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arrow pointing leftBack 13 April 23 - by Alex James

Biddenden Squash Club wins Club of the Year accolade

A Kent squash club that’s been changing the lives of its local community has been recognised as Club of the Year by England Squash.

Over the last 12 months, Biddenden Squash Club, a two court facility, has grown its membership to over 260 players, 100 of which are juniors, and shows no sign of wavering.

“There’s a real sense of community at Biddenden,” said Head Coach Tom Swain.

“We don’t focus on names on boards and trophies. We’re about socialising. That’s what makes everybody feel welcome at the club.”

Running mixed ability team squash, where players of all abilities are encouraged to give match play a go, has been instrumental in seeing the club thrive.

“We’ve taken the fear of losing away by using an every point counts format and ensuring each player is matched with an opponent of a similar level,” explains Tom.

“So even if you lose a game 11-8, you’ve still earned 8 points for your team, which is a great feeling, especially for beginners. Our members love it.”

This inclusive approach helped member Louise Hollamby, who has a developmental condition called Pachygyria, overcome adversity to play squash at a junior session every week.

“The junior group Louise is part of is awesome,” Tom beams.

“Thanks to their kindness and patience, she doesn’t care whether she wins or loses. Every shot, rally, and game are played with the biggest smile on her face.”

Alongside the mixed ability team tournaments, Biddenden run an ever-popular women’s session on a Monday night, which now has over 25 members attending each week.

The club also has a Racket Tots session for 2-4 year olds, helping local mums meet new people and even try a new sport.

“One of our coaches, Lorna, had never heard of squash until a friend invited her along to one of our Racket Tots sessions,” Tom recalls.

“Fast forward a few years and she’s now coaching five other women from Racket Tots because they saw how much the kids loved playing. And because the parents are invested in the club, we’re more likely to retain the juniors.”

Reflecting on the Club of the Year award, coach Tom believes putting the local community at the heart of everything it does with quizzes, parties, and family days is what makes Biddenden stand out from the rest.

“It’s just incredible that we’ve won the award. To get this level of recognition despite not having a cohort of elite players should be inspiring to other clubs.”

Find out more about the awards.