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27th SA Knights' Tour Review

The traditional send off fixture Vs the ex-knights marked the beginning of the 27th SA Knights Tour.  We arrived at the stunning house of Tracy and John Davenport for what was a top notch send off for the team that consisted of: Stefano Garas - a 24 year old civil engineer from Durban, Charl Fourie – a 20 year old student at Tukkies studying Mechanical Engineering from Pretoria, Daniel Thomson – a 23 year old postgraduate Financial student at UCT from Cape Town, Kyle Maree a full time squash player and part time stock trading student from Johannesburg and myself, Michael Shean, 23 year old recent finance graduate at UCT from East London. We had a great bunch of guys all representing different provinces in South Africa.

27Th Tour 1Charl Fourie, Stefano Garas, Michael Shean (C), Kyle Maree and Daniel Thomson

The evening’s fixture was played in a very relaxed and social manner against the ex-Knights. Honouring past traditions we let the ex-Knights win. Their team consisted of Craig Stevens, JP Bits, Derek Van Der Merwe and Gary Plumstead. Some parents and older Knights popped in to show their support and offer valuable last minute advice. Below is a photo of most of the Knights at the send off.

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A game of doubles took place, which was followed by a quick shower and a delicious meal. Our Knights kit was handed over by Chris Richards and Steve Doeg while receiving plenty of well wishes. The beers, past stories and advice flowed well into what was a fantastic evening.

Our flight left on the 29th of November and we all made it on with not much baggage weight to spare. With the flight being over night, the guys had a couple beers to mark the beginning of the tour. Needless to say, the drinking games were well in their advanced stage when we landed in London.

We were met at the airport by Joe Richardson, John & Robyn Shean. After a quick stop and shop we were taken to our flat in Marylebone, which Joe had kindly arranged.  The kind helping hand received from Joe and his wife, Maggie during our stay in the UK was substantial and incredibly generous. I find it impossible to believe the tour could have been such a success without them.

After settling into our flat we decided to head off down the road to find some supper and have a look see what London had to offer on a Sunday evening. The boys were quickly shocked when we stopped at the Marylebone pub to buy 5 pound 50 pints. We crawled out of that pub in a rush to find another pub around the corner, which was way cheaper at 4 pound 50.

We woke up fresh, strong and excited for our first fixture. The majority of stories told were about the fixture Vs the Jesters at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, hosted by the legendary Peter Chalk. The fixture was to be played in all whites using the old English scoring. Border teammates and the captains of their respective teams, Tim Garner and I were on first, playing at 1.  The fixture was very evenly contested with the final match going to 5sets and deciding the fixture that unfortunately didn’t go our way. We had a wonderful meal before we were escorted to one of the upper class Gentlemen’s Clubs in London, where the team was well entertained while, sipping on sweet champagne. After getting lost a couple times, we finally arrived at our flat, just after 5am. The fixture certainly lived up to its expectations and all stories told. Thanks to Tim, his side and the legendary Peter Chalk.

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After spending the majority of the day making ourselves at home in the flat, we headed off to ensure we knew how the public transport worked and that we would be at our next fixture at Oxford and Cambridge Club on time. For our London fixtures we battled with public transport and new postcodes to find our way to the venues on time or just after. Again, we played using old English scoring and the games were tightly contested. This time we won 3-2 and we were delighted to get our first win on tour. We had a nice meal and a couple drinks before making our journey back home. Thanks to Dominic Curtis for organizing a great evening.

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SA Knights with Oxford and Cambridge team at dinner

After a day of site seeing, which saw us walk past Big Ben, the London Eye, River Thames and a couple of other cool sites in London, we played Roehampton Squash Club. The start of our battles, getting to fixtures on time, began here and it was soon after that Charl became our travel guide for the tour. We really turned up against Paul Lindsay’s side and played some of our best squash to win 4-1. We then were treated to a delicious meal and plenty of alcohol, which was only the start of the evening. We then travelled into town and hazardous Skalla and Duane were created. We found a Tiger Tiger and celebrated our win well into the next morning. Dan got slightly forgetful while Kyle had a cold evening, as he couldn’t get into the flat, as the rest of the team slept and didn’t hear the doorbell ringing. Kyle then had to collect the team bags the next morning before catching some sleep. Thanks to Paul Lindsay and Rob Findlay for being awesome but slightly reckless hosts!

