Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Al Valente Wearing All White Preparing For His Finals Match
Barry Garant Resting After His Finals Match
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The first event for them was the Pioneer Cup in Colonge, Germany on June 30 to July 4/11. Only 576 Players were registered playing. Wow!!!!
David Mill was placed in tier B of the Under 15 division because he lacked international competition experience. Despite this David preformed excellent and reached the semi finals. Well Done David!!!
Berto Mill played in the Under 13 Division performed equally as well as his brother David. Berto placed 20th after losing a tough match in the 2nd round to the 7th seed from England. Good Job Berto!!!
Stefan Houbtchev placed 21th in the Under 15 Division . Stefan could easily have moved up a few spots as he lost a very close 5 game match to the eventual 17th place finisher. Nice Work Stefan!!!
The Second Event for these juniors was the Dutch Open in Amsterdam, Netherlands on July 7 to July 10/11
Berto Mill in the Under 13 Division drew a tough qualifying match and lost in 4 hard fought games. Berto than competed in a round robin for 33rd place where he dominated the competition with a record of 3 wins to 1 loss.
David Mill's strong performance in the Pioneer Cup insured that he did not have to play in the tier B draw for the Dutch Open. In the main draw for the Under 15 Division David got a tough draw and encountered some serious competition!!!! David finished with 1 win and 6 losses. This record does not reflect that couple of the matches went 5 games. Good Work David!!!
Stefan Houbtchev in the Under 15 Division had an equally tough challenge as David. Stefan had a tough draw as well got off to a slow start by losing three straight tough matches before regrouping to win his last three matches. Nice Work!!!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
We all knew that the A Draw would be a battle between the two Marks. Mark Porter and Mark “Edge” Eugeni. In spite of this, there were others in the draw who were determined to do their best to knock one of them off. Mike “Doc” Connelly and Justin Warnock both made runs at them to no avail. In the end Porter and Eugeni faced off against each other in the finals. In the finals Porter played flawless squash and took an early lead. In the face of Porter’s early success, Eugeni fought back by coming within a hair of forcing a fifth game, but in the end Porter’s early lead was too much.
Mark Porter And Mark Eugeni
This year’s B draw featured young guns who were looking to make a name for themselves. Rob Roy, Mark Little and Tim Autterson to name a few. This movement came up empty for it was a crafty veteran Darin Peterson who prevailed. Peterson proved to be a tough competitor as he used his deceptive shot making ability to out duel the young guns to claim the championship. This was Peterson’s 1st Club Championship Victory!!!
Phil “The Prince” Blagdurn was the favorite to win the championship. He was the #1 Seed and walked all over the competition in the first two rounds to reach the finals. He played underdog Guy Hallifax in the finals. Hallifax proved that he was no underdog and the best player in the draw as he mopped the floor with Blagdurn in three straight games. After the match Blagdurn said he would have played better if his knee, back, elbow, ankle, neck, head, and shoulder did not hurt so much. This was Hallifax’s 1st Club Championship Victory!!!
Guy Hallifax Relaxing After His Victory
The 40+ Draw this year was about second chances. There were two matches in first round that were rematches of last year’s of 40+ Draw. Mike “The Muscle Shirt” and Steve “Drop Shot” DeMarco had a chance to gain revenge from their defeats of last year but neither could capitalize on their opportunity and made early exits. Rod “Rocket” Larson surprised everyone as he cruised through everyone on his way to the finals. In the finals though, his was quickly put down by Tom “40+ Champion” Porter in 3 games. This win for Porter marked his 4th consecutive 40+ Championship.
There were a few surprises in A Doubles this year. John Dunwoody and Steve McDougall pulled off a large upset by defeating Kevin “BFF” Furmanek and Craig Guthrie in the 1st round. As well as Mark “Hip” Hipkins and Mark “Stoner” Stone nearly pulled off a larger upset when they went up 2 games to none on Paul “Sinbad” Gebrael and Mark “Edge” Eugeni before losing in five games. The defending champs Nik “ND” Dimitrijevic and Justin Warnock battled their way back to the finals to play the upstarts Eugeni and Gebrael. In the finals every game was tight and hard fought but Eugeni and Gebrael were too much and prevailed.
John Dunwoody Following His Big Upset
The B Doubles Draw was a wide open. It was missing some notable teams from last year. The defending champs of Tom Beneteau and Lorrie Beneteau and last year’s runners up Barry Leavitt and Paul Gebrael were all MIA (Missing In Action). Despite this there were still some strong teams. Newly formed teams of Mark “Hip” Hipkins and Mark “Stoner” Stone and Doug Fields and Kevin “BFF” Furmanek were looking to capitalize on this void. Although in the end it was the old school team of Mike “The Muscle Shirt” Wilbur and Syd “Vicious” Strom that claimed the championships by defeating Hipkins and Stone 3 – 1. An interesting note during the finals - a spectator nursing a bum ankle uttered those immortal words “things will be different next year”.
