Mar.2016 - Singapore Jumbo Doubles tour – Jan.29th to 31st (by Julien Lironcourt) 

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On the last weekend of January, 3 pairs of Hong Kong Football club players were off to Singapore for the annual President's Cup Jumbo doubles tournament at the Tanglin Club. Sorry, let me rephrase this, 3 pairs were supposed to go but Swiss efficiency apparently not being at the level of its myth among the club members, Dallas Reid was left on his own and had to pair with a local player at the last minute.  The first pair -seeded for the event- was composed by the multi times Jumbo Doubles champions, 2 times winner of this event, the legend pair formed by Glenn Hitch and Phil Head (the legend not being restricted to the boundaries of the squash court...). The last and newly formed pair was representing proudly the Div 8 team (or Cheung Kong Centre as you wish) with the tour experienced Nick Stearn and the rookie Julien Lironcourt.

 

So the weekend actually started early on the Thursday as our crew was on the 8am flight to Singapore, for some to go and play golf in the afternoon, for some others just to make the most of Singapore (catching up with mates or colleagues, buying a Rolex, anything Singapore had to offer really).

 

Friday was tournament day 1, first team on had Nick & Julien taking on an Aussie pair from Melbourne. After a good start and taking the first set there was a big turnaround when a chat with the opposition between games ended up in the HKFC bankers being called crooks by a dodgy broker from Australia. That had the merit to build up the tension and made the squash level rise, Nick did try everything including smacking the ball into the temple of the opposition but the HKFC pair came a bit short and lost a tight match. That was then the plate for the rest of the weekend for those two (rest of the weekend during which Nick had the delight of seeing his opponent face going from red to blue, to black and purple and be reminded of the power of his backhand every time he bumped into him)

Next team on was Dallas', and being actually quite lucky on the pull for a partner, despite the obvious lack of understanding on court between the two, they were through to the next round. They then lost their next game and were put in the classic plate.

 

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Friday evening came and the start of the tournament for our number one team, which being seeded was exempted from the first round. After a first set that Phil took as a warm up, there was no competition for those two and they were through to the next round, that they played straight after, courtesy of the organisation which had to catch up with the delays. They faced a much better opposition in their second match in a row where they dropped a game but were through to the quarters and the only HKFC team still in the main draw.

 

The Saturday game started at 9am by the plate, Nick and Julien got through easily thus being rewarded for taking it easy on the Friday night -surprisingly enough to be mentioned. Dallas was on the pull again the previous night as his previously found partner was a Singapore airlines steward and was off that day. I heard he got quite lucky again and went through one more round in the classic plate despite playing with his shorts inside out (see photo below).

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Nick and Julien finished their tournament in an epic battle losing at sudden death in the last game. The last pair on, Phil and Glenn, were playing in the quarter-finals against a strong pair including the best player in Singapore. They lost honourably against the future finalist.

So it was now mid Saturday afternoon and everyone was out of the competition, all set for a few beers, watching the semis (with some beers), some more drinks and a nice steak restaurant (and a few more drinks).

 

Sunday was finals day, which pretty much all our crew missed - funny enough, the finals being held in the morning. The final of the main draw saw the most homogeneous pair win the trophy after an incredible comeback. Those two local guys are both PSA ranked, around 350 in the world, just to give an idea of the level of play. It was followed by a nice lunch buffet host by the Tanglin club as well as the classic farewell drinks at the wet bar afterwards to close a great weekend.

 

Next Asia tour jumbo doubles event will be in Bangkok and the word in the squash section is that the club will be much better represented as that one is pretty popular among members.

COACHING

Phil Head and his team are available for lessons, both private and group, for all ages.  For more information please contact Phil on philhead@netvigator.com or on 9166 4931.

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