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Team selfie with The Big Ben

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SA Knights with Rob Findley and the dangerous Paul Lindsay

Team brunch and afternoon naps were the order of the day before our next fixture at Coolhurst Lawn Tennis & Squash Club. For the 3rd time in 4 nights we came up against Nick Sutcliffe and we were certainly not going to let him win 3 matches in a row. We put Kyle up against Nick and this did the trick. The Knights won the fixture 4-1 before having a nice meal and a couple of beers. It was great to play 3 fixtures with Nick in the opposing side and with a couple of niggles, we had his number on speed dial if any Knight was to be seriously injured. Thanks to Nick and his side for being cool hosts.

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SA Knights at dinner with Coolhurst team

After bringing up a hat trick of wins we were off to play at Colets Health Club determined to extend our winning record. At Waterloo station, we jumped on the wrong train, partly due to me, which lead to us just arriving on time to play the fixture. After going 2 nil down in the fixture it looked as gloomy as the English winter weather, but Stefano fended off 3 match balls in the 3rd to win his match and I won my match in 5 sets to level the fixture at 2 all. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get over the line for a disappointing 3-2 loss. By now we had already noticed that chilli con carne was the choice of dish in the UK. We were lifted to the train station and caught the last train home to finally get home well after 1am.

After getting home so late we had to be up bright and early for a midday fixture at Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club. Playing 12 hours later was never going to be easy but with a break around the corner we were ready to give 100%. Unfortunately, as hard as we tried we couldn’t find our straps and we ended up losing 3-2 again. We then had a beer at the bar where Stefano saw the long and short of Wimbledon, which ended in plenty of laughs between the team. We then continued to have our first fines evening before heading to Clapham Junction for a night out.

Sunday was a much needed rest day and we were lucky enough to have the amazing opportunity to visit Hampton Court and learn how to play Real Tennis, thanks to Simon Fox, Joe's son-in-law. The game has endless rules all designed to benefit King Henry VII. Stefano and I made a lethal doubles side while Charl proved to be the most accurate. We then headed to a nearby restaurant where we all had burgers and a pint or two.

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Hampton Court, the venue for Real Tennis

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SA Knights playing Real Tennis

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The team in their all whites with King George VII in the background

With one fixture remaining in London and our record at 3-3, it was crucial that we won the last match and left London with more wins than losses. It was also important to stop the rot of 2 successive 3-2 losses. Coming off 2 losses the guys were determined as ever to ensure we won this fixture. Daniel put in a dogged and determined performance in a deciding match that went the full 5 game distance. He fought tooth and nail and eventually won the match 3-2 resulting in a 3-2 win for the SA Knights over Bexley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club. We were then treated to a tasty meal and a couple beers, which tasted much better after Dan’s narrow victory. Thanks must go to Ben Ford and Peter Lewis for what was an awesome fixture.

The next morning we packed our bags in what was a rush 2nd to none. We slugged our 30kg’s down the stairs into a taxi and caught a 2minute cab to the train station. We then headed for Basingstoke, where Joe and Maggie lived, to pick up our 2 hired cars. We decided to make the trip to Wales in one car and headed for Cardiff after fish and chips with Maggie. The squashed trip was hysterical as Daniel tired to pronounce the Welsh words appearing on the side of the road. We arrived in Cardiff to come up against a youthful side organized by Nick Birt. We proved to be too strong winning 5-0. We ended up going out in Cardiff and we all had a really great night, Kyle had the best night. Period!

