Newsletter Autumn 2016
Welcome to our latest Autumn newsletter. A collection of items that will hopefully inform our members about current issues and bring you up to date on all sorts of things. If you want to spread the word, let us know!

We have just had the best membership renewal levels for any October in many years! This is excellent news which demonstrates that our club is on the up and with the community growing rapidly our future is looking very good indeed!  We have stepped up our marketing over the past year and this has had the desired effect.

The winter season starts off again with Fair Oak in both Hampshire squash and racketball leagues. We have four teams playing across the main leagues and 3 vets teams. We will be bringing you news of how the teams are doing in regular updates.  Our first team secured remaining in the Premiership and with a strong squad of players to choose from we are hopeful of staying up this season.  Please come along and support whenever you can on our new Friday home night.

In the racketball leagues we will have three teams competing again. Stew Chandler's Pharaohs, Natalie's Funsters and Dilip's Racketeers. We have had some great success in the county leagues so fingers crossed for another excellent season.

Fair Oak hosted the Hampshire Closed Racketball tournament in September and a good day it was too. Our current champ Matt Merriman couldn't deliver the goods this year and lost his crown to Matt Compton from David Lloyd.  Dave Moore narrowly gave way to National O55's champ Mike Phillips who was very sharp on the day. Natalie Morant played well to win the mixed event. 

Big Quiz
Quiz Night returns on Friday December 9th at 8pm. Now come on! We need teams to enter this excellent fun night. We can have 12 teams doing battle in what should be a very festive evening with questions on all sorts of things, nothing difficult, well OK a few things but then what would be the point if Chris Ash could answer everything? Sorry I mean't Andy Codrai! Cheap bar and a nice supper will make this something to remember like all of our past quiz nights. Get in! as Bradley Walsh might say.

Squash What?
The World Squash Federation together with England Squash have just announced that racketball is going to be called something different in future. Wait for it... Squash 57! You read that right. No it is not April 1st! (I had to check the calendar) A name which will supposedly promote the game better, attract new players and draw a distinction between the European game and the U.S. variant. There appeared to be little consultation about this and also no thought for the time and cost that this might result for any club or business from this in changing names, logo's, websites and products etc. It has unsurprisingly caused a huge amount of dismay and attracted a lot of criticism. In fact the only people that apparently think this is magical piece of blue sky thinking is er.. W.S.F. and E.S. Well done! Along with Hampshire Racketball, Fair Oak has no plans to change our name or promote this rather silly name and we will wait and see if it catches or just dies off like countless other daft ideas. 
PS - Please note England Squash that in the UK we play RaCKetball and in the USA they play RaCQuetball! or is that too simple?  Nuff said.  Squash Mad article is HERE
Right, not sure why but I fancy some soup now..

Club Competitions
Our new committee competitions organiser has cut his teeth on his first tournament.. the first of many.

Friday 20th May - Club Championship - Men's Final
The crowd gathered, the athletes limbered up, and the barman filled the fridges for the clubs 45th annual squash club championships. This years’ combatants were Gavin Collins and Matt Merriman. On his route here Gavin knocked out John Merriman in a thriller that embarrassed the seeding committee and threw the event wide open. Matt, looking to avenge his father's defeat (and justify a month off the booze) was to prove a determined adversary. Before kick-off all we could be sure of was there would be a new name on the cup this year!   

Matt started brightest, forging an early 5-0 lead in the first. But Gavin dug deep to show why he was a finalist and closed the gap. We’ll never know if Matt’s socks are the source of his power, but somehow he found what was needed to close out the first 9-4 to take the lead.  After a short break the guys were back into action; this time it was Gavin who made the early running, swiftly moving to a 5-2 lead. Was this to be a repeat of his semi-final? But Matt was more than equal to the challenge and came back to take the 2nd 9-6. Gavin must have had thoughts of his next match (the Over 35 final) still to be played…but he showed no sign of slowing up as he chased down every point But by now…having covered just shy of 13 miles…he was finding it harder to reach Matt’s shots. And Matt took the 3rd 9-1 and claimed the title.  

Over 35s Cup  - The 22nd Over 35s champs saw club championship finalist, Gavin Collins, up against the reigning Over 35s king, Mark Bangs. As testament to the strength & quality of squash at the club this match was no formality… Gavin was seeded higher but Mark had other ideas! Mark won 3-0 to retain his title. And Gavin – despite 2 excellent performances (over 35s and main) left with nothing.

