Civil Service Squash mourns the loss of Tony Claydon

Our Civil Service Squash community was recently shocked by the sad news that Tony Claydon had died. Tony, one of our best known senior squash players, had only recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away peacefully in his sleep on 15th February 2016.

TonyClaydonTony's involvement with Civil Service Squash stretches back nearly 20 years and having spent an active and successful career in both the Navy and the Army it was little surprise that this  lifestyle would produce a squash player who could "mix it" with the best of us. He has represented the Gloucestershire County Squash Team in various age groups, was part of the GB Vets Team and also played for our own Civil Service Representative Team in numerous fixtures. Tony also played and was successful in many of our own National Squash events - he was, for example, the Over 55 Champion on several occasions and a winning member of the successful DSRA Team in our Team Event. Tony was also a keen motivator to introduce our Over 65 Event - last year Tony won this for the second time whilst also being the Over 55 Runner-up.

Tony was however more than just another great player - he was undoubtedly a great bloke. His competitive nature on court was always tempered by his acute sense of fair play, his sense of humour was always evident, he was reliable and a good friend and companion to many of us. He had also had a short spell serving on the Committee, keen to give back something to other players. Sadly Tony's name won't be on the draw sheet this April when this year's Over 65 Event is played but his name will be on a new Trophy to be called the "Tony Claydon - Over 65 Cup". Tony will be missed but not forgotten. Tony’s family have asked that anyone wishing to make a donation to his memory can do so by visiting either of the following websites:

New Winners Emerge in the 2016 Squash Team National Open Championships!

Six teams comprising of three men and two ladies recently attended this year’s CSSC Team Squash Event held in Nottingham on the 5th and 6th February 2016. Last year’s winners HASSRA had returned to defend their Title and repeat their impressive previous year’s win. Standing in their way was opposition from a new look Defence Team (DSRA), Revenue and Customs (RCSL), Land Registry, North West and a newly formed London Composite Team.

Winning Team - London Composite

The initial competition was formatted into 2 Round Robin Events with 3 teams in each group. The top 2 teams in each Group would progress into the Semi Final whilst the 3rd placed teams would play in the Plate Final.

In Group “A” HASSRA got their campaign off to a fine start with a 4-1 victory over North West. North West’s only winner was Paul Lane coming back from 2 games down to defeat HASSRA’s experienced Chris Beldon in the 5th game 15/10 ! North West’s fortune however looked to be improving in their next match when facing the new London Team - their ladies Shena Ferrie and Sian Hughes both stormed to impressive wins. North West’s men Dan Willets, Paul Lane and Jim Fay however could not repeat this feat - losing to the impressive London trio of Tony Webb, Ethan Thornton and David Nethercott. HASSRA the Champions would now face their first major hurdle as London the newcomers flexed their muscle! The early part of the clash went convincingly to HASSRA when their experienced ladies Keeley Grindle and Jackie Codman both produced fine wins over the London ladies, Carol Stone and Susan Gillam. HASSRA’s men however could not repeat this success - all three matches going to the London’s male trio! London would top the group whilst HASSRA would progress as runners-up.

In Group “B” the Defence Team looked in determined mood to once again get their name onto the Trophy – their first hurdle was against the experienced Land Registry Team. The Land Registry ladies Ruth Sleigh and Marian Holmes both put up fine performances against the strong Defence opposition of Joanne Stroud and Kate Cunningham but both had to eventually concede, Ruth losing 15/10 in the 5th game and Marian 16/14 in the 4th! Land Registry’s men Nigel Williams, Matt Thomas and Graham Cole also struggled against Defence’s Ollie Spiers, John McFarlane and Tom Littleton all losing 3/0! Land Registry’s fortune seemed to be taking a turn for the better in their next match against Revenue and Customs when Ruth Sleigh notched up a fine win over RCSL veteran Pat High Comer 3/1. Marian Holmes for Land Registry meanwhile also had recovered from 2 games down to draw level at 2 games all. Marian however could not find the extra few points needed in the 5th - going down eventually 15/10 to RCSL’s Hilary Craven. RCSL went on to take control when Geoff Irwin and Wayne Smith both produced fine 3/0 victories over Nigel Williams and Graham Cole! Matt Thomas for Land Registry however did produce a consolation win in the second string match against Glenn Wilkinson 3/1. The final Tie of the Round Robin between Defence and Revenue proved always to be an uphill battle for a tired Revenue Team with Defence producing a 5/0 score line to go forward as Group winners with RCSL progressing as runners-up. Land Registry would go into the Plate Final to face North West.

The first Semi Final on the Saturday morning saw London facing the RCSL Team. RCSL got off to a fine start when Hilary Craven produced a 3/0 win over London’s Susan Gillam. London’s David Nethercott however soon put the tie on an even footing by defeating Revenue’s Wayne Smith 3/0. RCSL’s number 1 player Geoff Irwin needed all his experience against the youthful Tony Webb and indeed fought hard in the opening game having one game point before losing it 18/16! Irwin led for much of the second game but again could not convert the advantage eventually losing 15/12 and similarly 15/11 in the 3rd. This was pivotal and with London’s Carol Stone defeating Revenue’s Pat High-Comer it was only left for Ethan Thornton to wrap things up 3/0 against RCSL’s Glenn Wilkinson.

