Rhyl History Club member Andrew Pritchard shares his memories of the squash boom of the 70’s/80’s.
“Those of a certain age will remember the squash boom of the 70’s and 80’s. It was a time when the local authorities couldn’t build squash courts fast enough. The new club in Meliden had four courts and even added glass-backed facilities to cope with the demand and enthusiasm. The picture shown is the first, second and third string players of the Rhyl Squash Club who played at Rhyl Sports Centre, taken c. the end of the 1970’s.
Back row: Arthur Wild, Keith Morgan, Ernie Howgate, ?,?, Peter Mowbray
Middle row: Pedr Williams, Geoff Shaw, Don Archer Jones, Richard Williams, Eric Clark, Jim Whelan
Front row: Hywel Morgan, Phil Jones, Bill Amos, Andrew Pritchard, Danny Carroll
Everyone wanted to play the new game. Leagues were formed and areas designated. East Wales, West Wales and the Cheshire league were all setting standards and attracting a high calibre of players. Those players were driving up the quality of the local teams, who were anxious to play and compete more and more.
Courts were few compared to the huge demand for them. This created a shortage which had to be circumvented by all sorts of plans in order to secure the best 40 minute slots. Pretty soon you could only book 6 days in advance, this prevented block bookings. Then phone calls would begin earlier and earlier. I can well remember ringing the number at about 0840hrs, then going for a shower and returning at 0859 hrs confident that I had the line. This was a short lived strategy because people actually present at the sports centre began to take priority over telephone enquiries. It was required to actually be there, or get someone who was passing the sports centre to stop and book a court by proxy. All this to run around like an idiot for 40 minutes – we loved it.”