Squash Girls Can At Leyland Leisure

 Blog/Comment, Juniors, Lancashire, Leyland  Comments Off on Squash Girls Can At Leyland Leisure
Jan 222016

Squash Girls Can At Leyland Leisure By John Gibson

Our aim at Leyland since setting up the club back in 2004 has always been to give youngsters whilst at school, especially girls, the opportunity of experiencing their first taste of the sport!

Squash is one of fittest and healthiest sports played in the UK. Thanks to Parents, Schools and many Organisations and Companies we have become the most successful Junior Squash & Racketball Club in the local communities in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble.

As someone who has worked in sport nationally with England Squash and British Tennis I believe youngsters whilst at school should try as many sports as possible before leaving school. It’s never too late to try a new sport!

Well, a great opportunity for girls to try the sport has been pulled together by England Squash our Governing Body.

It’s called “Squash Girls Can”. We are holding a six week course at Leyland Leisure Centre. It starts on Saturday 13th February and runs through to Saturday 19th March. Session timings: Midday – 12.40pm. All sessions are FREE!


Squash Girls Can poster

Quote from Mark Williams, Director of Participation at England Squash, “We have worked with Sport England, the Squash and Racketball Foundation and County Sports Partnerships to run 33 Squash Girls Can projects nationwide. This is an exciting opportunity to get more women and girls playing regularly, at present women make up approximately 20% of regular participants in squash and racketball. Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign has been incredibly successful and we hope to draw from this success with Squash Girls Can. We hope that the campaign will increase the appetite for squash and racketball amongst women and girls and inspire others around the country to run their own Squash Girls Can events.”

At Leyland we have many youngsters, girls and boys, who prior to starting with us had never played the sport who have gone on to represent Lancashire at junior level, one of our boys for England. I will highlight the case of a young girl. She was 5 years old when she started with us in Minisquash which is for Primary School children. Now 8 years old she plays squash for Lancashire Under 14’s!

Never played the sport before, want to come down and have a go, well here’s your opportunity!

• Age Group – 11 to 14 years (High School pupils)
• Rackets provided

Interested? Then please get your parents to email John Gibson on, or ring John on 07970067703.

Look forward to hearing from you.

John Gibson
Leyland Lions Junior Squash & Racketball Club
England Squash & Racketball Level 2 Licenced Coach
Mobile: 07970067703

Lancashire Juniors U13 Report

 Juniors, Lancashire  Comments Off on Lancashire Juniors U13 Report
Jan 192016

Lancashire Juniors U13 Report by Thomas Fairhurst

The Lancashire girls under 13 team qualified for the national Inter County Finals for the second
consecutive year. The team of Saran Nghiem, Lucy Gibson and Charlie McCrone travelled to the impressive Nottingham Park Squash Club for the 2016 Inter County Championship Finals.


Our first match of the weekend was a semi-final against a strong Buckinghamshire team who boast the current England no. 2, 13 and 18 in their squad with matching bandanas. First up was Charlie (who at 8 is surely the youngest player in the whole event?!). Charlie played some good squash and ran for every ball. A quote from the Bucks report “surprisingly quick opponent retrieved well”. However the experience of her opponent proved too much. Next on court was Lancashire no.1 and England no. 6 Saran playing the England no. 2 (Katie Maliff) who came 4th in the 2016 British Junior Open. Katie was very impressive especially with her movement around the court. Saran attacked but it kept coming back from her opponent with interest. Next up was Lucy at 2 whose match followed a similar pattern to the previous matches. Despite Lucy’s best efforts Bucks won 3/0 to go through to the final to face Yorkshire 1. Buckinghamshire went on to win the event defeating defending champions Yorkshire 2-1 in the final. Congratulations to them!


Following an enjoyable Saturday evening in Nandos and a spicy sauce roulette game, Lancashire had their 3rd place play off on the main show court on Sunday. The opponents were Sussex who have the current England no. 1 in their squad. First up on the show court was Charlie. Despite being 4 years younger than her opponent Charlie played some great winners and was unlucky not win a few more points. 3/0 to the opponent – 1/0 to Sussex. Next up Saran took on the England no. 1 Torrie Malik. After 2 quick games to Sussex, Saran got off to a confident start in the 3rd game racing out to a 7-1 lead showing more self-belief with every point. The England no.1 came back strong to close the match out. 2/0 Sussex and 4th place for Lancashire.


Aiming to avoiding the whitewash Lucy took to the court. Most of the games Lucy and her opponent shared point for point. Lucy saved 3 match balls in the 4th game to take the match to a deciding 5th game. Unfortunately the amount of work throughout the match took its toll, she went down with a fight 3-2.

