As in previous years the Army Masters joined in with the annual Festival of Squash between the RAC Club (our hosts), Veterans Club of GB (the organisers) and Escorts (a roving squash group similar to the Jesters). The Festival has been going since 2013 with the Army winning 4 and VC of GB 2. This year it was a struggle to raise an Army team with many of the usual players otherwise engaged. In the end we had to rely on the help of a couple of ‘friends’ and a super-human effort from Len West.
The format is aimed at a 10 person team with 4 singles players and 3 doubles pairings. This year we had 7 players up until 3 days before when Gareth Hall dropped out through injury. The final team comprised singles: Len Westover, Rich Green and our first guest (from VC of GB) Nick Sheppard; doubles pairings were Phil Croager/Dave Smith, Aubrey Smith/Yam Rana and our other guests Lance Kinder/Lt Col (Retd) John Woodliffe. These last two gentlemen were immense: Lance is the over 80s world champion with the over 85s being created next year whilst John is a spritely 84 and probably the oldest genuine Army Masters player to ever have represented the Army!
The normal format is that each singles/doubles pair play their opposite number in a handicap match with every game counting to the final team score. Special mention must go to Len who played 6 singles matches winning all 3-0! In yet another close event in the end the Army and Friends pipped the VC of GB by 60 points to 56, regaining the trophy that we narrowly missed out on last year. That said for the Festival it is not all about the score or the trophy; squash was the winner with some excellent matches, great skill and endurance on show. Thanks to all the team; great effort all round and we will be going next year to enjoy another great day of squash and defend our title!