A Draw – Mark Porter defeated runner up Mark Eugeni (3 – 1)
B Draw – Darin Peterson defeated runner up Tim Autterson (3 – 1)
C Draw – Guy Hallifax defeated runner up Phil Blagdurn (3 – 0)
40 + Draw – Tom Porter defeated runner up Rod Larson (3 – 0)
A Doubles – Mark Eugeni/ Paul Gebrael defeated runners up Nik Dimitrijevic/Justin Warnock ( 3 – 1)
B Doubles – Mike Wilbur/ Syd Strom defeated runners up Mark Hipkins/ Mark Stone (3 – 1)
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Steven Polli has successfully built an outdoor (roofless and concrete) squash court in Burlington Vermont. The court plays perfectly and is both maintenance free and vandal-proof! The court serves as a successful precedent for future such courts to be built across the USA.
The court is in Burlington, Vermont with a population of 120,000. There are already 4 squash courts there (2 hardball, 2 20' converted). The courts serve around 50 squash players. Steven's motivation for building an outdoor court was his desire to be outdoors in the summer time. He loves squash but hates to be indoors playing the game when the outside weather is warm and sunny.
Steven approached his Park district in 1998 to build the court. They were reluctant to fund the expensive project both for lack of funds as well as general ignorance of what squash is. They agreed to give Steven the land in a public park to build the court if he could raise the money himself. They also agreed to pay for lighting once it was completed.
Steven's first task was to raise $18,000 to pay for materials. Since he owns his own construction company, the labor would be free. Otherwise labor for the project would cost $42,000, making the total cost $60,000.
Steven asked local squash players, charity funds and squash manufacturers for money. He had a minimum donation amount of $500. Many people volunteered to donate $100, but Steven could not accept their donation out of fairness for those who donated $500 or more. Black Knight's distributor, Bob Morgan, enthusiastically gave $500.
Having raised the capital for material, the next step was to start building the court. The excavator had to dig 4.5 feet below the ground due to Vermont's deep permafrost layer. The front wall in squash is 15 ft high, but Steven's went to 16'. This makes the total height of the concrete wall 20.5 feet if you include the 4.5 ft below the ground. The concrete was poured in two stages. First an 8 ft pour then a 12 ft pour.
The walls are 10 inches thick. The side wall slope down to seven feet and the backwall is 4 ft high. Steven wanted people to be able to watch the game from the outside, which is why he kept the back-wall only 4' high. Also in the future you can add a 3 ft high glass back-wall to it. There is also 4 ft high netting around the court to catch lose balls. Without the netting one would have to walk a few hundred feet to go and find your ball!
The concrete floor has the same texture as a wooden floor. It is not too grippy, thereby making it easier on the joints. In fact Steven feels the court is no more demanding on the knees and joints then a wooden floored court.
The front wall faces North to avoid playing into the sun. The court is vandal-proof. The walls are painted with a special polyurethane paint that is grafitti proof. If graffiti is sprayed on it, then there is a lacquer solvent you can use to erase the graffitti.
The court does have a light, that remains on till 10 PM. Unfortunately the lights are not bright enThe court is virtually maintenance free except for painting it. The floor is sloped 1/8 inch for every foot from the back to front. This allows the water to drain through two holes in the front corners. Players can not tell the floor is sloped. One does have to bring a broom to sweep the floor before you play. In the winter times, they just let the snow sit there.
Steven claims you can play even in the dead of winter. In fact he was able to get the ball warmed up and lively in freezing temperatures! People have asked, " How many months can you use the court"? Basically you can use the court slightly longer than you can use a tennis court. In squash your body warms up to a much higher temperature than tennis, so you will not freeze playing in cooler tempratures.
Because the court is built on city property it had to be engineered to be struturally sound. Steven designed the walls for 90 mph wind loads. Steven has had good success with the court and has not had any problems with it. Some graffitti was sprayed inside it which he was easily able to erase. Due to his busy schedule, he has not been able to promote the court to more people in Burlington or organize tournaments. He feels that someone with some enthusiasm and time could easily use the court to spread the game to more people.
If anyone wants to build an outdoor court, Steven highly recommends that you contact him first. He can come to your city and serve as an advisor for the project or build it for you himself.
Steven also has an idea for some kit-courts he could build in people's houses. The construction would be an aluminium frame around cinder blocks with plastic panels and plastic floors. The cost would be $60,000.
Steven has done some great work for squash by building this unique outdoor court. To his knowledge it is the only one of its kind in the world. Greg Brooksbank in Minnessotta has built an outdoor court of plywood with 3/4" thick walls at a cost of $10,000. However, the court require major repairs every few years and is not permanent.
The court should serve as a successful precedent for future outdoor courts to be built. Certainly outdoor courts are a great way to expand the game to more people. Steven encourages anyone around the world to make the trip to play on it. He guarantees you will be sold immeadietely!ough to play in. Halogen type lamps would have been more effective.