To most of you who have had connections with the Knights Squash Rackets Club and its regular tours to Britain, the name Albert van Oppens would not mean very much. But without the kind intervention of this gentleman in 1961, when Kendal Jarvis was making the tour arrangements with the late Dick Hawkey, the tour may never have got off the ground. Albert van Oppens was the South African General Manager of Sabena Airlines and it was he who provided five reduced-fare tickets to enable the Knights dream to “fly”! The full story is captured in Kendal's memoire, “The Knights' Story – How it all began”, which is on the Knights' website. In June we received this message from Albert's granddaughter:
It was very special and touching to read a story about my Grandad on your website. Can you thank Mister Kendal Jarvis for the kind words that he wrote about him. I feel very proud. Greetings from Belgium, Sabine Van Oppens.
In December, the 27th Knights Team commences what will be another action packed and exciting tour, playing at some of clubs that have been on the itinerary on many occasions and visiting some new ones. Competition will be challenging. Five young South Africans will be experiencing different playing conditions for the first time, and will encounter opposition with on-court skills honed over many years of play.
The Knights Club is indebted to many kind and generous people for its ongoing success. Firstly we have the clubs and skilled opponents who turn out to play against our members and who also provide unsurpassed post-match hospitality. Secondly there are the families who have our players staying in their homes, with all the attendant comforts.
It was in 1967, when still at school, that Joe Richardson first encountered the Knights and we have been blessed with his continuing support. It has been through his tireless ef forts over many years now that the tour itineraries have been negotiated and finalised, and this tour would not have been possible without his time and superb organisation.
Another strong-man in the Knights management is Steve Doeg who coordinates the selection of the team, takes care of the tour brochure, the players' kit (sponsored by his own company , Ghetti Creations), and all the other organisational aspects of the tour.
On the night before the new Knights team leaves for London, it has become customary for it to play a match against a team of previous Knights. For many tours now , this has been hosted at their home by John and T racy Devonport who also entertain the players, their families and friends to a superb dinner.
To all these wonderful people – and all the sponsors who have assisted our young men to make the trip - thank you.
Michael Shean is the Captain and my best wishes go to you and your team. I know you will want to win every match. It will be dif ficult. T ake the opportunity to learn more about the game. Be good to your hosts. Make lots of friends. And have a great time.