Newcastle Squash patron and Life Member John Carroll has done it again – taking out the Hong Kong Masters Squash Open for the second straight year!
John dropped just one game in defending his title in the 65+ age group from 2018!
Newcastle was also represented by Ros Dixon (4th in the Ladies 55+ age group) and Dragan Mijatovic (6th in the 55+ age group).
Read below for Dragan’s experience (pictured far right) of playing in Hong Kong!
The Hong Kong Football Club which contains the squash courts is one of the best facilities in the world. On approaching the club the double glass doors will be opened by friendly staff. First impressions of the large foyer and marble staircase with wooden rails, is that you have entered a very prestigious building.
As one walks up the stairs there is a counter with friendly staff there that direct you towards the courts (some 100 meters away), passing a Gymnasium, offices, indoor lawn bowls, childcare centre, bar and lounge (overlooking the famous Hong Kong racetrack grounds, running track and soccer fields) and a 4 lane ten pin bowling rink (along with numerous other facilities).
Lining the corridors are cabinets full of trophies and walls with glass framed pictures and signatures of famous squash players. Going through the doors entering the court area there are 3 all glass courts two of which have galleries and another 4 glass back courts adjoining them.
Hong Kong Football club is a members only facility, but tournament entrants are given temporary membership which allows them entry and use of the courts and the option to buy items at the bar such as food and drinks (normally only members can do this). There is no need to bring towels as an attendant in the change rooms will give you a freshly folded towel in the constantly tidied and cleaned change rooms. The courts are in well maintained condition, with no marks on walls giving a very true bounce, so no nasty deviation off wall or floor. All lights are bright and working.
Tournament organisers have 3 very large touch screen monitors with the draws for all age groups to view who, when and which court they play on. Every court has a sheet of A4 paper printed with the name of the players in a clear plastic envelope on the glass back wall, with all the preceding matches there as well. Once a match is finished that sheet is taken away and the next players are displayed. Score sheets with names of both players are on clipboards new squash balls are provided regularly. Results are uploaded on SportyHQ and displayed on the large touchscreens so players can follow friends and opponent results.
There are a dozen organisers who are friendly/helpful and remember your name (even after a big night out!) It is by far the best tournament I have been to. A lot of hours have been put in by committee members so that the tournament ran very smoothly. The social night out was fantastic with a bus arriving to take us to the harbour, followed by a night cruise with the spectacular city light views to an island not far away to have more than enough food and drink to satisfy the palette (the drink was definitely my downfall). Be warned, the organisers like to party as I was invited for more drinks at the club and some stayed on to the early hours of the morning!
People from all around the world played, all super friendly and damn fun!
This is a great event to be in, well worth your while, and a great holiday to boot.
A big thank you to all the organisers of the Hong Kong Squash Masters Tournament. Definitely plan to be there next year and highly recommend for anyone of any standard.