Monday, October 5, 2009


Bernardo Samper looks composed whilst lunging for a backhand during his final against Laurence Delasaux.

Ontario, that is. Despite how this particular event was run, this tournament is actually a great fun weekend. I found a few organizational decisions were a little strange, not to the point of turning everything into a disaster, just… weird. However, the London Squash Racquets Club has a very social membership and their hospitality is second to none. The tournament did run smoothly, which is more than I can say for my hotel booking fiasco…

...Reserving the room on-line, I was told from Brian Porter (whom I was sharing the room with) specifically not to book a certain hotel that we had already experienced 2 years ago. In the attempt to book the hotel we stayed in last year, but not remembering the name, I ended doing exactly what I promised not to. This particular hotel is a little out of London, in a seedy part of town and is right next to the “Beef Baron” – a less than world-class strip club. Driving up to the entrance and noticing a prostitute standing at the door, I decided I would turn around and beg for mercy at other hotels in central London. It was also homecoming weekend for Western University, so hotels we jammed. I luckily found a room at the Hilton for a reasonable price, then cancelled my other reservation, paying (gladly) a one night penalty. The Hilton only had smoking rooms left, but I would have taken the janitor’s storage room over the Beef Baron...

One of the advantages of playing this tournament is the chance to watch the professionals. We were fortunate to be able to watch the final between Colombian Bernardo Samper (ranked #81) and Brit Laurence Delasaux (#297). Back in 2006, Delasaux was ranked at 77 before an injury took him out of the game for over 3 years. He has now started his climb back up. The match was very even for the first two games. Samper worked the Brit hard who had to come all the way through qualifying to reach the final. The long rallies took its toll. Delasaux hit the wall hard. Samper controlled the 3rd and 4th games easily and closed out the match.

On a personal level, I played in the Open (amateur) event and although I did not produce my finest squash, I managed to scrape through the semi final in 5, and the final in 4 to take the title. Jim Fair also made the trip to play in the D category. He lucked out in the first round playing someone who should have been at least one category higher if not two, then going down in a solid contest for the consolation.

We hit the bars on the Friday and Saturday night, the homecoming weekend showing off some attractive local talent. London is only 2 hours away – and you would find it difficult not to enjoy yourself. Do yourselves a favor and mark it down for next year!


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