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SA Knights with a youthful Cardiff team

The next fixture was in Isle of Wight and our ferry departure time was 13h00. We left Cardiff and raced to Southampton via Basingstoke and only just made it in time. We were the last on the ferry after grabbing the closest (illegal) parking. We arrived at the courts slightly early so some of the team used the time to sleep, others to preserve their last racquets and I stepped on court to play with juniors. We won the fixture 3-2 before heading to the local bar for home grown ale, Wight Christmas. Martin Phillips looked after the guys and ensured most of the team was warmed up for the next game with a mountain hike in the morning.

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SA Knights with Isle of Wight opponents

Once arriving back in Southampton, we found a 60-pound fine on our car so Stefano and I went off to try and organise a deal, which luckily we got reduced to the overnight parking cost of 12 pound. A day of not much travelling was enjoyed with a walk around the Southampton city and a quick visit to the Titanic museum. We then made the journey to Middleton on sea. We came up against a strong team, which could have gone either way. We lost the fixture 3-2 with both Charl and Daniel narrowly losing cliff-hanging 5 setters leading to a runoff of 3 successive victories being broken. Paul Bell taught us the game of TINK, but hosting captain Brandon Handley, was worse than us newcomers at remembering the rules to the game. TINK then, as in previous tours, became a popular drinking game for the rest of the tour. Thanks to Brandon and his team for what was a wonderful evening!

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Kyle attempts to move lanky opposing captain Brandon Handley off the T

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Paul Bell goes cross-court to my backhand

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Stef swoops for the ball

The next day we spent the majority of the time in Superdry at Wetherbys center. We then arrived at the Southampton airport, where we bumped into the Southampton football team, to catch our 5pm plane to Guernsey. Our flight was delayed due to air trafficking controls and just before the fixture had to be cancelled we boarded the flight. Our host for the evening Martin Watts, along with Gregg Forino picked us up at the airport and raced us across the island to the courts for a 19h30 start off. We won the fixture 5-0 before going to opponent and fellow South African Andy May’s house for a superb steak braai. A good evening out followed and we were really spoilt by the squash community of Guernsey.

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SA Knights with Guernsey opponents

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SA Knights with Guernsey squash at Andy May’s braai

A comedy of errors occurred, which saw us end up at the airport, instead of the ferry port, due to my wrongdoing. We jumped in a taxi and only just made it to the ferry for our journey to Jersey. We were picked up by Nick Taylor, who was not only one of the best players we came up against, but was one of our favorite hosts on the tour. Nick’s love for the sport and organizational skills were immediately noticeable and clearly visible throughout the evening. He took us to the hotel that was kindly sponsored for a 2night stay by Spoor and Fisher. The nice sized crowd and hype for the fixture had the boys up for the game and we certainly delivered with a 4-1 win. We then met Nick’s family and son, Charlie Taylor, who in his 7-year-old voice said, “I will play against the SA Knights in 2021 and will be world champion soon after”. We then socialized with supporters of the evening’s matches. With a rest day ahead the guys put their hair up, mainly Stefano, and had a great night out, just over the road from our hotel at Mimmosa. I would like to congratulate my opponent, Scott Gaultier, for the recent birth of his child.

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SA Knights Team with Jersey opponents

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SA Knights with future star Charlie holding the SA Knights book

After a much needed rest day we were off to play at Winchester, where we won the fixture 3-2.  Stefano won a deciding match against Jon Foster in what was a tense match. Thank you to our hosts and Gary Hinton for an awesome fixture.

We made the long drive up to Bury St Edmunds to play at Moreton Hall Health and went on to win the fixture 3-2. For this fixture we were kindly hosted by club manager Peter Alexander, who, it turns out is a world masters champion in squash. The story of the night belongs to Kyle, where some class instructor at the complex besotted him with her distinct look, but unfortunately nothing fruitful prevailed. The next morning we were treated to a nice breakfast, although the guys weren’t so keen on trying the black pudding.

