It was a tale of ‘Great Exhibitions’ that Charles Dickens would have been proud of, as some of the biggest names in British squash as well as a rising junior star combined to wield their rackets for worthy causes in Edinburgh.
At Edinburgh Sports Club Scotland No.2 Rory Stewart took on under-19 No.1 Rory Richmond in an exhibition match that was the centre point of the fundraising effort to get the Scottish under-19 girls team to this summer’s Melbourne World Junior Championships.
While at Grange, former World No.1’s Nick Matthew and James Willstrop served up a five game cracker in order to raise funds for Make2ndsCount in memory of Deirdre Weatherhead, the late sister of former Scotland international and World No.37 Lisa McKenna who organised the event.
With Sky Sports News’ Dave Fulton at the mic proceedings ran smoothly at ESC as World No.55 Stewart administered a light-hearted schooling to his teenage opponent in a 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 victory.
It was refereed expertly by Scotland under-13 No.1 Thomas Myers and produced some superb counter-drop exchanges, ambidextrous dexterity and a few laughs while entertaining the 100-strong gathering.
With the event raising £10,700 in the process, to take efforts 75% of the way to the target total needed to put the girls on the plane for Oz, Stewart was delighted to play his part in making something happen which he missed out on as junior international.
He said: “I didn’t play at a world juniors and that is a regret but for these juniors it could make the difference between sacking it at the end of their junior careers or pushing on into the seniors.
“It was just a great atmosphere inside Edinburgh Sports Club and brilliant to see all the people along, supporting the fundraising effort and giving our juniors the chance to be exposed to the best junior squash in the world at the climax of their junior careers which will give them something they will never forget.
“It was great fun and also good to see at first hand just how much Rory has improved. He had a really successful European Under-19s and if he sticks in he can push on to and do himself and Scotland proud at the World Juniors in Melbourne.
“So well done to the organisers for putting this all together and good luck to our juniors.”
For 18-year old Richmond it was a night to remember and the youngster who finished sixth at the Scottish senior championships said: “It was a great atmosphere and for me as a young squash player and to play Rory on a night like this was something I will remember for a long time.
“It was a good match and I felt like I surpassed my expectations as it’s the first time I’ve played Rory outside of training and I learned a lot. But what was most important was the amount of people we got down and the money that was raised on the night was an awesome effort by everyone who came along. A huge thanks to them all.”