To put the weekend into context, at the start of the season in the girl’s under 13 event twenty six teams took part in the competition from around England and Wales. Additionally no other team (boys or girls) reached the national county finals in any other age group from the North West. It is a fantastic achievement for the 3 girls to reach the national finals.

The girls were a credit to themselves and the county and we all had a great weekend in Nottingham. As team manager I am very proud of the girls throughout the event.


Thomas Fairhurst

Lancashire Juniors Team Manager

David Lloyd Chorley Juniors versus Leyland Lions Juniors

 Juniors, Lancashire  Comments Off on David Lloyd Chorley Juniors versus Leyland Lions Juniors
Dec 302015

David Lloyd Chorley Juniors versus Leyland Lions Juniors, by John Gibson


PHOTO - Squash match David Lloyd Chorley Juniors v Leyland Lions Junior Squash & Racketball Club








Whatever sport it may be it’s all about providing sporting opportunities for our youngsters during their school years.

The North West has a rich sporting heritage, complemented by the investment in the National Squash Centre in Manchester for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Squash is a Sport England top 10 priority sport!

We have some fantastic role models in our sport, one of them being Laura Massaro from Chorley who last year won the Women’s World Championship. On the 1st January she becomes the Number One Ranked Women’s Squash Player in the World!

I met up recently with Dave Abberley who runs the junior squash club at David Lloyd in Chorley (Laura Massaro is a member) and together with Dave Scurlock, who coaches with me at Leyland Leisure Centre, we decided it was about time we set up a “Inter Club match” to give the youngsters more opportunities of playing a great competitive sport.

It’s the first time that two junior squash clubs have played a match in the local communities of Preston, Chorley and South Ribble!

The match was played at David Lloyd last month which proved to be a closely fought match with David Lloyd winning 5-3, but more importantly, it proved to be a great occasion. Not only did the young players enjoy it, but also the many parents who came along to support both teams.

A return fixture is being arranged at Leyland early in the new year.


John Gibson
Leyland Lions Junior Squash & Racketball Club
England Squash & Racketball Level 2 Licenced Coach

Inter-Counties o45’s Report

 Competitions, Inter Counties, Lancashire  Comments Off on Inter-Counties o45’s Report
Nov 242015

Inter-Counties o45’s Report







Pontefract 13/14th November

The throbbing but ageing heart of Lancashire o45’s Gary Wood, Steve Cummings, Steve Hollinrake and Stuart Wardle all left in one car with high hopes of a successful weekend but with the absence of their friend and talisman Glen Ragou weighing heavy on their hearts.

Joined on the Saturday by the evergreen Alan Barwise and on the Sunday by the classy Julian Wilson Lancashire had strength in depth without any stand out stars, but all the same fancied their chances against all but the strongest team .

The first match against Cheshire, similarly denuded of their stars proved the point, Barwise fought back to win 3-2, Wardle still nervous of an injured calf( the muscle not the baby cow) strolled to a languid victory 3-2, Cummings fought hard and just lost to a quality player 3-2, Wood off-form in the first match lost but Hollinrake battered the awkward Pete Astbury 3-0.

Durham and Cleveland were a different prospect altogether, brim full of current and and former age group champions and England players, Lancashire were outgunned and despite a great win by the resurgent Wood and a “couldashoulda” won from Wardle against his ginger nemesis Pete Lonsdale losing 3-2 after throwing away the second, class told and Lancashire were soundly beaten.

Barwise had to leave, so the four amigos sought inspiration in curry and lager and profound political discussion in the centre of glamorous Pontefract, woke bright eyed and enthusiastic and prepared to do battle once again, this time against hosts Yorkshire. Wilson arrived punctually, but was summarily despatched by the Yorkshire no1, Wardle’s neoprene cloked calves (the muscle again) held up and despatched his opponent with indolent ease, setting the game on a knife edge. If Wood or Hollinrake could win, then Cummings, the Rochdale rocket, could usually be relied on to upset his more renowned opponents with his tenacity and tempo.

Unfortunately the gallant twosome of Wood and Hollinrake, already weary from their first two matches could not defeat their fresher opponents, leaving Cummings playing for honour alone, and he went down fighting to a rotund opponent whose silky skills and prescient anticipation were more than enough to make up for size of waist and shortness of leg.

So once again Lancashire must fight to stay in the league rather than play for the title, but such commitment and esprit de corps should with luck see them safe for another year.