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SA Knights with Moreton Hall opponents

The guys were overly excited to see what Essex had install after a couple of quieter evenings and Kyle’s birthday fast approaching. We arrived at the courts to see Paul Allen, the brother of a well-known coach and someone who helped Daniel in his youth, Mark Allen, playing at 1. We found a Hudson’s and decided we had to have a good burger in preparation for the evening fixtures before we strolled around looking for a possible party place after the fixture. Before reaching the courts we were invited to drop our stuff at the Selby house where Karen was kindly hosting us for the evening. Daniel and I were left stranded, no Satnav, no cell and no directions when the team left us and so we spent the majority of the time lost before the rest of the team finally reached us. Karen’s hospitality was great and well needed; the guys enjoyed having their own beds as well as getting some washing done. The fixture was tightly contested and we snuck a very close 3-2 win. Kyle, Stefano and I all won our matches 3-2 to sneak past Lexden. Thanks to Paul and Karen for the pleasurable time in Colchester.

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Guys grabbing grub at Hudson’s in Colchester

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Chaps celebrating our victory at Lexden Squash in Essex

Our next fixture was at Bishops Stortford , well organised by the Mulvey family. The evening was very well supported, nicely organized and the games tightly contested. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring home the fixture and win the final match, losing a narrow 3-2, which resulted in us losing 3-2. I gave it my all but it just wasn’t to be. We had a great evening and the Knights won the boat race by a full length, if not two, in typical fashion! We then took to the town with our opponents for what was a pleasant evening. As can happen, on a tour like this, and has happened in the past, we unfortunately weren’t hosted which meant we slept at the squash courts. I guess you can’t have a Knights tour without being able to tell the tale of being woken up at 7h30AM to the beautiful sound of the ball pelting into the wall.

We spent most of the next day sleeping and recouping at the Shean’s house in Wokingham before our next game in Oxfordshire, against Thame Squash Club. We won the fixture 4-1, with only Charl losing in a match he would like to forget. His opponent, Simon Martin, self-additively is a well-rounded character and his movement isn’t lightening quick either. Simon wore black, used his time wisely between points and used just about every stroke in the book to win this match but Charl didn’t put up much resistance and spent most of the match perplexed. We were kindly booked into a bed and breakfast of the Preston family, who were involved in the initial building of the Thame squash Complex.

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SA Knights with the Thame squash team

The next fixture was against Windsor. We arrived early enough to enjoy a walk down the river and around the Windsor Castle with Tammy, Simon and Kira. We came up against good opposition and played well to win 4-1. Daniel in his usual play-as-much-as-possible approach extended the game into a fifth set, before he was just beaten 12-10. We ended up having a great night out in Windsor with our opponents, who along with the host Mark Quinton, had kindly organized for us to stay at the Skyways hotel in Langley. Most of us stayed at the Skyways, while a teammate woke up in an area he thought resembled Kazakhstan, but actually was Slough!

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Team selfie with Windsor castle in the background

Next up were Caversham Health and Fitness Ltd. Over a lovely lunch at Joe Richardson’s house, we found out that he would not be supporting us for this fixture, as Caversham is his home club. We managed to win the fixture 3-2 and were treated to see the talent of 16 years old, Kyle Finch, play some quality squash. Thanks to Rick Weatherall and the Caversham team for an awesome evening.

Our last fixture before Christmas was Vs Surrey Sports Park. With our host Jess Englebrecht at 5, we thought we were in for a battering, but came away with a resounding 4-1 victory. The fixture was closer than the score line shows with Kyle playing his best squash of the tour in a 3-2 win over Alex Ingham. I’m sure the support of Cheyna Tucker and Lauren Dean was the reason he played such great stuff! We then attended the Surry Park Christmas function before heading out into town for the evening. This was the first time the Knights had played at Surrey Park and I am sure it will be a favourite fixture for any years to come.

