Hertfordshire’s first-ever walking squash tournament, held recently at the Hertfordshire Sports Village, in Hatfield, has been hailed as a huge success.
Among the 16 participants, with a combined age of more than 600 years, were two septuagenarians, four women making their squash debut and a 21-year-old student who was walking past the court on his way to the gym when he made up the numbers to create a balanced draw.
The eventual winner was 68-year-old Peter Simmons, of Stevenage, while the most improved player award went to Hertfordshire University employee Maylani Appasamy.
Jon Wood picked up the oldest competitor award, donated by tournament sponsors the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership.
The partnership’s director John O’Callaghan was one of the participants – losing all six matches – in a tournament organised as part of May’s ‘Walking Month’ linked to the Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity 2018 campaign.
O’Callaghan said: “We were delighted with the turnout and my sincere thanks go to tournament organiser Tom Horey, the Hertfordshire Sports Village for the use of their superb facilities and to all those that took part.
“It was a great occasion with some exceptional squash action, played under modified rules designed to accommodate those with limited mobility, due to age or injury.
“While most of the competitors were there simply for a bit of social sport and the craic, in novices Kelly Fagan, Amelia Hall and Alex Varran we may well have unearthed some real squash talent that with practice, could be a force in competitive leagues.
“For those of us getting on in years, or with restricted movement due to injury, walking squash is a great way to keep fit and it provides a much-needed release valve for that competitive edge which, in my experience, never leaves you.
“I would commend it to anyone that is up for trying something different. This format of the game caters for all ages, sizes, and abilities.”
For more details about the county’s walking squash programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org.