It was a fantastic night in Glasgow as Scotland’s squash community gathered for the Scottish Squash Annual Awards 2023.
As the first ceremony of its kind since 2017, the evening provided an opportunity for the sport to re-connect and have a ball – supported by headline sponsor The Fitness Group.
Clubs from across the country were represented, with groups of players from all of Scotland’s six regions in the room – despite the Scottish weather doing its best to dampen the celebrations.
Hosted by broadcaster Gavin Rittoo, the evening celebrated excellence in Scotland’s squash community – and there was plenty of excellence to be celebrated.
In the wake of a stunning jump to the top 20 of the world rankings, Greg Lobban was named Senior Player of the Year, sponsored by White’s Travel / Squash Travel with nominations recognising his phenomenal year on court, perhaps most notably his doubles bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year.
There was further joy for squash in the Highlands, as Greg’s former club Inverness Tennis and Squash Club were named Club of the Year, sponsored by squash court specialists Melior Sports.
The gong recognised their tremendous debut season in the National League – winning it at their first attempt and securing their place at the European Club Championships in Paderborn.
The club has also grown female participation with the Inverness Red Kites group which has created a buzz in the city, and attracted many first time players.
There was double joy for Glasgow’s Newlands Lawn Tennis and Squash Club as Steffan Gwyn was named Referee of the Year and Matt Bedwell won Coach of the Year, sponsored by Daniele Tuveri Financial Solutions.
Matt’s commitment to player wellbeing, as well as the way he has transformed the squash section at his club, and his efforts to drive forward squash in the region were commended by nominees.
Matt said: “I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at Newlands – especially the players – and seeing them enjoy their squash and develop.
“It’s important for Newlands that we are a strong community and we look after each other, anyone can come in and enjoy squash.
“Seeing players improve and enjoy their squash is what makes me happy and why I love being a coach.”
In a further boost for squash in Scotland’s largest city, Western Squash Club’s Robyn McAlpine secured the Junior Player of the Year Award, sponsored by Jim Hay.
It was a fantastic season for Robyn who made a winning debut for Scotland’s senior team, and became the first player to win the Scottish under 17, under 19 and under 23 National Championships in the same year.
After a stunning year on court, Senga Macfie beat stiff competition in being named Masters Player of the Year, sponsored by iPROSPORTS.
The Abercorn Sports Club stalwart was part of the team that successfully defended their Masters Home Internationals crown this year.
She also rolled back the years to pull off a stunning run to the finals of the Senior National Championships early this year.
Senga said: “I’m really pleased – I thought I was going to get pipped – but I’ve certainly had my best season in a long time so I’m happy as anything.
“I will never stop playing squash unless I can’t physically do it.
“I’m going to try to keep in some kind of physical condition and see what I can do, and keep playing at the highest level for as long as I can.”
There was an emotional end to the awards portion of the night, as Paul Charlton was recognised with the Services to Squash Award to mark his decades of commitment to squash in the Grampian region.
Paul was nominated by individuals from clubs across Grampian, and his love of the game and passion shone through.
Collecting the award on his behalf, Ernie Cowell spoke about Paul’s commitment to the sport in the Grampian region, despite health challenges.
With the awards presented, that left time for a ceilidh, and proof that squash footwork translates well on the dance floor – most of the time!
A fantastic evening, which highlighted the strength of Scotland’s squash community, and left those in attendance in no doubt that the future of squash in Scotland is bright.
The Fitness Group is the UK’s leading provider of fitness education, helping to train thousands of personal trainers, fitness instructors, sports massage therapists and sports nutritionists every year.
In the wake of the annual awards, they are offering a 15% discount on all courses to members of Scotland’s squash community, which can be accessed with a discount code which has been shared with club main contacts and can also be accessed by emailing email@example.com.