Veteran’s Cup  - The 40th Veteran’s championship was contested by the same finalists as last year; current holder Neil Piper vs. Russell Baker. Neil blitz to a 9-0 win in the first with a nervous looking Russell looking as if he hadn’t turned up! Was it the pressure of the occasion…or the worry of having a fan-club for the first time? Who knows, but after a stern talking to he came out fighting in the second, taking it with confidence. Alas, the excitement was short-lived. Neil found his line and length and looked more composed as the match progressed, ultimately winning 3-1. 

Russ 'Baker Boy' battling with Neil 'Nellie' Piper

Over 35s Cup
 - The 22nd Over 35s championship saw club championship finalist, Gavin Collins, up against the reigning Over 35s champion, Mark Bangs. As testament to the strength and quality of squash at the club this match was no formality…Gavin was seeded higher but Mark had other ideas! Mark won 3-0 to retain his title. And Gavin – despite 2 excellent performances (over 35s and main) left with nothing.

Plate - The plate competition this year…open to the first round losers in all competitions…was as competitive an event as usual; this year saw Natalie Morant bump up against Adrian James. Natalie was a defeated semi-finalist last year and keen to make amends. She started the brightest, registering a 9-1 win. But it was a yo-yo match with Ady taking the next just as strongly! Ady had the momentum and took the third, but Natalie pushed things to a 5th by winning the fourth. The form book might suggest that Natalie would be favourite the longer the match went, but Ady had already shown grit in earlier matches and today would be no exception…he won the 5th 9-5 and took the title.

A huge thanks to Neil Piper, John Merriman, Dave Brierley and Matt Merriman for marking. To Stewart Chandler for presenting. And of course a big thanks to Technifibre who once again provided sponsorship with great prizes for the winners!   - Andy Codrai

Presidents Cup - We started the night with a very entertaining plate final contested between Paul Hunter (the forgotten man as I forgot to enter him) and the wily Ady James. Ady battled valiantly but could not contain Paul's accuracy, paired with his fantastic retrieving. Paul emerged victorious 25-19.

Next was the big guns, Andy Codrai (with a fair handicap for a change!!) Vs Rob Jarvis in the main draw final. Andy started brightly, hitting cracking lines to a good length. Rob tried to catch Andy off guard with some audacious drops, however Andy was wise to them, punishing any mistakes. Andy really hit his stride when he made it to positive numbers, eventually winning 25-11. 

Thank you to everyone who came down to support and a special thank you to Devon  Kandiah for attending and presenting the winners with their trophies. M. Merriman

Can anyone explain this cartoon? Yes we know its frogs!

or toads?

If you think squash is a competitive activity, try flower arranging.  Alan Bennett

Fair Oak Squash and Racketball -  7.10.2016

Club Sponsors
We have two sponsors this year for the club teams and these are R&N Carpentry and Tony Breach Electrical Services. Both companies are run by club members so have a keen interest in our club. Nigel Lush (R&N) has sponsored the teams before and for Tony this is a first. You will see their logo's on the new team shirts and also advertised around the club.  Thank you chaps!

Junior Section
What a wonderful season last year - so full of exciting news. From new initiatives (Xmas party, Easter Egg hunt, Summer family fun day, school programme) to huge superb achievements by some of our juniors, but best of all - the growth of numbers of juniors joining Fair Oak, and the success of our Saturday morning sessions (every month, numbers growing). 

First our successes.
Kyle Finch and Tom Walsh were crowned as national champions. Both Kyle and Tom represented England in the World Championships in Poland in the summer, helping England finish 3rd in the world. Alex Broadbridge (Pictured) finished above his seeding to finish 8th in the U11 National Championships, he has a wonderful next year - still able to compete in the Under 11 National Champs. Aaron Morant won the Hampshire Leagues title, closely followed by both Soren Chakrabarti and Brooke Williams - and 8 other Fair Oak players playing in the Hants leagues. Brooke and Alex both representing the south region in the regional championships. Hot off the press - Alex Broadbridge is crowned as Hampshire U13 champion, and very creditable performances by Joe Purr - finishing 7th overall.

Players of the month/year
Our players of the year include:
Overall - Frankie McIndoe. Elite Group - Aaron Morant. Middle Group - Will Dunford. First Group - Sam Batty, and Mowgli Mehrkar. All for their fantastic attitudes, and committment throughout the year. Our September player of the month is James Court - for his perseverance (couldn't hit a ball when he first joined), determination and commitment.

