Duffield Squash and Racketball Club has a long and distinguished history. The first court was built in 1937 alongside a wooden tennis pavilion but facilities have been continually updated and improved, financed entirely by members.
Here, we look back at some of the highlights and milestones achieved over the last 75 years!
- 1972 – A new brick clubhouse and a second court were built.
- 1979 – A further two courts, kitchen, dining and games rooms were provided.
- 1990 – The whole of the central part was gutted and a completely renovated clubhouse and glass-back court were built.
- 1995 – A gymnasium was added
- 1996 – The two original courts were re-roofed together with an outer insulating wall to Court 1, a covered walkway and a new main entrance.
Crucial to the club’s success has been the dedication of members who have served as long term officers of the Committee. For example, John White was Secretary from 1964 until 1998. John and his wife Pauline, a former coach, served on the Committee for 33 years. The late Denys Hope, who died in 2005, was a member of 60 years standing and was unique in holding office continuously for 49 years, first as Secretary from 1943 to 1964 and then as Treasurer from 1964 to 1992. Clive Wildsmith, who joined the Committee in 1955, was President for 27 years. The previous Treasurer, Roy Squires held the office for 13 years and Brian Hargrave, who retired as Club Secretary, served for 7 years and managed the Premier Squash League (PSL) team for 14 years.
A team comprising of one lady and four men competed in the England Squash Premier Squash League (formerly the National Squash League) for 17 years. Duffield successes include defeating Broxbourne in a dramatic final to win the league in 1998 and narrowly losing in the play offs to Lexden in 2002, but finally becoming champions again in 2005/6, 2006/7 and 2015/16. PSL players who have represented the Club include :
Cassie Jackman MBE – The former world No 1 and world champion represented the Club in the former NL with distinction for 7 seasons until she was forced to retire in 2005 with a back injury.
Nick Matthew – Three times world champion, Commonwealth Gold Medallist, five times National Champion and played nine seasons for Benz-Bavarian Duffield.
Paul Hargrave – Graduated through the Club’s junior coaching system and was a founder member of the NL team back in 1994. Paul represented England 28 times at junior level, was British Open U14 and U16 Champion and European U19 Junior Champion, with a high of England No 12 and World No 52.
Kevin White – also graduated through the Club’s junior coaching system and was a founder member of the NL team back in 1994. Kevin always shone at a local, national and international level. His achievements range from being the Derbyshire County Men’s Open Champion in 1998/9, 1999/2000, 2007/8, 2008/9 and 2009/10, as well as being the Derbyshire County Men’s O35 Champion from 2005/6 for 5 consecutive years. Kevin played for the Duffield PSL team from 1991 for 20 years, winning the Derbyshire County Championship title 6 times. He was England O35 International and team captain from 2007 to 2009, runner-up in the O40 National Championships in 2011 and won the Men’s O40 British Open Championship in 2010.
Joel Hinds – former junior member became the second individual British winner in the seventh World University Squash Championships, in Melbourne in July 2010, beating Germany’s Jens Schoor 11-6, 11-7, 11-2 in the final.
Lee Beachill, James Willstrop, Marcus Berrett and Adrian Grant – have previously represented the Club in the PSL while making the transition from junior to senior level.
Laura Hill – one time ranked 8 in England, Laura turned in some excellent performances in the PSL. She also been the National Racketball Champion for several years.
Lesley Sturgess – has represented England in the O45 Home internationals since 2004 and recently claimed the Ladies’ O55 National Racketball title. Lesley was also part of the winning team in the Ladies’ O40 County Championships and was also runner up to the World Champion in the Ladies’ O50 event at the British Open.
Millie Tomlinson – former British Junior Closed U19 Champion, winning the Belgian, Irish and French Junior Opens and a team Gold medal at the European Junior Team Championships, with further successes since becoming a senior. Currently ranked 25 in the world.
A detailed account of the club’s history
To mark the 75th anniversary of the club, a detailed account of the club’s history was kindly captured by Ashley Franklin.