB1 June 2018
Starting mid-June, our first squad took place in Fitzwilliam LTC, where the gauntlet was laid down, hard work was expected from the team, and they duly delivered, putting in a great effort from the start. Scott was unfortunately missing, having previously opted for training in Vancouver which was of great benefit to him.
After our squad in Fitzwilliam, the team traveled to Galway LTC for a week long camp. Hadrian Stiff, our national coach, hosted two out of the five days, with David Noone taking the rest. Some very valuable match play and advise from PSA player Brian Byrne and ex PSA player John Rooney provided some wisdom on what to expect in the coming months, greatly appreciated by the players.
The week was very physical, lots of tough on-court routines and matches, alongside some track work, gym work, hill sprints, even humidity training.. We were lucky to have the fresh Atlantic sea to aid our recovery after each day! A tough week, but very rewarding.
In the following week, it was on to Pontefract, Yorkshire for 3 of the squad and Madrid, Spain for Scott and Michael, to continue our preparations.
Our experience in Pontefract proved invaluable, plenty of quality training partners with players like Chris Simpson, Adrian Grant, Patrick Rooney and Sam Todd to mention a few. All under the guidance of arguably the worlds’ top coach, Malcolm Willstrop. Lots learned, and great exposure to top level training.
In Spain, Scott and Michael working hard alongside Daniel Mekbib under the guidance of Tito.
Fitzwilliam kindly hosted our final squad before departing for India. Nice to get together as a team and train with only a few days remaining before departure. After a meeting with Irish Squash officials and receiving our kit, to proudly represent our country, I think the preparation was very successful and leaves us in great shape to go deep into the competition.
Many thanks to all involved, lots of work is needed in putting together a trip of this magnitude. Many thanks to everyone who so kindly donated sponsorship to the players and all who helped in fundraising. I can testify to the huge effort all players have put in for this world championships, and we look forward to words of encouragement and support via Twitter and Facebook.
The individual event starts in Chennai on Wednesday 18th of July with all 5 players playing. Followed by the team event starting on the 24th. We hope to do Ireland and Irish Squash proud!
Irish Sport HQ
Sport Ireland Campus