The club held a family fun day in July - with over 50 people taking part in the touch rugby, football, bar-b-que lunch, and rounders. Great fun had by all. Thanks to all who attended, but special thanks to everyone who contribute to our American Style lunch, and organisers & helpers (Dave Brierley, Amir Mehrkar, Matt Merriman, Dave Moore, Neil Piper, Stew Chandler, Mel Finch). Watch for dates and details for the family fun event next year.

Paul has been busy with a schools programme - helping grow squash in our local community, going into Fair Oak primary school, Upham primary school, and Townhill Park primary school. Also helping train the PE teachers at Wyvern College, to help their Y10 and Y11 pupils improve to play squash. We now have quite a few youngsters try out squash at our club, with some of them liking squash so much they have now joined.

Saturday morning sessions run every Saturday that there is a school week. With 5 ability groups, over 3 sessions (9am, 10.10 am and 11.30 am) there is bound to be a sessions for all children 5 years and above. Why not come along and try - the first week is FREE! Our numbers continually grow - due to safe, fun sessions for the younger ones, and developing squash skills for the developing and older juniors. Congratulations to Aaron Morant, and Frankie McIndoe - who have recently passed their level 1 coaching course, and join our coaching team. Also - a HUGE thankyou to all the men's team players who give up a Saturday morning to come along and help with our elite players - passing on their experience, and pushing them to higher levels.

All juniors who attend Saturday mornings, or wish to join the club, should have already done so. Please speak to Paul to find our more information.

Any players who wish to play in the Hampshire leagues - please let Dilip or Paul know - first round league matches start October 9th (various venues). Free to Fair Oak Junior members, who represent Fair Oak.

New intiatives
We're in the process of getting some Fair Oak T shirts for our juniors - this should happen some time in October. If you wish to order a T-shirt please speak with Paul in October.

Internal Junior leagues will start in October - if you wish to play in these leagues (or your son/ daughter) please let Paul know asap.

Last - we have a growing number of activities in our junior section - and ANY help offered (no matter how small) will be greatly appreciated. If you feel you can offer to help in some way please let Paul, or any of the junior committee know.

Have a wonderful season.
Paul Finch

Kyle Marches On..
Our star player Kyle Finch is now in full time training at the Squash Academy in Manchester which now puts him in the pro squash player bracket! He is setting his sights firmly on the big time now and to break the 200 world ranking well and truly. Kyle will be coming back to play for our first team as often as possible and you will still him practicing at the club when he is back. Currently ranked the British no 1 under 19 Junior, the future is looking very bright and we will be supporting him all the way. Come on that lad!

New Team Shirts
Our senior team players will have some nice new team shirts for this season with our new logo on it as well as our sponsors logo's. Pretty swish eh?

Club Improvements
We are still pursuing the funding required to carry out the much needed refurbishment to take us forward for the next decade. There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to secure funding from local grants and we are getting near to decision time. Whatever happens we will be starting off making improvements in 2017 and we hope to be able to update you more on this very soon.

All Things Bar
We love our bar! And rightly so. It continues to serve our club very well. Turnover is up again this year to record levels. We have now installed a nice new soft drinks fridge to replace the old model which was struggling a bit. Next will be a new bigger Ultra HD TV which will be much better for watching sport events on. Please use the bar after playing. If you want to be bar trained just ask. 

Many members have used the club bar for family parties and has been well suited for small to medium sized adult and family gatherings.  If you would like to hire it out please ask.  Apart from 18th & 21st birthdays, anything else is probably OK - We will even allow 80's music!

World Title Holder at Fair Oak!
No, not at squash or racketball but sailing! It is a little known fact because he doesn't tell anyone, but our very own Howard Sellars holds the world Legends 'Fin Class' sailing title held this Summer in Lake Garda Italy. For that dear boy we take our hat to you! Well done. 

Exit Stage left Very Slowly Please!
A reminder to all our members to take special care when turning out of our car park as the replacement fence restricts the view into Campbell Way and young cyclists in particular like to whizz down the hill on their bikes. Just remember by the time you can see up or down the road your bonnet is already out in the road. It has been suggested that turning left is easier and affords a slightly better view for drivers? We are asking Highways Dept to see if there is anything that can be done to improve this although it may come down to this being no different to puling out of other junctions with restricted view.. just got to be careful! Mirrors have been suggested? 

Future News
We are thinking about how best to get news out to members in the future and one consideration is by using short single item news bulletins rather than seasonal newsletters, which may be better read by our members? These could then be fed onto a news channel on the website and social media where appropriate and perhaps an annual round up newsletter? It seems that these days with everybody being so busy that news is better digested in small chunks. Your views are welcome.