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SA Knights and Surrey Park Squash team

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SA Knights with our support team (Lauren and Cheyna) at the Christmas function

The team went our own ways over the Christmas period and met up again on the 28th of December. We travelled down south to Exeter for our next match, Vs Devon and Exeter. Some rustiness clearly crept in but we won 4-1. Kyle found himself 10-4 down, match ball in the 3rd and after seeing off 12match balls won 17-15 in the 5th. Thanks to our host, Adam Lings, and the opponents who took us out for a delicious curry and a couple beers.

The next fixture was in beautiful but cold Torquay. Only on court or in the bar were we ever warm in Torquay. It’s no myth, the temperature decreases by a degree per step, when you make your way down the 15steps to the courts in Torquay. We won the fixture 5-0 and then continued to win upstairs in the bar! We won the boat race in a tightly contested race before Dave Palmer had some interesting bar games that helped Torquay record their first win of the evening. We then went out for a drink or two before going off to the casino where Dave recorded his win for the evening. The Knights guys weren’t as lucky but did walkaway with some extra spending money.

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Photo with the Torquay drinking team headed up by Torquay’s real Dave Palmer

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Found written on top of the SA Knights team car when leaving the Torquay squash complex

Our last fixture of the year was in Plymouth at Fort Stamford Health and Fitness. Royston Sumner and his family generously looked after us and we spent the day in the sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and pool. We had a minor scare as Kyle hurt himself before the match but it was all worth the fist pump he gave us, after winning his match!  We won the fixture 5-0 before moving upstairs where we were challenged to a boat race. They must have heard of our drinking expertise as they brought in a team that we just pipped at the end. Chloe then led us through a couple drinking games before taking us out into town where things got a little creamy, I mean steamy for some! Thanks to the Sumner family for their kindness and hospitality. We spent most of the morning using Fort Stamford’s great facilities before making the 7hour trip to Rhos-On-Sea for New Year’s Eve.

Conwy Bay is a very quiet place over New Years Eve but we somehow found Hickories, which was one of the only bars open for the evening. We partied up a storm with the waitresses while keeping an eye on the amazing New Years Eve show in London. In true SA Knights style we got quite festive somewhat neglecting the fact that the next fixture was at 11am against Le Sport Health & Fitness. Charl found himself promoted up the order and played some really good squash to beat Emily Whitlock 12-10 in the 5th relying on some crafty frame shot making. We won the fixture 5-0 and headed to our host Rob Forde’s favorite bar for a bite to eat with our opponents who also looked slightly worse for wear on New Years day.

We then travelled off to Chorley where we came up against David Lloyd Chorley. Quite a family team I’d say! We came up against Laura Massaro, ladies world number 2; husband Danny and Laura’s brother, Chris Lengthorn. We arrived reasonable early and were afforded the opportunity to use the amazing facilities to relax, sauna, swim and even play some indoor tennis. Some of the guys were starting to feel run down and sick but this was no excuse as a classy team overpowered us to a 4-1 win. Our first loss by a margin greater than 3-2 was tough to take but at least we had maintained our record of not losing to a girl as I luckily snuck passed Laura in a win 3-2. We spent the evening in Laura and Chris’s squash home, along with Ashley and Julian. Daniel barked the house down as he became exceedingly sick. It was the first time we had played at David Lloyd in Chorley and it was a great fixture. Hopefully the next team will do slightly better.

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Court used for the David Lloyd Chorley fixture, The Laura Massaro Court

Fortunately for Dan, as he had some time to recover, but unfortunately for the rest, we didn’t get the opportunity to play at Pontefract Squash Club. Malcolm Willstrop had either lost his phone, doesn’t check his email or isn’t interested in hosting the Knights anymore. It’s sad that we weren’t able to play at a club rich with squash traditions. We spent the day in Chorley just relaxing.

