Sport Editor Will Rogers reports on the squash club’s strong start to the new season
The Birmingham Lions Squash team have started the year in style, building on their performances from last year which earned them the title of ‘Club of the Year’.
Led by inspirational coach, Jon Tate, the club has gone from strength to strength, bringing in record numbers with excitement running through the club, from the semi-professional first team players, right the way through to the social members. With the club having a men’s 5th team for the first time, players like Sam Sherrard and Dan Perry have been given a well-deserved chance to represent their university, leading to comfortable victories against higher ranked opponents.
The women’s 1s have had another phenomenal start to their year, building on what got them so
close to the national title last year. Led once again by Kiera Marshall, yet now aided by Olivia Besant and Nika Urh, the women have started with victories against UWE, Manchester and Warwick.
The men have followed in their footsteps, yet suffered a close defeat in their opening match against UWE. However they have bounced back, defeating Warwick and Bristol to demonstrate their potential for the year.
Top recruit and fast-rising global star Moustafa el Sirty has been playing at the University of Birmingham when he is not travelling the world. He reiterates that Birmingham has a special draw to the world’s top squash talent. El Sirty reached the final of the World University Squash Championships but suffered a close defeat to Mostafa Asal, the US Open champion in 2021.
There has been success for the other teams as well, especially the men’s 2s, who have won all 5 matches so far whilst only dropping a single point. The women’s 2s have also won every match thus far, including big wins against Nottingham and Loughborough.
Other standout results include a victory for the men’s 3s over Nottingham and the men’s 4s over Cambridge, with women’s 3s suffering some narrow losses to opposition first teams.
Off the court the men have been raising large sums for Movember, with the entire club taking part to support such a worthwhile cause. As the club continues to grow, the coaching offered by the committee and the players to their junior counterparts is crucial to team spirit. With fantastic players such as Commonwealth Games medallist Muqtadir Nimji and men’s number 1 Stuart MacGregor helping around the club, the spirit within the squash club has never been better.
Finally, the squash courts have been blessed with some of the top players from across the globe, as the Premier Squash League returned to Birmingham for the first time since before the pandemic. The match against Nottingham included many University of Birmingham players, with Marshall and Besant producing amazing performances to put the hosts within sight of victory. However, Will Salter came up against one of the country’s finest players in Nick Wall and couldn’t break him down, leading to an 8-7 defeat for Birmingham.
Overall, the club have had a fantastic month as they push towards their biggest tournaments of the year in the upcoming semester.
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