It's a squash and a wheeze for Roy Edmonds

I was out having a drink with some old pals recently, when all of a sudden one announced: “We’ve been reminiscing and might go back to playing squash.”

Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:00 am
Squash

“We’ve got the gear,” he added, “I just need shorts, 36 inch waist.”

Even the lads earwigging on the next table laughed. My pal might wear that size trousers, under his paunch, but his waist expanded past 36 the same year he had.

Still, at least they were trying to get fitter.

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I advised against a slow ‘yellow-spot’ ball, as they’d get knackered just warming up. A beginners’ blue, or a even red one were preferable.

I hadn’t played since pulling a leg muscle for the umpteenth time in my 30s.

“Don’t tell me,” my GP said wryly back then, after hearing it was sustained at the squash club (the Breck, Poulton), “they rang last orders and you got off your barstool too quickly!”

He added, “My surgery’s full of old squash players.”

Yet it was at that club I witnessed our dynamic coach (Stuart Baron, I think) thrashed in a match by a portly, elderly Indian.

Stuart had to lie down afterwards, while his veteran opponent just strolled to the bar.

My favourite ageing squash-man tale comes from the flight to Hong Kong, when going there to work in the 80s.

A group of players had boarded the plane, storing racquets in the lockers above their heads.

One of them seemed familiar so, when going to the loo, I halted and asked, “‘Scuse me, but aren’t you Phil Kenyon?” (An upcoming Blackpool star I’d watched days before.)

“No,” said the grinning chap, though his wife looked daggers at me, “but I know him, how do you know Phil?”

We chatted then, before leaving, I asked, “Sorry, what is your name anyway?”

“Jonah Barrington,” he said.

The six-time world champion saw my embarrassment and kindly added, “Thanks, anyway, Phil’s years younger than me.”

* Roy’s books are on Kindle or paperbacks at royedmonds-blackpool.com.