We travelled to Halifax the next day and booked ourselves into the Premier Inn. By this stage, any spare second was spent playing cards with the loser taking duties for the evening. We met David Hymas and our opponents at the Queens Sports Club. With the name it was ironic that the top two players were both girls with Sarah Kippax and Amanda Murphy being their top seeds. After playing Laura in the last fixture I pulled rank and slipped down the order to let Stefano and Kyle take on the girls. We won the fixture 4-1.

The following day we travelled to Durham to take on a Durham Select at Norton Squash Club. We were welcomed by masses of people for what was a fantastic fixture that was evenly contested. We ended up losing 3-2 in a nail-biting and very entertaining encounter before we had pizza for supper, a beer or two and played some woeful darts. Our host, Dave Geldart generously donated the funds raised on the evening to the Knights, which came to over 120pounds. We didn’t play our best but thanks must go to Dave and our opponents for a fantastic evening.

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The crowds at Norton Squash Club enjoying the thrilling clash, Durham Select Vs The SA Knights

A morning spent trying to get our washing dry meant we had limited time to get to the next venue. We were booked into a super hotel by Windscale. We made our way down to the courts to help in a Knights coaching clinic for 45minutes. It was great to give something back to Windscale and a cool initiative that the Windscale juniors really enjoyed. We played in front of a full crowd, which was really enjoyable and the guys played some fantastic squash. Charl says he made 3 mistakes the whole match, which would have been a seriously mean feet, if true. We won the fixture 5-0 before having a wonderful meal and socializing with a youthful side and the many supporters. Thanks to Ian Richardson and Tom Armstrong for a really well organized evening and the great accommodation.

At 11h30 the next morning, the hotel room phone rang with a pleasant reminder that check out was at 11am. With that we made the short trip up to the most north part of England to take on Carlisle Squash and Racquet club. The biggest gallery I have ever seen was filled with an estimated 175plus people who watched the fixture from start to finish, certainly our biggest crowd of the tour. A slightly tougher fixture than the night before, but the boys managed a 2nd successive clean sweep to win 5-0. We then had a enjoyable meal before making our way back to the Premier Inn. Thanks to Ronnie and his son Paul Bell for organising a wonderful fixture.

On we headed, into a very cold and dark Scotland. Kyle and Stefano forgot racquets and had to turn back for Cumbria after crossing the border into Scotland. We came up against a very competitive West Scotland Select in Glasgow. The Newlands courts were some of the fastest courts seen all tour and it didn’t help playing against the hard-hitting opponents. I believe it was the first time Stefano had come up against someone who hits harder than him. We won the fixture 3-2 before having a pizza with the team and host of the night, Jason Broadberry. We then headed for the Euro Hostel before the guys headed out for a night in town and some casino gambling.

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SA Knights and the West Scotland select team at Newlands

Off we went to the most traditional and beautiful city on the tour, Edinburgh. We played at Edinburgh Sports Club, on courts where lobbing wasn’t an option. We had great support from a couple Saffa’s and even came up against one of our own that accommodated us for the evening, Jacques Laas. We spent most of the day drinking Starbucks coffee looking up at the castle while some used the time to get a haircut. We won the fixture 5-0 but the matches were evenly contested. We then had a superb meal before heading off into town for a massive night out. Daniel showed us his eating skills at MacDonald’s, Kyle’s usual go to pick-up place!

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Dan at the front of Edinburgh courts

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SA support in Edinburgh, with Stefano and I

The morning presented us with our first glimpse of snow. We headed up north towards Aberdeen, through masses of snow, where we met up with team #1 supporter Karen Schultz for the evening. We were fortunate enough to win the fixture 3-2 to secure 3 wins from 3 in Scotland. We were then showed a good night out by Mike Hegarty. Thank you to Mike, Chris and the Aberdeen for being great hosts.

