world – all of whom share a passion for racket sports played on courts with walls. As Army Men’s Team Captain, and also a Jester, one of my responsibilities is to plan and organise the annual match. Like most sporting events the planning is always the most challenging part of the fixture. However over a period of several weeks, every effort was made to contrive a close set of 6 matches. Sadly one of the Army Team pulled out with a day’s notice and one of the Jesters did not manage to play. This would make for a challenging match as most of the Army team had to move up a position and two people had to play twice. For the Army Team, who are used to ‘fighting to the death’ on court, a jesterley match is not always intuitive. However all matches were played in a quite excellent spirit and opponents were well matched.
Given that the Jesters had ‘marathon man’, Stuart Ayton at first string, the Army called upon ex-PSA player, Capt Sam Miller. Those watching were treated to an excellent display of marksmanship as Miller dispatched Ayton in straight sets – albeit not without a cracking fight and some truly awesome retrieving from Ayton. At number two Army Captain, Maj Rich Green played against Oxford Blue – Tom Paine. Paine was precise and clinical and almost in the way a boxer can dominate the ring, so Tom dominated the ‘T’, with Green running around his, either in circles or else conducting diagonal court sprints. Despite a couple of tie-breaks in the first two games, Green triumphed 3-0 in an exhausting endeavour.
Late addition to the Army Team, Capt Rosie Hamilton, played two opponents – both of whom are ex-Army officers – such was her zest for the game. Maj (retired) Dave Smith has an unorthodox style and his boasts and wristy flicks proved too much for Hamilton on the night. Equally, Maj (retired) Chris Wilson – despite being in the twilight of his squash career – proved determined enough to beat Hamilton; both matches were 3-0 to the Jesters but I suspect Hamilton may reverse those scores at a later date. Andover-based Maj Chris O’Brien, despite not having played as much squash as some have lately, battled hard and showed tremendous character and resilience, losing 3-0 to Jimmy Cetkovski in a game that could easily have seen O’Brien sneak a set or two. When it came to the match of the evening there was never any doubt who would once again enthral the spectators with a magnificent display. England no.23, Selina Sinclair would take on WO2 Lee ‘Bomber’ Burnie in a re-match of the close 3-2 last year. Sinclair was precise but Burnie was omnipresent – ‘taking the space’ well and sometimes holding ground ground well too! Sinclair was not intimidated by this ‘man-mountain’ and showed typical grit, determination and outrageous fitness levels to overcome Burnie 14-12 in the 5th – another Burnie/Sinclair classic! The final score was 3-3 in matches and a Jesters win on countback. Afterwards, the players retired to the adjacent Garretts Club for what was genuinely a first-class supper.