Friday, October 8, 2010

The Pro Squash Tour: Opinion Emphatically Confirmed!

I've opined on this blog on a few occasions that I thought the idea behind the no-let, "Point-Every-Rally" Pro Squash Tour was a great one that rightly places the fan experience first and foremost, where it belongs. The truth is, though, that I had never seen one of these matches, so my opinion was based on conjecture, not experience.

I now can give an eye-witness account of a Pro Squash match held earlier this week at the Sports Club/LA on New York's east side. This was tournament #3 of a tour schedule that now numbers over a dozen stops. The next event will be in Boston in mid-November.

And I say, don't miss it! The no-let match I saw, between US champ Julian Illingworth and Wael El Hindi, the highly creative Egyptian who now calls New York City home, was a grueling battle between two equally determined squashists who were willing to put their all into every shot. Yes, there were a few calls that had to be adjudicated by the ref. I can remember two let-point calls in the entire match, with both players receiving a call in their favor. Most of the time the players played right through, and it was not hard for them to do that in 95% of occurrences. Take for example the front corners, a place where many let calls are made, fished for or blocked over in normal pro play. In no-let, Point-Every-Rally matches, the players quickly learn that if they make an agile, fast stutter-step around their opponent—voila, no interference is made and they are right there, ready to strike the ball. It is a different way of playing, but not hard for these pros to get used to. 

There was a little bumping, but the only serious instance of that came when El Hindi tried to get around Illingworth, tripped and ended up on the floor. There were a few questioned calls, but those few (maybe 3 in the whole match) were close and understandable and were a lot fewer in number than the tens of calls one would normally have in a pro match.

These guys kicked their mutual butts. The play was highly creative. This is a vigorous, intense, forceful, supremely athletic, strong version of squash, and it makes standard, everyday, run-of-the-mill squash seem practically lethargic by contrast. The Illingworth-El Hindi match, which was for 3rd place in the tournament, lasted well past an hour, and that was with every rally ending in a point—it was intense indeed! Illingworth finally won it in the 5th, to a very appreciative round of applause. In the final, France's Thierry Lincou beat Englishman Bradley Ball, 3-0. 

My opinion of Point-Every-Rally matchplay has been emphatically confirmed. You have to check it out....  


  1. How refreshing, an eye witness account and first-hand experience to create an informed opinion on No Let Rule/Every Rally a Point.

    Judging by all the negative comments at the Squashsite forum you would think McManus was threatening the conservative Brits Queen.

    Thankfully someone thinks growing the sport is about the fans, innovation and leadership not forever chasing TV, Olympics, etc

  2. Amen, to the above.

    BTW, is there a media blackout on PST? Weird for a tour that everyone is talking about, that nobody covers their tournaments.

    Anybody know what's going on with Squashsite, Squash Magazine, Squash Talk?

  3. The latest is the PSA is forbidding players from playing PST events which for me is completely out of line, possibly illegal, and runs totally against what the PSA stands for in promoting squash. The PST is hte most exciting and creative idea in a long time for squash and the PSA should be ashamed wiht this behavior and stand down. Eveyone who loves this game should be outraged and send their resonses to the PSA leadership. i would hope the Squashist would also weigh in.


Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....