I actually started Squashmatch.co.uk by mistake. I used to play squash at the Sobell centre in Finsbury Park with the same person, and it got to the point where we both knew each other’s game inside out and we weren't progressing with our games so I put an advert on Gumtree looking for more squash players to have a hit with. I didn't expect many replies, but within a couple of months I had had over 30 people asking for a game.
It was obviously going to be a challenge getting all those games played so I started an online ladder so that people could challenge each other online. This went well for a while, until we had around 60-70 players on there which was when I looked into starting a league. I did a lot of research into league programs without much luck, as I didn't want a 'bolt on' league management system; I wanted to own the system outright.
At this point I had started up a club night at Tottenham Green leisure centre and it was here that I met Rauri Rochford. I found out that Rauri was a programmer so I approached him to see if he would be interested in helping me get a website up and running and also building a league management system. He said yes, and that was the beginning of www.squashmatch.co.uk. Rauri does all the techy stuff with the site and I do all the front end work like setting up new leagues and club nights.
When we started SquashMatch, we really didn't know how successful it would be, but we were and still are very pleasantly surprised at how quickly it took off. There were a couple of thing I wanted to do but had no idea if they would ever be possible. One was to hold tournaments for our members (so far we have held three) and we have also just agreed with Woodford Wells squash club to hold four tournaments a year there, with www.sweatband.com also agreeing to sponsor each of the tournaments as well.
The other aim was to enter a team into the Middlesex League which again we have now done. We are currently at number three in Division 6 and Andy Russell, our team captain is doing a great job of organising all the games. Our club house, The Howl at the Moon, puts on great dinners for us and we also hold our Christmas dinners here as well. We will also be organising regular drinks here for SquashMatch members!
We also work in partnership with England Squash and Racketball (ESR), and this has led to some interesting times for us. We have helped ESR promote the British Open squash championships by holding a number of the Court Challenge tournaments around London to help promote the championships.
Squash Match is and always will be a work in progress, we are always looking for feedback from all the players that use the site, we welcome all feedback, good and bad and we are always asking players what else they would like on the SquashMatch.
We also have an app which will be coming out in the very near future, you will be able to message, challenge and input scores as well as 'Find a Player' on the app!
I also have to say a very big thank you to all the guys and gals that help us with running the various league that we have running around London and also a massive thanks to Fatema for spending so much time putting together this newsletter and sorting out our Facebook page!!!
Andre Ainsworth Director