Newsletter March 2015

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Welcome to the latest FOS&RC Newsletter! Quite a few things have happened since the last edition so here goes! Eyes down, look in..

Aercon Cup
Another great year for the Aercon Cup seeing entrants making up a maximum draw of all standards of players. Played over 3 weeks the tournament finale was on 20th February where all the finals took place in front of a good turn out of spectators. 

The Plate Final was won by Tim 'Timmy' Hayes, who played a blinder to overcome the experience of old stalwart Ian Pierce to win his first ever trophy.. at anything! So proud is Tim, that he said he said was going to sleep with his shiny trophy in his hands every night until the Spring arrives. His best mate Chris Wright denied being jealous and could only take solace in the fact that he lost to the eventual winner.

The main final was a superb example of what makes the Aercon Cup so good.  The theory has always been that with correct handicapping anybody should be able to win and this was proved true when little Aiden Botting battled like a trojan to overcome George (I can hit a ball very hard you know) Stanford.  It went to the wire but a perfect boast nick from the little fella put George in his place! 2nd in this case. Well done Aiden. A real talent for the future that lad! Full Aercon Cup report is HERE - Picture shows Aiden receiving his winners trophy from Club President Devan Kandiah.

Junior Report
Fair Oak juniors are having great success in the current series of the Hampshire Grand Prix, Connors Cup and Falcon Cup.  After 5 events, (only 3 events left ) we have to say well done and good luck to Kian Whelan and James Dickens currently 2nd and 3rd in the Hampshire Grand Prix Cup. Joe Blazer and Ben Blazer currently 3rd and 4th in the Connors Cup and Emily Churcher and Florence Kersley currently 3rd and 5th in the Falcons Cup.  Fair Oak juniors also have the highest number of juniors attending from any club, with 18 players out of the 54 players, that have attended the events so far. Shane Pletts Junior Organiser

The half term free junior training day was a great success again with 11 kids getting involved in a mix of fun games and training. Kyle Finch was on court giving the little ones some sound advice on improving their game. Another is being planned for the next holiday.

England Call Up for U19
Kyle Finch has just received a call up for the England U19 squad. This came as a bit of a surprise as Kyle is the youngest player ever to be picked for the top national English squad. This is excellent news. Well done Kyle. We will be watching with interest how your debut appearance goes with the big boys!  Kyle also had his first win whilst playing in the PSL league for Chichester and at 16 the youngest player ever to play in this league!  More details HERE

Club Nights
We now appear settled with the format of Senior Club Night on the 1st Friday of the month followed by the Family Club Night on the 3rd weekend. We would like members who have not yet come along to join us and play someone different.  

We are now looking at a Ladies Club Night which will involve a Squashercise session and some racketball. This is aimed at encouraging members partners not currently involved in the club as well as our existing lady members to come along for a not so competitive, active but fun evening. More news on that soon.

Doubles Club Championship
Since our last Nov newsletter the Squash Doubles Club Championships were held in December. Played over one night there was some great games with pairs of players battling it out for the trophy. In the end it was the Merriman chaps (Matt and his old fella) who came through triumphant in victory over Kyle Finch and George Stanford.  Full report can be found HERE

Committee Things
Your committee have been beavering away on the usual day to day running of the club as well as meeting to discuss future issues that need dealing with.  We are currently discussing lots of things for the next year including memberships rates, court usage and costs, how to better advertise our club. Of the highest priority will be how to improve our club whilst keeping our fees as low as possible! Not an easy puzzle to solve.  Our Treasurer's latest finance report shows us in good shape with a healthy reserve in the coffers meaning we can actually look positively about the future.  Members are more than welcome to come along at the start of any meeting to discuss anything they would like raised. We won't bite.. honest!

Club Repairs
You won't be surprised to know that there are many ongoing repairs need sorting out. Ant Whelan is the chap who sorts out most of it. There is a list building up which we do know about, but bear with us and these will get sorted.  The front wall on court 3 has been temporarily patched until we can survey for possible damp issues. A new front wall is looking likely as unlike court 1&2 this is the only front wall that has not been plastered with the latest ultra hard 'Armour' finish.

FOS&RC recently supported a local youth project First Wessex to allow a group of kids under supervision to paint the ladies changing room and area behind Ct 3. Not an unreasonable idea we thought?, however unfortunately they also painted the carpet as well as the walls in the ladies which we now have to replace. Thankfully they will be paying for it, but still more work to deal with. Never mind, we can't be accused of not getting involved with the community can we?!

Membership Report
Our numbers remain quite healthy at 114 senior members which is the same position that we were in last year. There is room for more of course and we are looking at ways of advertising to get a few more interested. Junior membership has fallen however which is a concern for us. We are thinking about how to generate more interest in youngsters and one initiative in hand is doing a presentation to Fair Oak Junior School with Kyle doing an assembly talk about the sport and offering some free taster sessions for anyone interested. If you know of any possible kids that need dragging away from their XBOX and may be swayed at coming along to the Saturday morning Junior session then please suggest it! Juniors are the future of our club and very important.

