From Tuesday 1st September, we may advance to Phase 2 of the return-to-play plan: we may play (almost) unrestricted games of squash and squash57.
Among the few but vital restrictions that must be in place are the following Top 10 items:
- All players in squash bubbles must wear protective eyewear or visors. (Plenty in stock at a well-known local sports retailer!).
- Matches are slightly abbreviated:
Each game will have a ‘half-time’ when 1 player reaches 5 points. At this stage, both players must pause to wipe away any excessive sweat with their towels, and sanitise their hands and the ball. Repeat between games.
Up until half-time in each game, only 1 player will serve and handle the ball. That will then switch to the other player in the 2nd half.
Players must not shout or raise their voice. (Good: aside from any hygiene factor, loud shouting and swearing is inappropriate at our club. We all get exasperated at ourselves, but we must keep our mutterings under our breath.)
Players must register with the club that they are in a squash bubble, and the names of the others in that bubble. Our club is required by England Squash to maintain an up-to-date list of who is in each bubble.
Players may only belong to 1 squash bubble at a time. You may switch to a different bubble if you have a 7 day break from playing full squash/squash57, i.e. if you revert to sides/socially distanced games for a week. (With this rule, England Squash have in mind the re-introduction of club box leagues: 5 weeks on, 1 week off, for example. We will consider this in time. For now, let's get squash bubbles underway.)
Social distancing must be maintained off-court, even within a squash bubble.
If a player develops Covid-19 symptoms, others in that squash bubble must self-isolate and undertake tests as per Government guidelines. Players may resume if their test proves negative.
Each player must provide written (email) agreement that they have read and will adhere to the England Squash rules on squash bubbles, before commencing play in a squash bubble.
- matches are best of 3, not best of 5. After finishing a best of 3 match, play out any remaining time with socially distanced Sides or drills.
- games are up to 11 points, not 15 (no change for squash57); and
- if games are at a 10-all tiebreak, it is 1 point sudden death, not 2 points clear.
With the sole exception of existing social bubbles (predominantly, same household members), there must not be any exceptions to any of the above if people want to play full games. For those who do not enter a squash bubble, please continue to restrict your play to Sides and socially distanced practices. With greater easing comes greater responsibility on all of us to protect each other.
All other protocols remain unchanged, including the obvious one: in the current predicament, if you have any symptoms of being unwell, Covid-19 or otherwise, do not come to the club.
Your action points
If you wish to play full squash/squash57 in a squash bubble:
- Link up with your regular playing partners to agree who will be in your bubble.
- Read the England Squash ‘guidance for players’ https://www.englandsquash.com/back-to-squash/guidance-for-players
- Email the club office firstname.lastname@example.org to (a) advise which bubble you are in, and (b) that you have read and will adhere to the England Squash rules on squash bubbles
- Buy and wear protective eyewear.
We are not back to BAU. But we are at a pretty decent staging post. One that allows us now to return to a fair impression of the sport we love, subject to pragmatic T&Cs at this time.
You could even manage your squash bubble as if it were a box league: 5 games each calendar month, loser has to arrange drinks at the club!
Let’s get this show back on the road!
Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. Contact John Shaw email@example.com