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Aberdeen night out with Karen Schultz

The longest and toughest trip back into England was next.  After a couple drinks the night before and not much sleep, the 6.5hour trip through Scotland to Newcastle became a nightmare! We finally made it to Northumberland club, a great club with energetic and positive people. Although tired, we drew energy from the liveliness of the supporters. In front of a full crowd of 100, the Knights snuck a 3-2 victory. We then went out for a great curry before hitting the town Geordie shore style. I believe we saw Tim Krull, Newcastle and Netherlands goalkeeper, of this I’m not so sure about, but we definitely did rub shoulders with the incredibly tall Newcastle basketball team. Thanks to Graeme Manwell and all at Northumberland for a great fixture, certainly one of the most enjoyable. I’m glad we kept the tradition of winning this fixture.

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SA Knights having dinner with Northumberland team

From Newcastle we headed down south to take on Nottingham Squash Club. Nottingham has some of the best facilities we came across in the whole tour and the guys were keen to carry the longest winning streak of 6 wins in a row through to the end. Unfortunately, we came up short against a strong side, but we certainly had our chances which we didn’t take, losing 3-2. We had a delicious meal before going off to the Premier Inn, our last Premier Inn of the tour. Thanks to Nick Hargreaves who recently took over at Nottingham Squash Club for sorting out the fixture on short notice.

Our last fixture was up against Edgbaston Priory Club. We knew we had to win this fixture to have a better record than the previous Knights side and to have a winning percentage of 77, a great success in my eyes. Again, the facilities were unbelievable! We came up against some talented players and Charl was put to the test. He managed to win 12-10 in the 5th against another lady, Nicolette Fernandes from Guyana.  This helped us maintain our 100% winning record against girls on the tour. We came up against the talented Parker brothers. George Parker, who made the semi-final of the junior British Open, is certainly one to watch in the future! The guys were really up for it and we won the fixture 4-1. Thanks to Mike Edwards and the opposing team for a great evening. We then had a great meal before heading to our Ibis Hotel for our last night together, Daniel’s birthday bash and final fines meeting, which contained many laughs and plenty fines.

Unfortunately this report can’t be any longer and some of the stories will have to remain untold. This may be for the better of some of my teammates, as I simply can’t put words to some of the events on this tour. It’s better they remain untold.

On the tour Stefano and I, formed the selection committee for the team to play on each day. We stuck to picking our strongest order possible at every fixture; bearing in mind 35 matches in 44 days is strenuous and demanding. We stuck to our policy of rotating our 4 and 5 occasionally, and rotating our 1,2 and 3 dependent on form and general wellbeing, as I believed we were evenly strengthened. The rotations weren’t day to day, but when we deemed necessary. We also wanted to afford Charl the opportunity to play up on occasion, as he has great potential to grow in the game as well as being the youngster on tour; he was the only player to play in each position from 1 to 5. The clubs we played really respected our decision to play the strongest team we had on everyday and I believe this is something the SA Knights should strive to maintain in tours forward.

We ended the tour with 27 wins from 35 matches with 7 losses being 3-2 results. This results in a winning rate of 77%.

Being a part of a team like this has been an absolute honour. The traditions involved and the privilege to be apart of the SA Knights history is great, but the band of brotherhood you form with teammates on the tour and special friendship is what I’ll treasure forever and what made my tour. To the 27th Knights team, chaps thank you, it was worth every cent and I look forward to meeting up with you all in the future and speaking about stories untold!! Keep playing the game in the spirit you did and keep being the true ambassadors of the sport you are.

To the SA Knights committee on behalf of my side, thank you for giving us the great opportunity to travel the UK and play the game we love so dearly. I’m proud to say I know we held the name high and represented the SA Knights to the best of our ability.

For this tour to be successful the involvement of so many people is required and to mention them all would be a report in itself. So to all those who helped in your own way, thank you!

Joe Richardson and Steve Doëg without you, this wouldn’t be possible, thank you!

Michael Shean
27th SA Knights’ Team Captain
Posted by : Michael Shean at 10:58:AM on Sunday 3 May 2015
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