The second Semi Final saw holders HASSRA face the prospect of a match against their old adversaries – Defence! The ever faithful Jackie Codman took an early lead for HASSRA by defeating the youthful Kate Cunningham 3/0. Tom Littleton playing for Defence soon levelled the match by defeating HASSRA’s Kevin Mulligan in a hard fought encounter. HASSRA however then took another step forwards when Keeley Grindle produced some fine squash to defeat a very worthy opponent Joanne Stroud. Once again the tie was levelled when Defence’s veteran player John McFarlane proved too good for HASSRA’s Chris Beldon winning 3/0. The stage was set for each Team’s number 1 player to decide the outcome –the youth of Defence’s Ollie Spiers versus the experience of HASSRA’s Marc Thomas. This was to prove to be the match of the Tournament! HASSRA edged the 1st game 15/10 only to see the second go to the Defence player 15/12! The third and fourth games replicated this pattern to ensure a fitting finish to the match with a fifth and deciding game. It would be a battle of stamina, nerves and determination. In the end it was HASSRA’s ability to doggedly keep the ball in play and force those crucial errors out of the younger Defence player that ensured HASSRA’s 15/10 victory – very well played Marc Thomas! HASSRA had achieved their second final in consecutive years.

The Final itself was to see the new London Team face the HASSRA Champions – ironically a repeat of their earlier encounter in the first day’s Round Robin. Once again the HASSRA’s ladies Jackie Codman and Keeley Grindle proved their superiority with fine 3/0 victories! HASSRA needed just one more tie to retain their Title - their weary men however could not quite find that “extra yard” and the powerful London trio took full advantage to hammer home their point by taking all 3 games 3/0! Congratulations and well played to the London Composite Team - the new Champions.

Winning Team Captain Tony Webb receiving cup from Linda
Runners up HASSRA Team with Team Captain Sian Hughes

The 3rd/4th place play off was won by DSRA who defeated RCSL 3/2. In the Plate Final North West’s Shena Ferrie produced a match winning performance against Land Registry’s Marian Holmes by edging past the winning post 16/14 in the 5th and final game to ensure their Team’s overall 3/2 victory! Well done North West.

Plate winners North West

Prizes were presented by Civil Service Squash Rackets Association retiring Chairman Linda Parsley. Thanks were extended to all the participating players and to Nottingham Squash Rackets Club for the use of their fine facilities.

The next Squash Event will be the Squash Masters and Racketball Tournament in Nottingham on 22nd / 23rd April 2016 – further details can be found on our Website


A new Ladies Champion and another win for James!!

The National Civil Service Squash Singles Championship 2015 was again held over 2 days in November at the Nottingham Squash Club. A successful event, both competitively  and socially, it attracted players from all over the country to compete in a graded event, aimed at players of all standards.

2015 CSSC Squash Masters Singles & Racketball

The prestigious Nottingham Squash Club was once again the venue for the 2015 CSSC Squash Masters Singles Championships and the CSSC Racketball Championships. A favoured venue for many CSSC squash events, the club and its staff once again gave a warm and friendly welcome to the players and guests.

16 years of HASSRA’s patience pays off in Team Championships!

Seven teams of three men and two ladies recently attended this year’s CSSC Team Squash Event held in Nottingham on the 5th and 6th February. Last year’s winners Defence (DSRA) arrived having doubled up to two strong teams and not to be out-done so did the HASSRA representatives. Hoping to spoil all the fun for both of these outfits were teams from Revenue and Customs (RCSL), Land Registry and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Singles 2014 - Hat Trick for James!

The Nottingham Squash Club was once again the venue for the National Civil Service Squash Singles Championship. Held in November 2014, it attracted players from all over the country and of all playing standards for a graded event which was both competitive and social in nature.

CSSC Certificate of Recognition Award for our Webmaster, Mark

Mark w Certificate P1000063 croppedOur webmaster, Mark, created the CSSC-Squash website in 2006 and has managed and enhanced it since that date. In recognition of his important contribution, the Squash Committee applied to the CSSC for a Certificate of Recognition for Mark. This is awarded to volunteers within CSSC who “have made a noteworthy difference in his or her voluntary contribution to CSSC

The reason for requesting this award is because of the effort that Mark has put into the website, both in creating it and continuing to develop it. We have all been impressed by what Mark has achieved and grateful for the benefits we have received by better communication with our membership. Its success is obvious and we feel it has made an incredible difference to us.

Regrettably, because of Mark’s work commitments, we were unable to present the Award to Mark at one of our events, so CSSC Squash Chairman, Linda Parsley, visited Mark in London one lunchtime to present Mark with his well-earned Certificate.

2014 Squash Masters & Racketball Singles

2014-masters-1It was a welcome return to the prestigious Nottingham Squash Club on the 28/ 29 March for the 2014 CSSC Squash Masters Singles Championships. A favoured venue for many CSSC squash events and the club and its staff as always gave a warm and friendly welcome to the players and guests.

Entries were spread across all the categories on this occasion with the number of total entrants remaining about the same as in previous years. There were also several new players to the competition. By combining some categories it ensured that all entrants played at least three matches over the two days. Each competition was hard fought and played in a sporting and fun-like manner.

Defence regain the trophy in 2014 Team Championships

Winning Team (DSRA)Seven mixed squash teams of all standards came to the Nottingham Squash Club on 6/7 February 2014 for the 2013/14 CSSC Squash Team Championships. Many of the main Departments were represented with 35 players from all over the country competing in a friendly, though competiveness atmosphere.

SPARTA, last year’s Champions, were unable to raise a team this year, but we saw the welcome return of the RCSL (Revenue and Customs) team along with a new team from the NW Region. The seven teams of 3 men and 2 ladies played on the Thursday in 2 groups. The winners and runners-up of each group would progress to the semi-finals on the Friday with a Plate competition for the other teams.