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Thursday, 2 June 2011

The End For Our Squash Games?

I wake up with an incredibly sore shoulder. I was possibly too overzealous with the tug toy and MD last night. Still I grit my teeth and cycle. Will do it good I say. L doesn’t look convinced.

The shoulder IS improving. Slowly. I think exercising it on the bike this morning did it good. L still seems sceptical and thinks I should cancel squash. Which is a bit of an overreaction I think.

I remembered to avoid the loose chippings this morning but forget on the way home and have to u-turn but it proves to be well worth it when I get to slipstream a couple of girlies on road bikes. Briefly. My God they were fast women. Out of my league, that being the veterans league of course.

It’s good that my shoulder didn’t cause me to cancel squash because it’s a good game, very close and I even win a game. Although I think my necks gone now. Also because we might not be getting many more games in, as we find that the courts are being demolished next Friday. Ah. Nice of them to tell us. We book a final farewell game for next Thursday and considering camping out in the courts afterwards to stop their demolition.

The courts are closing because the council line is that no one uses them. I pointed out to the staff that both courts were almost always booked at 6.15 before we play, at 7.00 when we play and at 7.45 afterwards, on whichever day we play but apparently this isn’t classed as busy because people aren’t skipping work to play in the afternoons.

So the gym is going to be extended over the squash courts instead. There have been rumours about this for years but I felt confident that this wouldn’t happen without consultation with centre users, what with us being regulars. Got that one wrong didn’t I.

Problem is where will we play now? A year ago two courts in the east of the city were demolished, then with these in Clifton gone that leaves just four. Two of those are at Beechdale Swimming Centre but that entire centre is scheduled for demolition sometime in the not so distant future. I’m guessing here but I bet Beechdale’s courts won’t be replaced either. Which leaves out old favourite Portland but Portland is popular, in the evenings anyway, and is almost impossible to get into, which is why we usually play at Clifton.

Nottingham City Council has been running down its squash provision for years, saying that squash is in decline, whilst offering facilities in such a state that they actively encourage a decline by driving customers away. All the courts are in an appalling state without exception. Peeling paint, uneven floors, uneven walls and rails broken. I am also not aware of a single council court that has a working ventilation system; all are broken and have been for as long as I can remember. Some of the doors don’t shut properly. One at Clifton, when shut, could often only be opened from the outside. Then some weeks we have been unable to play because the squash court has been booked for Pilates! So it's no wonder they can't attract enough people to play on their courts.

L runs to us, goes in the soon to be expanded gym and meets us afterwards. Hopefully they’ll be some good beers on at the pub tonight, I need a strong one. As its the Ruddington Beer Fest starting this evening we should be in luck. The festival runs across three pubs of which our usual the ‘Three Crowns’ is one. Titanic Stout and Batemans Victory. Shame I'm driving.

There’s always tomorrow.



(Thursday 2nd June)

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