Social Stuff
The Xmas Annual Quiz went off with success with a packed house once again. 12 teams battled it out for the coveted title of 'Top Squizzers'!  See what I did there? It was a close thing in the end, however the clever clogs Tyler and Morant crew pulled through as overall victors. They are a tough act to be sure. As that bloke on the Chase would say, come and have a go if you think you are clever enough. Better still if you don't care who wins and just want a good night out then come along next time. It's worth it just to be able to shout at the Quiz Master when he gets the answers wrong. What is the maximum beak in snooker anyway?

Some of our members have been enjoying some PSL squash matches at Winchester Squash Club. Some top world class players have been making an appearance and thrilling the crowd with the very best in squash.  Thanks to Paul Finch for sorting out the tickets.

We are planning other events for later this year. Matt Merriman is looking at a golf day for those who like a round or two. Date to be confirmed.  Other things in the pipeline are a wooden rackets night, alternative team night, summer cycle ride.

New Club Logo & Shirt
It has been suggested that we need to update our club logo to take into account that we are a racketball club as well as squash and the committee agree very much with that. We would like to offer it out to members to have a go as well. The only criteria is that squash and racketball should feature in either text or image or both. Any artists out there? Not that kind of artist Mr Baker! Once we have the new logo we are going to design a new club shirt for members to order to add to the great look that the juniors now have with their nice shirts. We still have a few light blue FOSC T shirts in M & L plus a few nice quality polo shirts in small only. Going for a bargain £4 each to clear. We don't have many so be quick!

Great Recoveries
You may be aware that long time Fair Oak member Peter Des Clays was involved in a nasty road accident where both he and his wife were knocked off their bicycle by a lorry whilst cycling in France last year. It is great to see Pete back on court again and running around as quick as ever despite a bad shoulder injury! You can't keep a squash player down can you?  

If you needed any more proof of that then look no further than the Ironman himself John Merriman, who was also knocked off his bike by an opening car door and now recovering from an operation to put his shoulder right. This follows a full recovery from an achilles break which put him out of action. Hopefully Jon will be back fighting fit for the new squash season in 2015.

Squash Numbers Falling?
You may find this article interesting regarding the falling number of squash players nationally. It is certainly a worry for England Squash & Racketball who have recently seen big changes to their staff in a bid to turn things around. We want to buck this trend at Fair Oak and get more squash players! Do you know anyone that you could introduce to squash or racketball? We have had a number of recent new enquiries via our website from new members wishing to join us which is promising. 

Click HERE for the article.
Club Gym
You probably know that we re-opened our gym recently after a tidy up session which included a slap of paint, new flooring and some replacement kit. A new glass fire exit has brightened it up now with natural light getting in. We have now also added some kettle bells and shortly we will be installing a TV and music system to watch the news and fitness DVD'd if you want! Also if you like to exercise to a beat you will soon be able to plug your phone in or bluetooth it across!  Very swish eh? Just don't upset our neighbours please!  

The room is certainly getting busier. It has even prompted Martyn Webb to start exercising. There was also a rumour that Chris Ash has been in there after he came up the stairs puffing and sweating, but in fact this turned out to be from just coming up the stairs. 

We hope that the improvements are an interim to further work planned during the next 1-2 years dependent of available funds to enlarge and better equip the fitness room.  Watch this space as they say! Can we please remind gym users of the rules of use just in case you have not noticed the signs on the wall. Click HERE

Update -  The treadmill should be fixed by the end of this week! 6/3

Team News (Report from Squash Cap' Dave Brierley)
Mens 1st team - still performing fantastically and sitting mid table but with a game in hand over their nearest rivals. The last 4 matches will be tough more so without club stalwart John Merriman (currently recovering from a shoulder operation) but hopefully the team has done enough to stay in the top flight county squash after their first season.   Next home match is April 1st !!

Mens 2nd team – comfortably top of their league with a 36 point margin. Having been strengthened with some guest appearances from the likes of George Stanford and Mark Bangs, the team is looking to achieve promotion especially if club strength is maintained for next season.

Mens 3rd team – currently mid table with two comfortable wins in their last two matches. Player availability is good and looking ahead, reintroducing a 4th team would be seem to be the way forward where more juniors and newer members are keen to start representing their club at senior level.

Vets 1st team – currently top of Division 1 with a 13 point margin over 2nd place and also two games in hand. The team is due to play Trojans 1st team in the Hampshire cup; Trojans are top of the Premiership league but without John and even with a 3-0 start each game, this will be a tall order.

Vets 2nd team - also sitting top of their league having won 9 of their 12 matches. This is a fantastic achievement having lost their regular number one Pete Des Clayes to injury at the start of season. Another of our teams looking for promotion.

