Bring four people to play squash and I'll give you a bottle of wine!

Zoe Shardlow / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Zoe Shardlow / Picture by Kate Shemilt

A top coach is working with Bognor Squash Club to get more people playing the sport.

Zoë Shardlow, a level three qualified coach, is running a number of programmes at the club in Hawthorn Road to give people an opportunity to get on court.

“Squash us such a fun sport to play,” says Shardlow, who won the World Junior Championships with England and now plays for the England Masters team. “It’s great for fitness and it’s got a great social side too. You play squash and you make friends for life.”

The Sussex county coach already runs popular junior programmes at the club on Mondays from 5pm to 6pm and Sundays from 10am to midday, while on Sundays from 1pm to 2.30pm there’s a session aimed predominantly but not exclusively at girls.

For the new year she will be introducing new initiatives, including Ladies Have A Bash on Thursday evenings and Squash 101 for students on Friday evenings.

“There’s something for everyone,” she said. “From tots’ squash, mini squash and squash to racketball – played with a bigger racket and ball – and even walking racketball for those who are less mobile but still enjoy giving a ball a good whack. Just come and have a go!”

Squash has been in decline in this country but Shardlow, who recently attended the World Squash Coaches’ Conference in Australia, believes that can change.

“Squash is flourishing on other nations such as America, India, Poland and Malaysia and the same thing can happen here. In Egypt the top players are superstars.”

Chichester squash aces are off the mark
Glad to see back of campaign's first half
To encourage people to give squash a try, she has a very special offer: the first session will be free. “And if you don’t enjoy it,” she joked, “you can have your money back. Plus, if you bring four and at least two are female, I will provide a bottle of wine for after. I don’t think you can say fairer than that.”

Shardlow also wants to hear from any club, group or society that would like to try squash or racketball, again for free.

“Scouts, guides, WIs, neighbours, meet-ups, (grand)mothers and daughters, golf buddies, anyone. I just want them to come and have a go. It’s one of those games that people fall in love with, when they really didn’t expect to. I just want people to have that chance.”

She also runs day camps for youngsters aged eight to 18 in the holidays.

For more details see the Facebook page ZoëSquash or email zoeshardlow@hotmail.com