Step 1 Easing of Lockdown
In line with Government policy, we re-opened the tennis courts on Thursday last week, subject to the strict operating conditions set by the Government and the LTA, and it’s been lovely to see quite a few squash and racketball players out on the courts.
It’s great to see people back at our club, playing sport and being social, notwithstanding social distancing.
We owe a huge thanks to the Tennis Committee, agreeing to let us use the courts while ours remain shut, and for having all the necessary club precautions in place just 72 hours after the announcement of the 3-step plan. And it was great work by Payne Automation to rapidly develop, test and deploy the software changes to expand the squash court (& indoor tennis centre) booking system to also cover the tennis courts.
Steps 2 and 3 Easing of the Lockdown
Although Step 2 will be a major step for us all, featuring shops and schools (maybe!), it is likely to be Step 3 that is more significant for the club. Currently it is scheduled for Saturday 4th July at the earliest, and covers ’some’ of the hospitality industry and leisure facilities.
It is too early to say exactly what this will mean for the club, and of course it is all subject to continued containment of COVID-19, but the ‘reading of the tea leaves’ is that we will be able to open the clubhouse to some extent - even if it is restricted to serving food and drink on the patio - and we may well be able to open the squash courts subject to strict operating conditions set by the Government and England Squash.
Countries that are further down the pathway than the UK in their Steps to Ease Lockdown have done both of these things as part of their equivalent to Step 3.
Squash courts are now starting to open again in a number of countries, with more planned during June. The standard operating procedures have varied a bit. In all cases, they have commenced with allowing solo practice and games between household members who have been together in lockdown - and most seem to be planning to expand the permissible games to social bubbles, if and when that concept is introduced. Some have also allowed pairs practice/conditioned games outside those groupings provided the social distance gap is maintained.
We are watching the position closely. Ultimately, it will be the Government and England Squash who make the decisions, and we will adopt their policy. We will be ready. Adam’s links with England Squash will help us to be on the front foot with whatever happens. (Speaking of Adam, he’s fine but looking forward to getting back.)
Social Media is a mixed bag but, at a time like this, our Twitter account ( https://twitter.com/berkosquashrbll ) is helping us to stay informed with what is happening in other clubs both in the UK and around the world - and their governing bodies. If you’re on Twitter, give us a Follow if you haven’t already. We post a Tweet every day and we try to make them relevant to squash/squash57/sport and devoid of politics (sometimes difficult!).
To those on the two main ‘game finder’ WhatsApp groups ('Squash/Squash57 Finder' - tends to cover squash boxes 3-10; and 'BLTSRC Squash Box 11-20'), we hope you don’t mind us gatecrashing these every so often with a short message. We try not to abuse the main purpose of those groups, but they are quite a useful conduit to reach a large number of you instantly. If anyone would like to be added to either of those groups, please let John Shaw know ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). If you’re not on them, don’t worry, all important club messages are issued by email; we just use the social media and messaging platforms as useful supplementary channels.
The Club Council continues to meet - now via Zoom; in fact we’re meeting more frequently and are more linked up via email and WhatsApp than ever. Which is necessary at a time like this, and given that we can no longer have those casual catch-ups over a drink at the bar.
The final items from Dunlop arrived this week, now that their warehouse has re-opened, so we’ll link up with our printer to see whether they are currently taking orders. It seems pretty inconsequential at the moment, but we will keep nudging it forward so that we have it all ready for when we’re back.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and a lot of pro players have been posting audio and/or video podcasts. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, a couple of good ones from the past few days worth catching up with on YouTube are:
- Nick Matthew’s YT channel: Bobby & The Wolf episode 3. Darryl Selby (nickname Bobby Dazzler) and Nick Matthew (squash commentators’ nickname The Wolf) interview the 2 leading referees on the pro tour; and
- PSA SquashTV’s YT channel: Beyond The Glass episode 4. Ex-pro players and squash TV commentators Joey Barrington and Jenny Duncalf interview Greg Gaultier and Adam Murrills (now known as the Messi of squash, for some amazing trick shots during lockdown).
Bye for now
Keep well everyone, have a go at tennis - sport can really help to put a little ray of sunshine back into our lives, try and keep motivated to keep fit for returning to squash/squash57, keep connected to us and your playing buddies, and we look forward to seeing you all before too long now.
Best wishes until next time,
Squash & Squash57 Committee
(John Shaw, Mark Shattock, Adam Fuller, Gill Trimmer, Rob Harbron)
P.S. Congratulations to club stalwart, Derek Armson on running a ‘back garden marathon’ to raise money for NHS Together. Here’s Derek’s link to his video diary and JustGiving page http://derekarmson.net/dels-26-12-backgarden-marathon/