Vets 3rd team
– have also won 9 of their 12 matches and sitting in an impressive 2nd position. With three teams at the top of the league separated by just 12 points and similar matches played, this will be close fought title race with four matches left to play. 

This must be one of the best team squash seasons we have had in a very long time - Keep it up 

Sports Award Success
Firstly many congratulations to two of our own, Shane Pletts (Junior Organiser and coach) and Andrew Douglas (Ex FOS&RC Junior currently concentrating on his bid for High Jump stardom) for their success in the recent Eastleigh Sports Awards Ceremony held at the Ageas Bowl, home of Hampshire Cricket. 

Shane won the 'Senior Disability Sportsperson of the year' award for his success in the World Deaf Squash Championship following injury and serious illness.  He was certainly put through the mill last year but came out of it as good as new! 

Full report can be found HERE

Well done Shane!
World Deaf Squash vid HERE

Andrew Douglas won the 'Junior Sportsman of the Year award' for his success in the pole vault over the past year. Andrew has progressed to the top of his class in jumping crazy heights on the end of a long pole! He has won gold in the British Junior Championships and is ranked No1!  Could we have a future Olympian here? We very much hope so. Full report HERE

Left - Andrew jumps his latest personal best at 4.5m!

Click HERE for video

Andrew has been spotted playing racketball in recent weeks so hopefully will be back in action at Fair Oak!

Bar Update
Our bar continues to be well supported by our members. We are certainly getting through lots of stock causing the Bar Manager to spend lots of his time hoofing crates of beer into the back of his car at Bookers and Lidl!  Still, all in the name of good service for our loyal punters. The small profit we make is crucial to the future of our club so please support it whenever you can.  

After 4 years of keeping our prices the same there has been a very small increase on a few things, but hardly so you would notice, particularly Simon Daykene who has so much dosh he doesn't know what to do with it. Remember the coffee machine is always ready for a nice cuppa and its so easy to use that even our very undomesticated Club Secretary Stew Chandler managed to work it out!  Only 75p !!  Bar is open for use at any time. WiFi as well.

Balls and grips will soon be on sale behind the bar! 
Dunlop Pro Squash and Dunlop Competition blue yellow dot racketball balls. Small profit goes towards club funds.

Big Ball Issues
Racketball continues to grow in popularity at our club with new players having a go. Rob Jarvis has recently taken up the dark art and by jove he loves it! Watch him play and he is proof that you can swing both ways with both little and big balls in no time at all! If any of your doubters become a bit confused and curious then just give Stew Chandler a shout and he or another big baller will gladly give you a session and even lend you a bat! What an offer eh? Mr Wadley will relent one day, he really will.

FOS&RC hosted the Hampshire Racketball Singles Champs just before Christmas which resulted in a great day for all involved. Better still the eventual winner was our own Matt 'Not played much recently' Merriman. With his new racket he played like a demon beating Dave Brierley in the final sadly after he retired injured, to take the County RB crown. He certainly has picked the game up a goodun and now a regular in our RB 1st team.
(Picture - Matt receives his trophy in his Mum's jogging top)

The Hampshire Racketball Winter leagues are coming to an end with mixed fortunes for our teams. Our 1st team the'Pharoahs' have had a few bad results mainly in the doubles which is keeping them mid table in Div 1. We have probably the best singles win record in the league, but drop a few games of 'leveling doubles' and it makes all the difference in the final reckoning.  Our 2nd team the 'Racketeers' have struggled a bit this season in the higher division, whilst our 3rd team the 'Funsters' have done really well in Div 2 currently in second place. The Summer leagues will start in May. 

If you fancy playing team racketball please contact Stew Chandler the Club 'RB Cap'.

Sport England Funding Bid
This has been ongoing for some time now, however we are nearly there now after having had to go back to square one last year for a number of reasons that we won't bore you with! June is the submission date for a September decision. This has involved a sizable amount of work by a small sub committee group. We think the bid is a good one, however we are sure there will be many other good bids as well, therefore we are not counting on anything just yet. Once finalised we will make the bid documents available for members to see should you be interested.

As part of this process we have had to re-publish an earlier short community survey to get the views of local residents. Please take a minute to click HERE and complete it. You could win a meal for 2 at Kuti's! Other than the price of a beer when you get in there, what's not to like?! Go on. Go on.

Forthcoming AGM
The next AGM date has been set to Thursday 23rd June 2015. Information will be coming out in good time, however if any member has any issue that they wish to raise officially we would suggest speaking to a committee member before to discuss it in the hope that it could be resolved prior to the meeting. Some past meetings have not been a very positive experience and we would like that situation improved in future years.

Take a Tip from Nick!
One of the worlds top squash players Nick Matthew has put some great short tip video's on Youtube. This link is about the importance of getting a good serve in, however you will see all his other video's in the right search frame after watching this. Time well spent watching these.

Click HERE for serve tips