Scottish Open: Plans for 2021 “sign of growing confidence and collaboration” in Scotland’s squash community
By MICHAEL GREGSON – Squash Mad Correspondent
Unmistakably confirming that squash is back from Lockdown, Scottish Squash and partner Springfield Homes have laid down an early marker for August 2021, trumpeting Inverness as the venue for the £20,000 Springfield Scottish Open.
This PSA event should be a great competitive opportunity for players, who can also enjoy visiting a beautiful and friendly part of the world.
The Inverness Club notably made a great success of a PSA Challenger event just before the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and has twice hosted the Scottish National Masters Championships.
Inverness Squash Captain Alastair Kirkland said: “Although the event is nearly a year off, we are extremely excited and will be putting together a team to build up to the event. This is huge for us.”
Allan McKay leads on Competitions for Scottish Squash, and he sees Inverness as a great fit, given the club’s record in producing top players Greg Lobban and Alan Clyne, as well as 19-year-old prospect Alasdair Prott, a nine-time Scottish Junior champion.
Prott said: “It’s fantastic having the Springfield Scottish Squash Open coming to Inverness.
“Inverness Tennis and Squash Club has been a big part of my life and to play a professional tournament here would mean a lot to me.
“The club is a great venue for a tournament like this and it will be brilliant for people in the area and across Scotland to come along and witness some great squash.”
McKay said: “We are thrilled to see the Springfield Scottish Squash Open return to the calendar in 2021.
“Our partnership with Springfield Properties has gone from strength to strength since the delivery of the first event last year and we are proud of our partnership with one of Scotland’s leading home builders.
“The Highlands has a strong history of developing Scotland international squash players so being able to bring world class squash to the area only seems right.”
He added: “Inverness is an incredible place to visit and we have no doubt that Inverness Tennis and Squash Club will provide the perfect stage for both the players and spectators.”
The success of the 2019 event at Edinburgh’s Oriam Centre – the first Scottish Open since 2001 – has encouraged both the governing body and the sponsors to go again in a big way. There are high hopes of another strong international field. The eventual winners at the intense and well-attended Oriam tournament were Edmon Lopez of Spain, and England’s Lucy Turmel.
For Springfield, the 2021 event will confirm the company’s growing stature as a housebuilder across Scotland, and will be further evidence of Chairman Sandy Adam’s personal commitment to the sport.
As Springfield’s Dale Ashelford commented: “We think, given the prize fund and the venue, this will be a must for squash fans. We were especially pleased in 2019 to give Wild Cards to up-and-coming players Fergus Richards and Georgia Adderley.
“We’d love to do the same again to encourage aspiring pros, and really make the Springfield Scottish Open a springboard for the next generation.”
Certainly the prospects look good for squash in Scotland, after the frustrations of a curtailed 2019-20 season.
Scottish Squash looks an organisation in safe hands, and this upcoming event is a sign of growing confidence and collaboration across Scotland’s squash community.
Additional reporting by ANDY WESTON.
Pictures courtesy of Scottish Squash