Day of the Challenge ...
had a few lunchtime activities on semi-finals day, aimed to help
promote England Squash & Racketball's new partnership with
Dunlop - more of that later.
First up was a challenge between squash legend Jonah
Barrington and son Joey. Now, Jonah may have six
British Open titles to his name, but at the age of 68 he needed
a little help, so while he played with one of Dunlop's current
top of the range rackets, Joey was using one of his Dad's Maxply
rackets from the seventies.
to which Joey was barred from hitting short winners, and referee
Linda Davie was, shall we say, leaning towards the elder
Barrington in her decision-making.
So, one game to 11 it was, and while Joey was managing to
pummell the ball to the back, as he does, with his new weapon,
Jonah was able to catch him out with some nifty flicks from the
back of the court, and not a little backchat too.
actually coped with the racket very well," admitted Jonah
afterwards. "It's probably 220 grams compared to the 140 he
plays with and the head is very small, but he was hitting the
Joey reached matchball, thought he'd won it when he slammed a
volley into the nick only to hear the referee call "fault, short
ball," and we were into extra points.
never played a tiebreak in my life," mused Jonah, who won the
next point with one of those flicks, then started on the verbal
intimidation as he took as long as he could before serving for
the pressure got to Joey, or whether Jonah was threatening some
unmentionable punishment should he dare to beat his old man
we'll probably never know, but when Jonah put in another
back-right to front-left wristy flick Joey couldn't react in
time, Jonah's arm in the air and certain members of the audience
were delighted too.
did you think of those two last shots, not bad eh," beamed
Jonah, who was not noted for outright winners in his heyday. "I
just hammered the ball to the back until they missed, how could
they beat me ..."
"I would have like another game or two but it would probably
have been embarrassing for the poor lad, I was really beginning
to find my touch there."
The Barrington's team up again tonight as the SquashTV
commentary team. "It should be interesting," said Joey, "but as
the lead commentator I'll be able to tell him when to shut up,
which will make a change."
"I'm not sure what will happen," said Jonah, "I don't think
we've ever talked for more than a minute, maybe a minute and a
half, without arguing ..."
To see how they get on, tune in tonight ...
After the Barringtons came a racketball challenge between
Jon Kemp and Alison Waters, the Women's National Champion
naturally taking the honours, then some of the players and squad
juniors tested their racket arm power against the radar speed
gun (John White's 172mph was the target).
Top speed, 158 Declan James
Nick Matthew 147
Jon Kemp 148