Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Doubling Up in London

Every now and then, a weekend comes along that you end up talking and reminiscing about for a long time. For those of you that remember this year’s DAC Classic Tournament and the large contingent that ventured down from London, Ontario, you’ll recall that they, a) really love their squash, b) really love their socializing and c) are pretty handy at both. Since the summer is slow, it makes it the perfect time to visit our friends for a casual game of doubles and a couple of casual drinks… or two… or three… or four…
… hic!

London’s annual event – the Nash Cup – only runs singles categories. (It is on the first week of October this year. I will definitely be notifying you when registrations open.) So I suggested to a couple of our doubles players that we should get together and head to London for a relaxed day of doubles against their members. The London Squash Racquets Club is a key club, and just has squash. Four international singles, one hardball singles, and one doubles court. It’s small, but it has an atmosphere of alluring friendliness. It’s almost as if a magical power overcomes you when you enter the building that entrances you to sit and drink. John Dunwoody, Chris Terry and Stu Boynton jumped at the idea. We invited our good comrade Mike Counsman to join us who many of you know and is as loveable as Fozzie Bear but nowhere near as cute.

The Friday night was spent at Stu Boynton’s house in Bayfield – about an hour away from London. A beautiful cottage close to the lake surrounded by nature, it was large enough to accommodate all of us marvelously comfortably. Spoiled beyond what we were worth, we ate his food and drank his liquor until somebody had a momentary lapse of clear thinking and suggested we better get some shut-eye for our big squash challenge the next day. It was already the next day.
---------Stu Boynton (second from the right)

The morning drive to London swept through picturesque landscape, and included a tour through the “Town of the White Squirrel”. Stu explained to us that the squirrels are in fact as white as snow. We kept a keen eye out for this legendary (folkloric?) extraordinary creature, but alas they stayed hidden. I then wondered how much Stu really drank the night before…

---------Me, on the far left. I played with Andrew Mount (far right). We played against their club champions and lost.

Overall, doubles squash in London is of a very high standard. Considering it is stronger than even Windsor, it leaves us for dead. During the day John, Chris, Stu and Mike mixed it up with their members and they all received exactly what they were after: tough, competitive matches. The informal set-up of the squash was also appreciating. No set matches, no set teams, no set times. Play as much or as little as you like, and there was always someone at hand to jump on court and make a foursome. Kudos to their pro – Andrew Mount – who invited the ideal standard of player for us, all of whom had the personality to match. It was a brilliant day that left everybody satisfied. Not that we were keeping score, but at the end of the squash, Stu managed to point out that he was the only DAC member that won a match. Again, I wondered how much he really drank the night before…

---------John Dunwoody (second from the right)

What made the day special was how their members looked after us. Our glasses were bottomless and our stomachs were also taken care of. We capped the day off at the pub 100 yards away with burgers and beer before making our way back to Stu’s cottage.

London is a two hour drive from Detroit. This adventure will be repeated next summer.

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