Stevenson impressed by young Bognor squash aces

The youngsters with Graham Stevenson and Zoe Shardlow
The youngsters with Graham Stevenson and Zoe Shardlow

Young Bognor squash players got a chance to boost their skills when a world renowned coach paid a visit to their club.

Inspirational Sussex head coach Graham Stevenson was invited to take a session at Bognor Squash Club in Hawthorn Road by club coach Zoë Shardlow as part of the Sussex development scheme.

Any club in the county can request a visit and a county coach will come along to see the club and offer practical advice on how to increase participation.

For Stevenson it was a return trip to the club and he found plenty had changed.

“When I last visited Bognor Squash Club a couple of years ago, it was to discuss a way forward for its rather ailing junior section, so it was a great delight to return to run a Sussex development squad, and find it in such good shape,” he said.

His earlier advice had been to recruit a pro-active coach and he was pleased to see they had done exactly that, acquiring the services of a coach who had rapidly taken regular junior participation numbers from two to more than 20 and given many more youngsters an introduction to the game, as well as running successful team training and women’s racketball sessions and launching new club squash titles for junior squash and women’s racketball.

“Club and county coach Zoë Shardlow’s enthusiasm and knowhow have transformed things, so Zoë and I were able to work with a lovely group of youngsters, keen to improve their skills, and the only anxiety was whether we might have too many players on the day, or consume too much homemade cake.

“As senior Sussex coach, I’m reassured to see a club where there is so much junior activity, and a programme to meet the needs of all young players, from complete beginner to national squad standard. Well done Zoë’ and long may it last.”

Looking ahead, Stevenson was optimistic and encouraged Shardlow to continue seeking involvement with local schools.

“If the planned liaisons with local schools come to fruition, then the future looks bright at Bognor, and Sussex can only benefit from this talent pathway,” said Stevenson.

The young players had a great time and a cake sale raised more than £20 for junior funds. Big thanks went to all the players and parents.

Shardlow runs junior sessions on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays and day camps during all holidays for Year 4 pupils and above.

SquashGirlsCan squash and racketball is on Thursday evenings and one-to-one sessions can be arranged.

Nine is a great age to take up squash, but it is never too late to start - Bognor has senior-citizen beginners at squash and racketball.

To get involved contact Zoë on 07841 194463.