master of two trades ...
Sylvan Richardson, who directs 'Lost for Words', the band
with strong squash connections, has been here all week wearing his
masseur's hat, treating the players before and after their matches
in a special treatment area set up in the players' room.
So for those who thought Sylvan was just a musician, think again ...
always had a relationship with anatomy and physiology, stemming from
my Kung Fu work [yes, he's an expert at that too], and I guess my
time is split roughly equally between this and music projects.
"I've been training for massage for about ten years now, I've been
doing it professionally for four, and I've just finished my first
full year on the squash circuit doing mainly the UK tournaments but
also the World Open in Cairo.
"Squash players need specific massages, the emphasis is generally on
stretching techniques, and it works well because you can
givetreatments right before a match which really helps them.
"Of the players Thierry is great to work with, I'm getting to really
understand his body, I've worked with John a few times now and most
of the top twenty - I just need Shabana and Ramy to complete the
Sadly Sylvan won't be available for the finalists later today ...
you guessed it, he's off to play a concert in Manchester ...
Three better than one ???
As you probably know the new "three referee" system is in use here,
whereby we have one central and two side refs, each of whom make
their decision on every appeal and make a hand-signal to communicate
it to the others with the majority decision prevailing.
A slight adjustment here is that each match is governed by two
referees and one player - the player is always one of the side refs
- which seems to be working well.
The system was given a stern test in last night's Lincou/Grant
match, with 64 decisions required in the 77-minute match. In 59 of
those it was a unanimous decision, which is pretty good going by any
Everyone seems to be agreed that the system is good and is the way
forward, but, just for the record, we thought we'd get some opinions
from players and referees …
"We talked about using the system here,
and once it was agreed I really wanted to get the players involved,
by using one of them for each match. It's for them after all and
it's good for them to get an insight into refereeing and the players
get confidence from seeing other players giving decisions.
"One of the pleasing aspects is the high percentage of unanimous
decisions, about 90/95%, and very few instances where the central
referee is over-ruled.
"It's certainly cut out all the arguments - and some of the long
good, and it's certainly done what it was intended to, cutting out
the arguments and confrontations. There's still a bit of banter,
which you don't want to get rid of, but it's taken the heat out of a
lot of situations."
works well. The players tend to look to the player/referee for their
decision first, they have more confidence when one of their own is
giving the decision. As long as there's a schedule laid out and
everyone knows what they're doing, I'm sure all the players will be
quite happy to take their turn in refereeing."
a referee you have to get used to the feeling of being over-ruled,
it's awkward the first couple of times but it doesn't happen often
and you quickly get used to being part of a team.
"In a way you feel as if your authority is diminished, it's
difficult if, say, you want to tell a player to make more effort -
you might give a no let next time but if the others don't take the
same line you can be over-ruled and look a little silly."
"It's unusual to get to the later stages of a tournament with hardly
any player reaction over referee's decisions, which proves that the
system is working well.
"One of the reasons squash didn't male the Olympics was that the IOC
members weren't impressed by the backchat to the referee during the
Commonwealth Games in Manchester. The system cuts all of that out,
so it can only be a good thing."
talk of using technology for 'voting by button', but I think the
current hand signal system works well. You'll get the odd reaction
from a player if you're outvoted, but you don't want to conceal who
made what decision.
"You know why you made your decision, but you don't know why the
others made theirs, so it's sometimes tricky to see what line
"Things to think about include how does it affect the WSF's referee
assessment programme (difficult to assess the performance of an
individual), should we have a fourth "not sure" signal for things
like not-ups, outs and downs so that only the referees who have a
clear view make the decision, and how will it work at lower levels
where there are only glassback or balcony-viewing courts.
"Overall it's a good system, it works well and it's the best way
The players' shuttle, from Pursers
View from the fifth deck
Stars give first-timers
the squash bug ...
Setting up a glass court in the heart of Canary Wharf takes some
doing, so you might as well make the best of it while it's there.
Title sponsors ISS are members of a grouping called ELBA which, as
one of its project runs 'London Legacy 2020' which aims to create a
sporting legacy for London using, among others, all the efforts
going in to the 2012 Olympics.
So, Tom Soper, their Sports Project Manager, organised for 15
kids from Langden Park School in Tower Hamlets to have their
first hit on a squash court.
But it wasn't just a case of putting them on there and letting them
get on with it - there to help out was England Squash Area Manager
Justyn Price, plus Thierry Lincou, James Willstrop
and Lee Beachill - some teaching force!
With Justyn showing them some basics like how to hold the racket and
the three stars taking them on court in groups, they all had a great
time and Justyn will be making sure it's all followed up on ...
Squash were so pleased to be part of the ISS Canary Wharf Squash
Classic, and wholeheartedly support the effort made by the
world-class players to introduce the great game of squash to
children who haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience it.
"We now will look to support these children in school-based projects
and who knows, maybe we'll find a future Classic winner from right
here in London …
So many Snappers
We're blessed with photographers at this event, there's our own
Fritz Borchert, David Barry is over from the States on a
family visit, Jos Aarts from the Netherlands is mainly
refereeing but also snapping away, Steve Line of course,
Patrick Lauson, and photographers from Getty Images and
some national newspapers.
So there'sno shortage of quality images coming out of Canary Wharf,
but it's getting a bit crowded behind that front wall, and the TV
people will be looking for their spots soon so it's not going to get
any better ...
All the Galleries
Fritz's Action Gallery
Canary Wharf Corporate Challenge 2007
The first of this year's Corporate Challenge matches took place
on Tuesday afternoon, with HSBC (leading bank) taking on
FSA (Financial Services Agency) in a match with a
definite financial flavour, as you'd expect.
FSA got off to a flying start as their number one Ian Marshall
won in four well-contested games, but HSBC levelled when Chris
Beeching cruised to a 3/0 win.
That set up a decider between HSBC's Cris Reynolds and Giles
Stimson for the FSA, and it was a see-saw affair with Giles
having a lead pegged back twice before finally clinching it 11/9
in the fifth.
One-nil FSA ................. One-all
The decider ! Giles & Cris
HSBC 1 FSA 2
Steve Twort 1-3 Ian Marshall
7/11, 11/7, 8/11, 4/11
Chris Beeching 3-0 Andrew Stimson
11/4, 11/6, 11/3
Cris Reynolds 2-3 Giles Stimson
7/11, 11/9, 3/11, 11/9, 9/11